Bitter cold and drifting snow have confined me to the tying bench awash in self-pity. My shaking hands are symptomatic either of the cold or withdrawal from fishing as three weeks have passed since my last cast. Oh sure, I could have dressed in my warmest layered clothes and spent the day dipping my rod after each cast to prevent ice buildup in the guides. I’ve done that plenty of times while experiencing both satisfying success and exasperating failure. A sip of steaming coffee accompanied by a wistful glance at my rod rack almost persuades me to abandon caution and begin pulling on long underwear and wool stockings. Almost, but not entirely. Can it be that advancing age is responsible for my reluctance? That uncomfortable thought led me to resolve to schedule my next fishing trip. Regardless of the weather, I will, in five days, wade a favored stretch of spring branch in search of smallmouth bass, rock bass, and other panfish that I suspect have moved there from the river to feed in the warmer water. I feel better already. I will face whatever fierce winter weather nature has in store. I’ll arm myself with fingerless gloves, packs of hand-warmers, a goose-down vest, a few high-energy bars, and a thermos of coffee. It will be a great adventure. I can’t wait. First, let me check the future weather forecast so I will know how to prepare. Oh good! The Weather Channel is predicting 58-degrees.