Summer Wanes

Evening Mist gathers on the West Branch as I wander in search of the rise…

I can feel it in the air and see it in the angle of sunlight: summer is waning, and her departure may be quick! This week promises afternoons in the mid-eighties, perchance a last gasp of summer’s warmth before the weekend brings a major drop in temperature. I won’t miss the heat, not after struggling through six weeks of it this year, though I will miss the promise of summer mornings along the river.

I threatened a week ago to haunt the banks at evening once again. I tried, once, finding the water still too warm on the wide Delaware, but I have not returned. The summer mornings still seduce me, tricos and terrestrials tease with the grand question: might I manage a twenty inch brown on a size 24 spinner? I handled a fine bronze flanked specimen of nineteen inches on a size 22 olive just the other day, but sweet as it was that is not the goal.

This game intrigues one to ponder the difficult, the whimsical, and the fleeting chances Nature provides. I have only once cast to a twenty inch trout that was taking trico spinners. There was a gremlin in the mix and I pricked him, breaking the bend from my tiny hook! I didn’t know, with my exasperation rising as he took three more times while I failed to hook him. I recall my laughter as I finally checked the fly: a perfect 24 spinner on a hook without a bend. Perhaps this last week of warmth will offer another chance.

Decades ago, summers filled with tricos and terrestrials were my balm, and it takes me back to younger days to recall those adventures.

Sight Fishing: A truly massive Big Spring rainbow hovers beside the sheltering weeds. He took my drifted fly but the hook pulled free before I could tame him and bring him to hand. Memory floods with battles won and lost!

All trials with the heat aside, it has been another wonderful summer. New waters have become close friends, and some old favorites have proved nearly barren. Perhaps autumn will again offer the grace of Indian Summer days along the rivers of my heart. There is always a sadness as the season draws closer to its end. That special golden afternoon light touches a chord in my soul, and the notes are both melancholy and sweet. It has been so since boyhood.

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