Time Well Spent Then Vastly Improves My Now

Attending to the little things

Over the past several months, the vast majority of us have endured weeks of job-related down time or activity restricted periods that were both unexpected and personally challenging. In light of all that may or may not have come to pass, I personally believe that British Columbians have handled themselves responsibly and the reward for doing so will hopefully be reaped in the months ahead.

Illustration by Keith Milne and Gord Coulthart.
Illustration by Keith Milne and Gord Coulthart.

As I’ve stated innumerable times in the past, a fisher has to be an optimist, a reality that comes with the label. Pessimism simply doesn’t lend itself to a sport that defines its successes by those persistent enough to piece together Mother Nature’s aquatic jigsaw puzzle. So, as a fisher and a practitioner of optimism, I looked at this spring’s unforeseen availability of non-allocated time as an opportunity to attack a things-to-do list of monumental size. As I’m sure you can imagine, my list is characterized by an outdoor theme and each task outlined takes priority over an alternative reality that my better half might consider worthy of attention. Each of my endeavours guarantees a better level of preparedness when future usage occurs. Why trim the hedge when the same amount of time can be allocated to the sharpening of every camping-related cutting tool in the arsenal? At present, I have a chainsaw that pretty much fells trees on its own and my axes sport edges that neurosurgeons envy. I even went so far as to de-burr a number of my splitting wedges, an undertaking unlikely to have occurred had I not been flush with discretionary hours. The real irony lies in the fact that if properly deployed, my razor-sharp implements of woody destruction could result in a particular hedge never having to be trimmed again.

My next project involved a visit to my tarp collection, a task chosen in lieu of gutter cleaning. With a single exception, it’s very hard to retire a good old tarp; new ones sport a kind of freshness and, for the most part, they’re reserved for keeping things dry and clean. Once a tarp becomes torn or succumbs to multiple campfire embers, it’s often re-purposed as a wind blocker, a leaf-gathering tool, or doubled over as a woodpile protector. Oh yes, then there’s the exception: the rat scat occurrence (RSO). Once rodent contamination has been identified, a once recognized shield of protection fulfills its final mission as a utility trailer liner and abandoned at the transfer station with the trash it was used to contain. Note to self: leaving a tarp in the open garage shed will likely lead to RSO, which then designates it as a liner and thereby sets in motion a spousal-sanctioned trip to the dump. Avoid at all cost!

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Understanding that a tarp’s potential is only as good as one’s inventory of rope, my attention then shifted to the tidying up of a vast assortment of linear fasteners, each constructed of a variety of materials. My maintenance involved removing knots, discarding shorts, end burning, coiling and, most importantly, identifying a singular location of storage. If I had a hoarding gene in my body, it would be related to rope. For some unknown reason, the potential connected to rope is alluring, and it’s a personal characteristic that I come by honestly as my father was bound by the same affliction.

I’m sure you’re beginning to ask yourself, “Why the hell’s this guy talking about rope maintenance?” My response would be as follows: remember these works when that fishhook embedded in the anchor line becomes problematic or frustration sets in when a three-centimetre grommet blocks the passage of a six-centimetre knot. Heeding this advice might lead to the avoidance of the frayed poly rope/anchor lost scenario, a failure that weighs heavily on the pocketbook.

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Fixing a hole in the boat, replacing an engine-adjusted fly line or dealing with a cracked cooler represent the more obvious things that always seem to get repaired. On the other hand, trailer wheel bearing maintenance is easily deferred and only becomes an issue when the family disowns you 50 kilometres from nowhere. When afforded the time, use it methodically.

Though unwanted, the additional preparation time that’s been afforded in the spring of 2020 has allowed me to fine tune those tools that ensure a comfortable and relaxing wilderness adventure.

Though I chose a path of organizational preparation, many of my friends have taken another approach and utilized this same period to manufacture a fly collection like no other. It is inevitable that a variety of synthetic bugs will surface that vary by design yet share a common title. 2020 is surely the year of the “Coronamid!”