Monday, April 16, 2012

First Catch of the Season

NOTE: The seed for my column this week started with a post from last week. 
I went fly fishing on the Sipsey this morning for the first time this year. It was a little cool when I left home, but I put on some warm clothes to wear under my waders. It wasn’t too bad when I stepped into the chilly water.

A mist hovered near the surface, making the trees look like a faded black and white photograph.

Soon, the sun rose above the trees and burned the mist away. It felt good on my back as I waded up river to my favorite fishing spot. 

I’d forgotten my wading stick, which helps me maintain balance as I walk across rocks slicker than teflon sprayed with WD-40, so the journey up river took about twice as long as normal.
I’m not a master fisherman by any stretch of the imagination, but I know the difference between a rainbow trout and a catfish, and that’s because through the years I’ve fished a lot. 

But this morning, an impartial witness would have sworn that I’m a rookie who couldn’t catch a trout in an aquarium with a fishing net.
The first cast and my line turned into a rat’s nest. I couldn’t have tied better knots with an instruction manual. 

I was trying to untangle the mess, while all around me trout flopped out of the water like trained dolphins. If the wind had been blowing, I could easily have blamed the snafu on that, but it was still as a crypt. 

I had to cut the leader off with my pocket knife and start from scratch.
There was a Great Blue Heron on the far bank getting ready to catch his breakfast, and I thought I heard him chuckle at my misfortune. It was a good thing for him that I’m not that good a hunter either. 

Last year, I usually caught trout soon after I started fishing but not this time. Experience has taught me that if I don’t get any action on one fly, I try another one until I figure out what they have an appetite for. 

I tried wet flies, dry flies, streamers and nymphs. At one point, I got so desperate I would have used a stick of dynamite if I’d had one.
In the past I’ve said, “It’s not the fish, but the fishing that’s important,” but I was lying. I wanted to catch a fish.

I lost five flies in the three hours I spent on the water. Last year, I didn’t lose five flies total. 
The morning was getting away from me, and I had afternoon appointments, so I headed toward the truck. I kept casting as I slowly made my way down stream. 
All of a sudden, wham! A rainbow struck, and I landed it. I removed the barbless hook and released it in the swift current. It was all I could do to keep from kissing that fish before I let it go.

My luck has changed, I thought triumphantly as I smiled to myself. The next cast hung on a rock in the middle of the river and I lost another fly.
I reeled my line in and headed for the truck before I fell in the river. Sometimes you just have to know when to quit.


  1. Gotta say Mr Rick, I sure did enjoy this post. I chuckled all the way through. Gotta know when to fish or cut bait, as my Daddy would say.
    Sounds like a lovely day all in all. A keeper of a day!

  2. Anonymous9:58 PM

    well...oh dear...Rick! still you caught one fish even with the line snafu, lost flies and falling in! hey sounds like a normal day of fishing to me ;-)

  3. You could have been taking out a gallbladder with me....wait, this will really make your day look good..I also removed a prostate. Yep, it was a fine day on the river this morning!

  4. I had to smile at the thought of you wanting to toss dynamite in the water. That's one way to catch a fish. :)

    You're a wise one.

  5. Perseverance prevails! :-)

    Yay for you! Take care

  6. Oh my goodness I have to say I giggled a bit too reading this. Because it was funny but because I can sympathize with you. I love to fish and have a lifetime fishing license, but, that does not mean I'm any good at it. I've had similar experiences, too many to count and I usually never get off the bank.

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  8. I'm sorry to say this made me laugh. I'm no fisherman by any stretch of the imagination - in fact, I probably would have landed with a splash in the river. But even with the bad luck it sounded like a gorgeous morning.

  9. lol that was funny. It reminds me of all the wires around my computer No matter how many times I unwind them they managed to stay all tangled.They have a will of their own like your fishing line.
    I sure would love to have a go at making some of these flies though.
    Almost makes you want to fish again :)


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