Written by: Big D Harper
www.BiteMeBelize.com

Night has fallen on yet another day. Lying in this tent resting my head on a balled up pair of waders wrapped in a flannel shirt, I retrace the steps that have brought me back to this piece of water and others similar to it. Like many whom share this life long love affair with fishing, I feel complete when I’m on, in, or near the water. Though it often remains unspoken, I feel many can relate.

Calling various islands in the Caribbean home to many would be satisfying enough; however, time and time again I feel my soul begin to stir. It starts with a photo in a magazine, a segment in a commercial or movie, or even the images my own thoughts so vividly paint when reading a story. The urge slowly builds deep within until I undertake the first step down a road that I’ve become all too familiar with in my life. I’ll begin to crave the unknown, the adventure of not knowing what lies around the next bend or over the next mountain. The call to explore new waters or return to old favorites strikes with the ferocity of a large mouth bass greedily destroying a well jigged popper across the still surface of some back-water cove. And after the hook is set, the only way to remove it is to pack up a bundle of gear, a few extra pairs of socks and underwear and head off in the direction of the call.

I’ve often joked that I caught my first fish around four years old. However, the hook was set in me rather than the fish. And so this first experience years ago drives me to my current place in life, next to a piece of water. Whether the water is new or old is irrelevant. If it’s new waters, more than likely I’ll be instilled with a homing beacon not unlike that of a salmon destined to return some day. And just as the salmon, I too will get the call to journey back. I, unlike the salmon, at least get to enjoy return trips a multitude of times. I don’t fool myself though. I know that someday, not too far in the future in the grand scheme of time, it will be my last journey. The last conversation I’ll have with an old friend as we part ways to never see one another again.

At the present, I find myself entranced by the sound of the stream a few yards from my place of slumber, signing softly as a lullaby from the gentle embrace of a mother as she rocks her child to sleep. Sounds of the night filling the air, a damp coolness surrounding my cheeks and nose forcing me further down into my sleeping bag. This small slice of heaven located along the South Boulder Creek runs parallel with a set of railroad tracks. Come dawn it’ll serve as an alarm clock with the whistle of a locomotive coming down from the Moffat tunnel on its journey across the divide.

After a few days of exploring some old faithful holes filled with beautiful browns and a few rainbows, it will be off to some other waters. At times, it’s been a curse rendering me useless and unable to concentrate or focus on more immediate needs. Or at least needs deemed more immediate by social standards. After all, a warm house and the car note occasionally enter my mind. Mostly it makes me think of buying an RV… then I can condense one into the other. But where would I store all that crap I inevitably acquire through these weeks and months spent roaming the globe? Often my travels call for vehicles with wings or props rather than wheels. So I scratch the RV idea.

A few stops at local fly shops or homes of friends usually round out my adventures as I once again tame the urge. At times I’ve had people share the adventures with me and other times I prefer to be alone. A time to reflect on where I’ve been and where to go next.

Back in my home waters, I enjoy the rest and day-to-day routine of casting into familiar flats chasing some wary bonefish, tarpon or permit for the umpteenth time. I’m excited to see them to connect once more. However, I’m certain they prefer that I’d catch the fever of longing for distant waters once again, and sooner rather than later.

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