Standing there next to the big marble lions which flank the entrance, in the shade of London Plane Trees (which, I believe, in London, are simply called Plane Trees), while tourists from Denmark, Korea, the American Southeast, and sundry other earthly locales snapped away with their digital cameras on their digital phones as a dozen of us seemingly ordinary, eccentric locals stood there with eight foot fly rods, casting thirty feet of line forward and backward and forward and backward and forward, over and over and over again, all the while attempting to lay our fly line out on the paving stones in practice casts, it must be assumed that these uninitiates to our local weirdness were almost certainly saying to themselves, “Only in New York City,” that age old cliché going through their minds as they stood there on a Saturday afternoon when they’d expected to see merely the Public Library, Bryant Park, Saks Fifth Avenue, and maybe even one or two drag queen hookers.
Admittedly, we must have looked at least a little odd, casting for fish with no water to be seen, but this odd looking Paterfamilias was so excited to learn that he hadn’t forgotten everything he’d ever known about fly fishing during his decade long hiatus from the pastime, that he hardly noticed those people gawking and pointing and capturing our strange urban moment for future anecdotal conversation fodder.
I somehow remembered how to cast. I somehow remembered how to hold a rod. I somehow remembered how to lay down the line and stay out of the trees and feel really good about my fishing ability. It was only the knots that gave me some trouble, and even with those, my sluggish memory managed to kick start itself after a half dozen attempts. (But knots are hard and you can’t be too tough on yourself at first.)
There’s a reason the Recent Paterfamilias has decided to rekindle his fly fishing enthusiasm. In fact, there are a couple of reasons. Firstly, he likes it. Secondly, the R.P. needs a hobby (although, truth be told, fishing isn’t largely viewed, amongst the fishing community, as a hobby, but, instead, as a passion). Perhaps this behavior on the part of the Recent Paterfamilias is exhibiting some sort of stay-at-home-dad-like-mid-life-crisis, though I doubt that’s the case. (Buying a little red corvette and bedding buxom blonde model-types is a far stretch from the likes of fly fishing alone on a river somewhere. Or on a lake. Or a saltwater bay. Or a pond in Central Park.)
And that’s right. There’s fishing to be had in Central Park. They (They being some sort of state or federally funded fish conservation agency) even stock the ponds in Central Park with fish, actual live fish, fish that just swim around, fish that are eating and swimming and just waiting to be caught. (Naturally, per Their regulations, there is a catch-and-release policy.)
Plus, if I ever move to Brooklyn, They (the conservationist overlords) also stock the lake in Prospect Park, too.
With fishing so close to home, it’s almost a sin for the R.P. not to take advantage of it.
So, it should be noted, in the future, the R.P. should be considered not only as the Recent Paterfamilias, but also as the No So Recent But Recently Invigorated Fly Fisherman Paterfamilias, and, believe him, he will be sure to relate to his loyal readers how his inaugural urban fly fishing adventure transpires when he hits the water at the pond around West 104th Street this coming weekend. (And there is no doubt in the R.P.’s mind that this Recently Enthused Fly Fisherman—or R.E.F.F.—will be heckled mercilessly from the shore—but sometimes you have to do what you have to do when it comes to hooking some poor fish in the lip and dragging him out of his natural habitat).