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Outdoor adventures: Normal is the new abnormal, weather-wise

News flash: We are currently experiencing a string of very normal weather here in northwest Illinois.

Do not be alarmed, as things will become completely unpredictable again very soon. In the event things decide to remain “normal,” please just go with the flow and enjoy it.

No foolin’, either. It is February. It looks like February, it feels like February, and now normal is the new confusing. Highs in the 30s almost every day with ice, snow and rain. I feel like I went to bed in January and I woke up trapped in one of them little snow globes I used to love as a kid. It’s madness, man. Pure madness.

If you’re an outdoorsy-type person like me, you know to never take the weather for granted, especially in late winter/early spring. These months have the potential to throw absolutely everything at you. And I mean everything: cold, hot, rain, snow and sleet, just to name a few. Sometimes all in the same dang day.

So, if you decide you’re going to put the old boat in and do a little fishing right now, let me bring you up to speed on a few things you should never, ever say. Things that are sure to bite you in the butt. Things that make you go “Hmmmm.”

First off, let’s say you’re out enjoying a 40-degree day on the Rock River in February. It’s early in the day, and the sky is overcast. The 10 mph breeze coming off the 32-degree water is cutting through you real good.

Then, as if God himself took a seat in the front of the boat, the wind stops, and the sun peeks out from the clouds. “This is great,” you think, shedding a layer of clothes.

Then it happens. Your nimwit partner chimes in with ancient voodoo chant, “Hey, man. I think that wind is going to lay down.”

If you fish, you know that as the kiss of death to any day of fishing. You also know that, within minutes, the clouds will cover up the sun. The wind will pick back up and blow even harder than it was before.

Heck, that ain’t even the worst one. I just love those days when there is a 50 percent chance of rain/snow mix. Cowardly weather man.

As a fisherman, I have learned to expect the best but prepare for the worst. So, wearing a nice insulated rain-proof suit is a must on a late-winter day.

But then you have to account for your partner’s abundant stupidity once again. You know it’s coming. The heavy, deep gray skies lighten, and the birds begin to chirp. You’re happy as a lark

Then it happens, man. Again. From the front of your boat, you hear the words of death. “Hey, man. I think that rain’s gonna miss us.”

Now, you know right then you better zip stuff up, throw on the hood and get ready for action. Within minutes, the skies darken and, when snow – not rain – begins to fall, it happens again. Your partner chimes in with these incredible words of brilliance:

“Told ya it wadn’t gonna rain, man.”

So you quickly throw the biggest sinker you can find at your naïve buddy and, no sooner than it hits the floor, the snow changes to rain.

Yep, happens all the time. Just ask a fisherman, I ain’t lying. After all, I am a fisherman myself, and I would never tell a lie.

Go Catfish!

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