Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fly Fishing is Good for the Soul

With the first day of spring right around the corner, I've been taking every available opportunity to get outside. Yesterday was no different. The morning was crisp and the dry air nipped at any exposed skin. It didn't feel like the weather girl's prediction of 65 degrees would come true. Still, a long walk from the truck to the river got my blood pumping and quickly warmed me... and the brilliant sun certainly didn't hurt that cause. My legs began to ache as a long winter of relative inactivity has left me badly out of shape, but spirits were high... especially when we began to spot fish.

There's almost always a little doubt in my mind as I make my first few casts. It increases with every drift and every change of flies that doesn't produce a take. One hour quickly becomes two and the next thing you know, I'm wandering up and down the stream bank unsure if I'll ever figure out what the fish want. I can see them... LOTS of them... big and dark against the stream bottom... some near 30 inches and over 10 pounds. Yet my offerings produce little more than the occasional bump from a rock on the bottom. It's incredibly frustrating. If it were easy, I suppose it wouldn't be near as much fun.

Then it happens. One of those "bumps" becomes hooked solid. The fly rod is bent double and nothing is moving... just for an instant, I wonder if I snagged that rock... but then a large fish rolls and races quickly down stream... leaving a boil on the surface of the swift river and quickly ripping into the backing on my reel. After gaining most of my line back and closing the distance considerably, I can see it's a large egg-laden hen... and at that instant, the hook pulls free and she swims slowly back into the main current and out of sight. It would be heart-breaking if it weren't so much fun... and I know there are plenty of fish.

The rest of the day produces many hooked fish... some landed and some lost. By sunset, I'm home, tired and happy. Today will be a work day energized by yesterday's fishing. It's all good!


Peter Brown said...

Once a year, when I head north to the Ningaloo coast to relax and gather fresh reference photos, I dust off the fly rods and become a rabid, born-again fly fisherman. It doesn't even seem to matter whether I tempt any fish; the hypnotic rhythm of cast and retrieve is satisfying enough in itself, although fresh fish on the dinner plate is a welcome bonus. Needless to say, I'm deeply envious!

Jim Bortz said...

Peter, I only wish I could do it more often. I'm truly fortunate to have such wonderful fishing within an hour drive. It's good to know that you enjoy the fly rod too.