Friday, May 7, 2010

Roosevelt Island East River Fly Fishing With Don Quixote - Don't Worry Man Of La Mancha, No Evil Giants At Lighthouse Park

Randy Kadish Fly Fishing East River From Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Park Facing Queens

Received a message from Randy Kadish whose picture was included in a prior post about East River fishing from Roosevelt Island. Mr. Kadish asked if I would be interested in learning more about his experience fishing on Roosevelt Island and kindly forwarded the following story.
Randy Kadish

The sunlight shined through the blinds. Time for me to get out of
bed. I tried, sort of, but felt weighed down, as if I were a
knight, fallen, encased in heavy armor. Was I defeated?

I pulled the sheets over my head and hoped the new year,
2007, would bring sales of my book, and money so I could finally
travel to faraway fishing destinations. But 2006 started with so
much hope. What did it bring?

I thought of the vision test I failed, ending my hopes of
becoming a court officer. I thought of all the mistakes in the
first printing of my book - the proofreader had fallen down on the
job - forcing me to have the book reprinted, at my expense. Two
major disappointments. Two major reversals. Was I being
punished - trampled on like the knight Don Quixote - for dreaming
of doing good? If only the Man of La Mancha had succeeded in
making the world a fairer place, then I'd be standing victorious.
Wouldn't I?

I thought of the magazines that bought my stories but, for
different reasons, didn't publish their next issues.

I thought of my two new jobs.

Three more disappointments, five so far for the year. More
than in most novels. And I still wasn't in the final crisis.
I thought of the GLX fly rod I lost. I thought of the woman
from the army.

Seven disappointments, not quite as many as Don Quixote, but
Don wasn't real. Maybe that's why he never had trouble getting
out of - or even into - bed. Real or not, I wanted to be more like
the Don. Besides, the weather was unusually mild, as if I were in
southern Spain. A plus. An opportunity to fish and write myself a
better plot-line.

I rolled out of bed, ready to battle with striped bass.
Instead of armor, I took my fly-fishing equipment and headed out
the door. Less than an hour later I walked to the north end of
Roosevelt Island, and into a scene as beautiful as any in La
Mancha. I was in Lighthouse Park. The small park was named after
a tall, narrow, stone structure that I knew was not an evil

Roosevelt Island's Lighthouse Park

I didn't attack.

Roosevelt Island was about two miles long, and a hundred
yards wide. It split the East River - a major migratory route for
stripers - in half. North of the island, the river again split,
this time around Randall's Island. Half of the river turned
eastward, flowed under the Triboro Bridge - a bridge connecting
three counties of New York City - and merged with the Long Island
Sound. The other half of the river hooked westward, then
straightened and flowed out of my view and eventually, I knew,
merged with the Hudson River.

I looked west, across the river, and saw about a half-mile
of the Manhattan skyline. Most of the buildings were built in the
nineteen-fifties and sixties, eras when New York architects were
concerned with cost and function, so though few of the buildings
were beautiful, they merged, like bodies of water, and formed a
skyline whose whole was greater than its parts. A plus, in my

I turned, looked east and saw an ugly Queens housing
project. A minus. Unlike the different shaped and sized buildings
of the Manhattan skyline, all the project's brick buildings were
cross-shaped and seven-storied. I wished I could be a real Don
Quixote and obliterate them. But obliterating them wouldn't be
easy, especially because they suddenly looked like giant
soldiers - maybe from outer space - all wearing the same uniforms
and standing in perfect formation.

Were they planning an attack, perhaps against the
high-income buildings of the Manhattan skyline?
Was I standing on another world's - perhaps a parallel universe's - battle line?
Would the rules of the Geneva Convention apply?

Fly Fishing The East River From Roosevelt Island Facing The Manhattan Skyline

They wouldn't have to. The housing project, I remembered,
was home to many people. No matter how ugly it was, I didn't want
to see it go.

I set up my fly rod and tied on a white and green deceiver.
The wind, not strong but steady, blew from the west. To cut
through it, I'd have cast straight back. Still, I was confident
I'd again cast over a hundred feet. I faced the housing project
and false cast, shooting more and more line. But my casts sagged.
My loops opened wide. What was I doing wrong? Or was I, like the
pirated Don Quixote, just in a bad sequel? If so, I wanted out,
or at least a casting coach, a Sancho Panza so to speak, to keep
my casting on the straight and narrow.

I told myself I shouldn't have stopped practicing
long-distance fly casting. After all, Don Quixote, up until his
very end, didn't get burned out. Why? Because he had his
impossible dream? Didn't I: to become a consistent 100-foot fly
caster, and to write casting articles and help other anglers?

I accelerated my cast, then abruptly stopped it and let go
of the line. My deceiver landed only about eighty-feet away.
Disappointed, I quickly retrieved. Again I false cast. Again my
casts sagged. I cursed. Why, I wondered, after years of casting
tribulations, after finally coming to believe I fixed my casting
defects, does a new one confront me like a villain? Is this
another reversal? Another obstacle? But obstacles are meant to be
overcome. Just ask Don Quixote.

I thought back to the first act of my fly-casting
adventures: I tried to decipher fly-casting book after book, then
I marched to a lawn and practiced casting, day after day.

I thought back to the second act: I tried to cast farther
than 80 feet. But the fly often hit me. An unexpected reversal.
Why? I reread my fly-casting books and learned that I was
lowering my rod hand at the end of the cast, and therefore
pulling down the fly line. I returned to the lawn, and though I
tried not to, I still lowered my rod hand. So four times a week,
month after month, I experimented with every part of my
cast--stance, trajectory, follow-through--but the fly still hit
me. Darn it! Downtrodden, feeling I was at a dead-end, I trudged
home, thinking of how foolish Don Quixote was for trying to
change the world, and how foolish I was for thinking I could
become a 100-foot fly caster.

And so I wrote another failure into the story line of my
life. A few weeks later, this new failure began to chomp away at
me, at my self-worth, so I got back on my fly-casting horse and
resumed practicing. Then by accident, like a contrived ending, I
realized that when I cast with my elbow pointed all the way out,
my rod hand moved downward and pulled down the fly line.

Thrilled with my new discovery, I cast back and forth and
watched my long loops tighten and streak like arrows.

During the next few months I overcame other fly-casting
obstacles, and finally I cast a hundred feet! I reached my
impossible dream - for a while anyway, because as I fished on
Roosevelt Island I realized dreams, or at least some of them, are

Seagulls dived in the East River. Bait fish! Maybe Stripers
were chasing them. I cast toward the birds. Again my line sagged.
I couldn't reach my target. I cursed, then remembered I wasn't in
a real-life tragedy, though, like Don Quixote, I was in
publications, including my long-distance fly-casting article.
Maybe it held a forgotten solution to my casting defect. And if
not - well, I still had faith the new obstacle was something I
could overcome. So instead of feeling defeated, I enjoyed fishing
and feeling connected, like a bridge, to the beauty all around

Four hours later, as soon as I got home, I started
rereading my casting article. About a third of the way through, I
read that if my back cast and forward cast formed an angle
greater than 180 degrees I probably stopped the rod too late,
after it started unloading and losing power. If I back cast
parallel to the ground, therefore, I had to forward cast with the
same or slightly higher trajectory.

I rediscovered my solution! My story had a good ending.

Grateful, I closed my eyes and wondered why casting ten or
twenty feet farther was so important to me. Were my casting
experiments about more than distance?

Yes, they were also about coming to believe in an ideal
casting form, as absolute as a perfect literary form, like
Shakespeare's 29th or 30th sonnet, as absolute as a law of
physics, like Special Relativity. But why is, why was that so, so
important? Is it because even though the world is riddled by
random turns of history and bloodied by wars, the world, or at
least our solar system, is also unified by ideals that form a
working order? If so, are ideals invisible and so hard to
discover for a reason - so I can't invent them in the universe of
mind? Why? Is it because what gives ideals meaning is the search
for them, the attempt to become in-line with them and then be
able to overcome my defects, my obstacles and to connect to the
good in the world?

Isn't that what spirituality is about? Perhaps an ideal,
therefore, is a part that can never add up to a whole. And
perhaps so am I. That's why when I tried to will things my way I
almost always fell off my horse and cursed a world that seemed so

But that was then. This is now, and now I'm able to deal
with disappointments, one by one, and keep going, like Don
Quixote, and to keep believing that there is a working order of

Yes, I believe by the end of the book of my life,
the good will outweigh the bad.
Randy's historical novel, The Fly Caster Who Tried to Make Peace with the World, is available on Amazon


Robert Tulip said...

Thanks so much Randy. Don Quixote is an inspiration for people who bounce back to follow their dreams. He is the spirit of America.

fly fishing in Colorado said...

Here give a nice post. The accoutrement are put in the hair use a bean and a machinery
that resembles a brace of pliers and can abide in abode for up to three months  constant shampooing, crimper and

Zara Whitaker said...

Your articles helped me more in all kind of topics.bubblegum
casting reviews

Seth Danks said...

I was
pinning away for such type of blogs, thanks for posting this for us.

thomas said...

Nice blog, this will be greatly helpful.

permanent life insurance quotes

Unknown said...

congratulations guys, quality information you have given!!! auto insurance quote

felyhely said...

Hi, I don’t
understand how to praise of your site. It’s truly amazing!
Insurance Lake Alfred Florida