Solo days this year have been infrequent. I pretend to grumble a bit about that and tease that my # of 20 lbers this year would be bigger if I wasn't sharing shots, but the simple truth is fishing alone hasn't been the same since Dad died. It has been almost a year now, and every time I find myself on the water alone I struggle. Quite simply, I lose focus and just wander. I look for carp, and cast to tailers, but it isn't the same.
I fished a spot dad knew well today, and as usual I could feel him with me. He was there as I stalked a fish, and I know he laughed with joy when the fish took the fly and cursed when the weedbeds cost me a big one. At first, having him there is a comfort and wonder. I am really not fishing alone when I can hear his words and listen to him tease me about a bad cast, but as the day wears on it gets harder. Honestly, I think I am just doing it wrong. Rather than simply knowing he is there, I am carrying him along, holding tight and not letting go and when alone on the river we both loved so well it is just...so...heavy. At the end of the day I am exhausted.
But I keep trying. I have faith that eventually I will have a solo day where instead of carrying dad with me and wearing myself out I will look to my left or right and see him there, walking along beside me. The weight and emptiness will be gone and dad and I will laugh about past takes missed and fish lost while we walk and look for more. Deep down, I know that he can't walk beside me until I let go and the weight I feel when on the water alone is something that I can simply set down. I am just not ready to yet.
Miss you dad.