A Fine Soft Afternoon

JA lands a fine brownie with his eight foot four weight, his second adventure in rod making. With an engineer’s mind and an artist’s touch, the man has turned out a pair of remarkable bamboo fly rods! I find it hard to resist making an attempt at building my own cane myself, though my arthritis reminds me of my own limitations each and every day. Alas I must save myself for casting the fine work of others!

The forecast had me dressed a bit light, immediately evidenced by the large black cloud encircling the river valley. There would be no sun this day. I snugged the hood of my SST tight to my cap and neck and waded in. Damp, heavily fogged in, and eventually quite chilled to the bone, I whiled away several hours doing what I love: hunting trout.

My expected companion had demurred, waiting instead for the Fedex truck to furnish relief from leaky waders. Mine thankfully were water tight, but no reasonable amount of insulation can really turn away a day long chill. As the hours lengthened, I felt the penance in my bones.

I had spent a good amount of time working to the only feeding trout I encountered. Staring at the surface, seeing nothing save leaf matter and bubbles of foam, it was clear there was something away over there where he sporadically sipped. I went through all the “flies of the season” so to speak, various sizes and patterns of each, and moved him once. Passing interest, but no sale.

My drifts looked perfect; long quartering downstream casts with a reach and a kick laid the fly tight to the bank over and over again, but I expected some discreet foul play on the part of a rogue current. I am certain you know the type, insidious little threads of flow that appear smooth at casting distance, and yet… When he graciously sipped an unidentified insect two inches from my fly I became convinced; pattern wasn’t going to change the outcome.

A sudden downpour interrupted the game, the warm rain quickly dispelling the fog. There were a few brief moments when the rain ceased, a twinkling before the fog returned to shroud my vision, when I could see that offending current. Big trout have a wonderful way of finding them, those special little places where no fly tied to a leader will drift quite like an unbridled mayfly. I nodded in approval and turned to take my leave.

Moving improved the blood flow in my icy legs enough that I decided to make one more pass through some of the water I had angled upon my arrival. The 6X tippet was discarded, and my leader rebuilt for a dry fly of substance. If anything the fog seemed thicker after that brief warm downpour, as I eased cautiously upstream.

Part of the unalterable law of fishing states that one cast can make the day, and so it goes. The cane flexes, the line unrolls and the fly alights, drifting in and out of vision as the mist curls between us. A wink, the slightest little momentary spot of brightness out there in the gloom, and it is done. The rod strains, the reel’s shrill notes break the stillness of a day in shadow, and a long bronze prize comes hesitantly to the net. Twenty-one and a bit my measurement tells me, and this fellow marks a milestone for me, so he is a little extra special.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s