Warming Waters

The Menscer Hollowbuilt Five Weight & Classic Hardy Made CFO

We may have dodged a bullet, at least to an extent. Rain clouds have passed by without making a deposit to the river bank of late, and abundant sunshine and warmer weather has had water temperatures on the rise. Hancock’s forecast for highs of 87 degrees today and tomorrow was blunted slightly to 84 and 83, and a couple of cold nights have given the rivers some time to cool before the next bought of low water and sunshine. It was 42 degrees at Crooked Eddy on Monday morning, and a sprite 47 this morning.

Of course, as always seems to be the case, New York City decided to cut back reservoir releases just in time for the heat wave. I hope the cold nights persist, though they are not forecast. Mother Nature needs to give herself a brake since the politicians wont.

I tried something different yesterday that I called fishing apart. A good friend joined me for an afternoon and evening on a quiet reach of water and we kept our distance to protect each other’s health. While it would have been nice to stand side by side and compare fly patterns, we were able to pass the slow periods, and there were many, with friendly conversation fifty feet apart.

JA at lunch, waiting for a rise.

We managed a few trout, despite sparse insect activity and bright sun illuminating every pebble on the river bed in the ever lowering flow. My what a difference a quarter inch of rainfall would make overnight!

I had one epic encounter, an almost. With little mayfly presence the occasional sipping of the cruising browns led me to consider terrestrials. I had thought about this Sunday morning at my desk, and had quickly tied three silk bodied ants to stick in my vest. A touch of preparation in lieu of adding a terrestrial box to a vest already heavier then my arthritic neck prefers. I tried the ant on a particularly reticent cruiser.

That fish would have none of it, in fact, pushing the fly in the water then streaking away before I could even begin to react. When another trout sipped something on the edge of sunlight and shade moments later, I immediately delivered my fly just above his rise form. He tipped and sipped, and I was suddenly connected to a very angry brown noticeably in excess of 20 inches. He gave me a great sun lit profile to judge his size, then headed for deeper water and boulders to rid himself of my little black deceit.

Countering his bid for nearby cover, I was rewarded with a long bulldogging run well into my backing! He stayed downriver as John headed up to watch the show, alerted by the pleas from my Hardy. We jousted for a long while, and things seemed to be going my way, the trout grudgingly coming back upriver as I regained first my lost backing and then more than half of my fly line; but it was not to be. I felt a distinct ping and the trout was gone. The hook, still perfect, simply hadn’t been secured in anything but bone I expect, finally losing its hold.

As the shadows gathered our anticipation grew, but no hatch was forthcoming. That is fishing most certainly, with the joy of long missed company to allay thoughts of lost trophies or hatches that might have been, leaving memories of the beauty surrounding us and a pleasant dialog amid the quiet of evening astream.

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