You know the old adage, “The fishing is always better in the rain.” I don’t know if that’s entirely true or not because the most frequent catch I’ve encountered in inclement weather is a cold. The other thing I can say with great confidence about being out in the elements is that I have netted more than my share of good, whiney, martyr-vibed stories to tell to my family and friends. “So there we were, out on the high country wash, fishing the eddies, when all of a sudden May turned into March. The sun turned to clouds. The clouds turned to rain. The rain turned to snow. We could’ve died out there that day!”
Half the fun of telling such stories is measuring how far you can push a person’s eye roll into the back of their head. But the real stories, not the ones meant for the non-anglers amongst us, are the ones we share when we’re among our own kind. Reflecting on gentle hushes that can only be found on a soft drizzly morning, before the sun crests the top of the clouds. The mesmerizing trance that locks your gaze when you stand upon the edge of a glass surface, watching the rain drops bounce back up from their circular water trampolines.
If you’ve been out in nature, either alone or with a friend, engaged in the pursuit of finding other living things, then you’ve no doubt got your own moments starting to stir in your heart now. I can remember floating down a slow water stream in New England during a snail’s pace, steady snowfall one winter. The silence was so heavy that you felt like you could reach out and hit it with your hand. I had a fishing buddy with me on that trip. Even though it was about 30 years ago, we both could sit back with big smiles and struggle to convey in words the beauty we found in it.
And there’s the real bounty of fishing in the rain… nature reveals things to you that you won’t find on a postcard day, when so many others trek out to do their bidding against their favorite fish. You have to commit to putting yourself in that environment; you have to self-sacrifice comfort, convenience and sometimes even spending time with your comrades. But it’s almost like God Himself recognizes your effort and respect for His creation and decides to reward you for it.
In many ways, I think life can be the same way. Over the past few months, I have had many loved ones deal with challenges, mostly medical. When compared to the weather of life, this could most definitely be seen as a rainy season. But I want to tell you… I have experienced some of the most beautiful, memorable, and meaningful moments during this same stretch of challenges. And the people who walk bravely, side by side, down this river of life, create memories that will bind them in ways that nothing else can.
I know that going out in the rain and exposing yourself to the elements can be scary, even painful at times, but I am here to tell you, with no doubt in my mind, that your soul will be rewarded for it. Make yourself that canoe in the snow. Be that raindrop that bounces back up off the surface after impact. Be the fool who fishes in the rain.
(Writers Note: This column is dedicated to Trina, the wonderful home care nurse I met sitting in the surgical waiting room of St Joseph Hospital in Asheville. Her heart of service toward people that others might turn away from was truly inspiring. Plus, she said her husband is an avid reader of Angler Magazine so I figure it can score her some good brownie points for the shout out.)
Matt Mittan is a long time broadcaster in WNC, an entrepreneur and USAF veteran who has fished all around the world. He can often be found aboard his classic red Old Town canoe in search of mountain Bass. Matt currently has an insurance business, partnered with AFLAC, providing benefits and tax solutions for area businesses. Email MattsFishingDiary@gmail.com with story ideas or feedback.