THE ART OF DARKNESS
There are countless fish-filled nooks and crannies to explore in the world of flyfishing. For some, those trails lead to dark places. Son of the world’s most famous undertaker, Tom Lynch Jr. is Michigan’s master of midnight mousing. He doesn’t fish for small trout. You rarely see him in the daytime. The flies he employs come from his own secret laboratory. Brown trout, beware!
Words: Dave Karczynski
It is Labor Day weekend and I am driving northwest from Ann Arbor, MI, hopscotching storm cells to where the white pines grow. This year’s fall weather system has swooped in early and with a vengeance, winter’s first roar of freedom after jailbreaking up north. No place is spared. Two days ago, at the University of Michigan’s football stadium, the temperature on the field dropped 50 degrees during the course of the game and the stadium was emptied twice due to lightning strikes. But this is not a story about football or cold fronts. This is a story about darkness and the human condition. About madness, obsession and failure. About men and mice, life and death, the end of times.
In other words, a flyfishing story.
I am only somewhat well acquainted with the night. In terms of the dark arts—by which I mean night fishing—I consider myself an Ishmael, an occasional wayfarer. Sure, I go hexing each year, sometimes every night for weeks on end, but that’s always seemed to me more about dusk than true night, and more about trapping than hunting. And while I also generally experience a fit or two of mouse-mania come July or August, it’s usually a well-circumscribed affliction, with an obvious onset (midsummer smallmouth getting a little too easy) and obvious end (a cold, catchless night on a river as still as death). So there’s my confession—I’m an Ishmael—but tonight I’m fishing with an Ahab. One question I have about the difference between the two: Is it one of degree, or one of kind?
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