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How to Fly Fish During the Holidays… With Family

There is no place like home for the holidays.

Unless your home is a hostile environment, that is. Hostile, like “Uncle Clark’s digestion” hostile. Or, the “obligatory tense and yelly Monopoly game” hostile. Maybe even “post-gift exchange awkward receipt distribution” hostile.

If that is the case, or you happen to be in a scenario that is fortuitous enough, you might try to sneak out for some post-holiday fly fishing. No matter where you live, there is probably an option available to you. Plenty of other anglers will be playing nice with kith and kin, so you’ll have the water mostly to yourself.

But isn’t that the crux of the matter: How do you graciously extract yourself from familial goings-on to get a few hours of fishing in? You could just announce it in the middle of dinner, but that will break grandma’s heart (and this might be her last Christmas! Shame on you…).

Here are three excuses, or “good reasons,” for you to employ as you seek to get a few hours on the river:

“I love the (insert gear here) you got me… I can’t wait to use it!”

This one needs to be at the tip of your tongue. As soon as you get anything that could remotely be used for fly fishing, you need to bust this out. Hat? Socks? Pocket watch? “I can’t wait to take this fishing!” Everyone will be so touched by your enthusiastic thankfulness that they will bend over backwards so that you can take the morning to head to a local stream.

“I really don’t want anything for Christmas, I just want to go fishing.”

Drop this one early and often. You’ll probably still get the tablet, sweater, and Pepperidge Farms cheese sampler, but they’ll remember what you really want. Which is what you’ve surreptitiously planned the whole time. Again, you’ll be practically ushered out the door so that your yuletide wishes can be realized.

“We’re out of eggnog?!? I can go get some. I’ll be back in a few hours.”

An approach like this requires reading the room. If siblings are in a frenzied-child delirium, and the folks are in a ham-fueled coma, you can issue this selfless offer from the side of the room. All you need is a few people to hear, and you can roll the dice that the utter chaos of the holiday will make everyone lose track of time. You get a couple of good hours fishing, and you get to refill the eggnog that you polished off earlier in the day. How convenient.


Regardless of the holiday, these practically-on-the-up-and-up ideas will possibly afford you a chance to celebrate in a different way. This isn’t an encouragement to eschew being a good spouse/parent/child/friend in any way, shape, or form. Just take care of business at home, and then seek out an opportunity to incorporate fly fishing into this special season. And always offer to do the dishes.


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