No Quarter

A Size 20 Olive Rusty Dun Flick Style, A Size 28 CDC Ant, and for comparison a Size 16 Sulfur.

It serves me right for thinking that the size 24 flying ants I tied last week would take care of those picky brown trout the next time I ran into an ant fall. They were at it again this afternoon, and my 24’s might as well have been rocks. Picking up one of the miniscule little winged critters, I held it next to my size 24 fly: the fly was twice as big as the ant. Prepare yourself with 24’s and get a fall of 28’s!

It was a gorgeous morning, and I had some fine fishing with that Olive Rusty Dun, taking three nice fish with long casts with the D.W. Menscer four weight. I enjoyed feeling their life energy merge with the life of the bamboo as they spun my little St. George reel to make some music. Summer has returned for a last hurrah, and the sun shone brightly in the clear Catskill skies. This is the time to truly savor it, to breathe in the full measure of these beautiful summer days every moment that I can.

It was an interesting day, starting with the three wild turkeys that decided to cross the road as I came around the bend. I hit the brakes, and the horn, just in case I couldn’t get stopped in time. I’m glad I have good brakes, as one bird turned around and stood there a moment, and one flew into the air about windshield high and sort of hovered there in the same place.

Stalking along in the river half an hour later, I kept hearing this funny little chirp from a lone tree on the bank. I was wondering if I was intruding on a young eagle’s fishing spot until another turkey burst out of that tree and hightailed it across the river in a thunder of wingbeats. I should have recognized that sharp little putt, but I haven’t been out hunting turkeys for a decade. Crazy day.

I had hoped for some solitude today, figuring with Labor Day behind us, all the visitors should be back at home. No such luck. I found another angler closing in on my destination from upstream. Turns out we are strangers who know each other, sort of. He had walked in on my fishing last summer at another reach of water and asked if I minded if he fished 50 yards or so upstream. I appreciated his courtesy and bade him wade on in, and we talked a bit as we fished.

Later on, after my old friend I don’t actually know had left, two guys came splashing across the river, chattering with every step. They stayed far enough away from me, but I wondered why two guys fishing ten feet apart had to holler to have a conversation. I was treated to their excessively loud chatter for the last couple of hours of my fishing. Those guys and the ensuing boat traffic set the mood perfectly for the frustration of the flying ants.

I’m not complaining, as I got a fine unexpected dose of solitude just yesterday. John met me on the river for a morning of fishing apart, our 2020 behavior adjustment to ensure our health, yet still be able to enjoy the other’s company. We visited with the eagles, caught some trout on little dry flies, and shared a beautiful spot in the mountains.

I do believe this is summer’s last kiss. I have a feeling that autumn will arrive very soon with winter hotter on it’s heels than any of us would like. I have no doubt I will have the river to myself then. There won’t be trout rising, or flying ants too small to imitate, but I’ll enjoy the solitude and the beauty of the river in winter. I can’t say just why I have that feeling, maybe its the lingering specter of the May snowfall and the lonely quarantine for the duration of the season that have given me a sense of foreboding.

I plan to wrap myself up in every day of summer’s last kiss, all the while hoping for a mild, beautiful October, with a spell of Indian Summer as its highlight. Dry fly fishing to the final hatches of the season is exquisite amid the vibrant splendor of October in the Catskills!

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