Just to say good bye.
It's hot here: float tube weather. This was my second time in the tube, and I find it a refreshing change from the canoe. It also gives one more maneuverability on windy days--like today.
I put in at the same place Lidia and I did earlier this week, at the north end of the lake. If you know me, you know the first fly I tied on. Yep, the Cricket. But Mr. Brown wasn't home.
Toward evening, as the shadows began creeping up the mountain, it began to calm a little, midges began crawling along the brim of my hat, and some fish began to rise.
This was the scenario the first time I was here in the float tube. That was the day I broke out a Stimulator for the first time this season. I tied these small, though--#12 short shank hooks. I thought they were pretty and wanted to try them out.And, as you know if you've been following my blog, I have a theory about the Stimulator. I believe it can catch fish in every conceivable situation. I still try to match the hatch, but when that isn't working, or I don't have the patience for it, and sometimes just for the hell of it, I'll throw a Stimulator at them.
And I catch fish. Nice fish. Last summer a guy doing the Chironimid thing saw me netting a nice fish and called over to ask what I was using. "A Stimulator," I called back. Pause. "A Stimulator...?" Another pause. Then, "What kind of Stimulator?"
So, to my delight, the fish started hitting the white deer hair Stimulator. To my chagrin, the first hit was so enthusiastic, and surprised me so much, that I broke the fly off. I find it takes a little time to fine tune the dry fly hookset after a long time swinging big flies or stripping nymphs, or watching an indicator bob on the surface.
To my further chagrin, I failed to get a hookup on successive hits that day. And then they stopped rising.
Be that as it may, as soon as I saw some rises this evening I tied on the light Stimulator. I might have been the only person on that lake casting a Stimulator in the middle of a midge hatch. I hope so.
Just as I was beginning to doubt my own theory, a fish porpoised near the fly. Now, I find that finicky fish--making one rise and then waiting a long time before making another--aren't your best prospects with a Stimulator. But if you can find one actively cruising and feeding, with multiple, slashing rises, get it near him and hold on.
Rule of thumb: if you see the dorsal, get something meaty in front of him.
That's exactly what happened. One porpoising rise; another, closer...then he was on the Stimulator. So beautiful. So amazing.
I missed him. I pricked him, but I missed him.
So I threw it out again. And he came back and took it again. I'm pretty sure it was the same fish, because, no kidding, he spit it out before I could raise the rod.
So I threw it out again. And you may not believe this, but three times he came up and just hit the fly without taking it. I think he was mad.
But I kept putting it out there, and finally got a good take and a solid hookup. You may not believe this either, but I think this was a different fish. Really. The first one was much bigger, I'm sure.
But still, what a great fish, a true predator, taking the biggest prey he can find. This is what I wait all winter for.
The evening wore on, the water became glassy smooth, the moon and its reflection came out, some campers made a fire in a no camping area, the bats began to flit in and out of the deepening shadows, the midges stopped crawling along my hat brim and just sat there in my peripheral vision, silhouetted against the pale light in the west, and I fished on into the dark without another catch. But I was happy and grateful.
Thank you, lake. Good bye for now.