The fish on the Mississippi River stopped biting two weeks ago. This was expected. Fish relocate and become less active when the river turns over in late October. Turnover is when surface water cools, becomes more dense, and sinks to the bottom. I do not mind fishing in lousy weather if the fish are biting. I don’t mind not catching fish if it is warm and sunny. I do not, however, enjoy fishing in the cold and wet if I know I won’t catch anything. 

This year the turnover coincided with election day. With unusually warm weather extending into October, I was hoping for a longer fall season and a chance to avoid last minute campaigning and lengthy vote counts by escaping to the river. No such luck. I went out two weeks ago, froze my fingers and had no strikes. When I got home, I put up my boats for the winter. As a result, I have been suffering through the recent inane politics along with everyone else. 

T. S. Eliot was incorrect when he declared April the cruelest month. For me, it is November. November is the one month of the year where the days get colder, the nights get longer, and there is no indication the downward spiral will ever reverse itself. Yesterday I started my daily bicycle ride a little after 3pm. Forty-five minutes into the ride, I had to cut my normal route short and head for home. The sun had set beneath the Minnesota bluffs, and it was getting dark.  Had I been a snowbird, I might have pointed my bicycle south and just kept pedaling.

Now as I sit alongside my large living room window writing my weekly blog, I am considering a shot of bourbon in my morning coffee. This is from a guy who has had a total of three glasses of red wine since he started social distancing. So let me recap early November. Cold fingers, political chaos, early darkness, and thoughts of spiked coffee eight o’clock in the morning. Additionally my wife is 7500 miles away to help with a family matter and my college-aged daughter is home because of coronavirus. Everything else would be better if the fish were biting.

Steven Simpson