February Fishing


Connie Moore


Dry, brown oak leaves swirl downward to land in rippling waters like gondolas. Kingfishers call out over the lake. Warm sunshine dissolves into the still icy-cold water.

Suddenly, nine Canadian geese fly in low, bank, turn, and bank again. Slowly, they put down their landing gears, dropping onto the lake. All the while muffled voices float across the water as fishermen, bent on wetting lines, come to grips with rod and reel. There is no danger of an exciting catch. Not today. It is only February. More weather must pass under the bridge before fish bite here.

There is a calmness in the warmth of the day, though. Not so much a seasonal change, but rather a mild midlife twinge of events to come. Bare trees still hold last year’s dried leaves, not quite ready to let go and embrace the new leaf buds tightly curled beneath. Spring’s colors aren’t ready to appear; that’s weeks off.

Colors are in sight though. Sitting under the bobber tree, we wonder how long and how many fishermen it took to decorate these oak boughs so generously with red and yellow bobbers. Silvery spooners and opaque masses of fishing line hang like holiday tinsel. Not wanting to add to the decorations, we carefully cast sideways into the open air, aiming for a particularly warm looking bit of water.

Not that it matters. The fish are still a dozen or more feet below anything we offer. Slow and sluggish to thaw from winter’s cold, they are in no hurry to rise to the bait. We knew that when we came out. But, like the men on the lake, we were drawn out, enticed by the calmness, the warm sunshine, the possibilities of seeing and hearing nature come to terms with the oddness of the weather. So, whether the line is in the water or not, we spend time in our fishing spot.

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