It’s a term used to describe an intense craving, for a drug in its origins. Most people are familiar with it. Being a teacher, I still hear in all kinds of contexts from my middle school students, and I used to say it often growing up in South Florida. So it has stood the test of time as a fully functional and popular slang term to use when anyone is craving anything.

That’s the beauty of it. Although it originally had a negative connotation with its ties to drugs, it has morphed into being analogous with anything that drives an insane desire for something…like fly fishing!

I recently suffered through the longest stretch of time that ever kept me off the river, due to a total knee replacement…and winter. It was four long horrid months between casts of a fly. To think that I have been fishing seriously for over 30 years, that’s kind of cool. Four months, only once, is the longest I’ve gone without heading out with rod in hand…that’s a lot of fishing time! Well, maybe not all fishing time. There is a lot more than just fishing involved in a “fishing outing” or “day to go fishing.”

For me, once I pick a day, usually in the middle of the week to avoid a crowd, the “Jonesing” begins. It starts to consume me. I usually spend my evenings leading up to my day off thumbing through my maps, regularly checking the fishing reports for the rivers within my reach (don’t want to waste too much time driving when you only have one day), and constantly checking the weather (I try to maximize the good weather days; even though grayer days make for better fishing, I love sunshine. I guess you can take the kid out of Florida, but you can never take the Florida out of the kid…but only the Florida weather).

Now, no matter what happens with any of these variables, the Jonesing continues.

As any obsessed fisherman knows, the next thing that happens is the gear check. I swear, I could spend days fumbling through all of the shit I have in my fishing bag. The supplies, gadgets, fly boxes and gear involved is enough to keep me busy for a week; and usually that’s what I spend leading up to my fishing day.

My wife thinks I’m weird, and maybe I am, but I have to feed that craving, right? Gotta make sure I have leaders, enough tippet, fly floatant, weights, strike indicators, yadda yadda yadda. Then the fly boxes have to be full and organized with the right stuff (of course mine are overflowing with flies I have picked up along the way because they look cool). And of course, being in Colorado, the weather can change on a dime, so I have to have the right clothing for any occasion.

The night before is one filled with restless sleep and visions of a 30 fish epic outing, as the water explodes all day long with fish crushing whatever dry fly I throw. I’ve read articles and heard athletes talk about the importance of visualization in their successful outings. They all talk about it at some point, so that’s what I try to do. As if me visualizing a constant barrage of fish attacking my fly will make it so. It works occasionally, but not as much as those guys let on. It probably helps my casting more than anything.

When the morning finally comes, this may be the hardest part. It doesn’t matter where I am going, the desire to get going is at the heart of the Jones.

I drink coffee, usually stop for a breakfast sandwich or burrito somewhere, and play one of my fishing playlists while driving to my destination. And again, because of where I live, the drive is usually a beautiful one. I love the drive to the river because I can blare my tunes as loud as I want, windows rolled down, singing at the top of my lungs and soaking in the time alone.

Yes, I want to get to my spot and start fishing, but this part of the day is a part of what I crave. I know I will have a great time on the water, fishing; a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work. But the “day off for fishing” includes so much more. And that is what makes the Jonesing so strong.

Addiction doesn’t always have to be bad, right? I’m talking about a good jonesing. God, I hope I never have to go four months without fishing again!

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