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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jumping Like a Twelve Year Old

The week before Thanksgiving found me fishing for Trout for two days.  I wish I could explain why some of my trips turn out the way they do; the fact is, I can't.  

We live in a neighborhood called Brookside.  It's just a name; the only brook here is the one that runs down the street when it rains hard.  We love our home; it's beautiful actually.  We like our small yard and we like the neighbors who live in the homes that are all very close together.  

I left Brookside later than I thought I would.  I rarely set the alarm.  For decades I got up at 5:00 to go to school.  Katy still sets the alarm.  I usually wake up before her alarm goes off.   I don't exactly "sleep in" now.  It's more like I "lay in".  I'm awake; I just lay in bed for a little while because I can.  Sometimes I'm planning my day, sometimes day dreaming about who knows what, and sometimes I'm worrying or conjuring up unnecessary anger.  

I was planning to drive from Brookside directly to the water in central WA, fish for several hours and then stay at the Carp Lodge.  It is almost a 4 hour drive to the water I was planning to fish.  I had hoped to be fishing by 10:00.  I got a late start.  There was an accident so the traffic out of the city was horrible. And, ammm... there was one more thing that slowed me down about 25 minutes.  I was groggy so I stopped to take a nap.  (Caffeine makes me jittery.)  Good grief.  Well, that meant I started fishing promptly at 11:40.

Who knows--these details may be important--they may have effected my karma in some big way.    

I put 6 nice Trout in the net by 4:15.  It was cold and getting colder.  I hustled back to my truck, dressed down and headed to the Carp Lodge.  Six fish was enough to satisfy me.  I lost a few, had some strikes, and had several refusals on my small dry.  I would like to have caught more but I was very pleased as a couple of the fish were over 20 inches and none were smaller than 16.  It was nice.  I can explain in a pretty straightforward manner how my day went, why I got to the water later than I planned, what fly I was using, how I was presenting it, and how the fish responded.  So there you go.

Here is a fish from day one.  


Who the hell knows why the next day went the way it did.  I surely don't!  I fished the same water with the same fly.  I started at about 10:00.  I got a fish on the third cast.  Oh swell, that makes me think fishing will be easy today and I'm just gonna knock the crap out of 'em!  I have found before that is a dangerous assumption.  Was it the weather?  How could it be; I just had different clouds.  Was it the temperature?  How could it be; it was just as cold as the day before.  After an hour or so I had already put 6 fish in the net.  I had no idea what was different.  I stopped at about 11:45 to eat my Clif Bar.  From about 12:00 until 2:00 I put a fish in the net about every five minutes.  I had fish on three consecutive casts.  More than once I had fish on two consecutive casts. Precise counting got suspect at 16 or 17 fish.  Somewhere in the 20's I reached a point where I consciously stopped counting.  Counting was interrupting my enjoyment.   

While it was cold out, there was a small hatch coming off and there were occasional full rises (a rise where the fish's mouth breaks the surface of the water).  There were more partial rises but still not many.  (a disturbance of the surface of the water where the fish takes something subsurface but doesn't show his head).  It was by no means voracious feeding.  

I stopped counting the fish before 2:00 and I fished until just before 4:00.   I would say I felt like this    and I kind of did--but not really.  That's a little smug and I wasn't feeling smug.  I caught so many fish I felt like I was twelve years old.   Twelve years old, and just plain and simply jumping with a young boy's unbridled joy.  Seriously.  

See, like this, this is how I felt.   I know, I know, white men can't jump, especially when they are wearing chest waders and boots.  But white BOYS, can jump; they can jump really high, particularly when they are happy.  

I wanted to end the day with a fish.  The fishing had tapered off the last half hour.  It seemed very greedy of me to want still one more.  At about 3:45 a 22 inch fish took my small dry fly off the surface and ran into the backing on my 5 weight.  The coloration was beautiful.  I took his picture and let him swim away.  There was still daylight and I could have fished longer but I liked finishing with the best fish of the trip.  

I actually did jump when I got back to the truck.  Just once though.

I don't have the slightest idea why I caught so many fish; it is not likely to happen again any time soon.  I was at the same water I had been at the day before, fishing the same fly, with the same weight leader, in the same weather.  I was even wearing the same clothes.  (Including my underwear.)  (Yeah, so what.)  

After I had dressed down I pointed the truck at the water and just looked at it for about 10 minutes.  I savored the day.  The slow current, the sage brush, the dying cattails, the occasional rise, the low sun glistening on the water briefly at the end of the day as the clouds broke slightly, the spots on the fish, the red bands, the scarlet gill plates--all of it was wonderful.  And the takes, oh yes, the takes; they are the best.  I savored all of it.  

In the end I felt like this.  so incredibly grateful.