Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday Fishing Report: Famine to Feast

I was hungry for some fish. Not just "fishing"--fish. I wasn't sure how things would go based on my recent experience, but it turned out to be a banquet of a day.
There has been a change in the weather. The extreme heat wave is over, temps pushing 90 now instead of 100, and evenings cooling down into the 60's. That may be one of the factors in a change in my luck.
In addition to catching some fish today I saw more animals than usual. These twin fawns were dawdling on the road on my drive up, the last of a herd of a dozen or so deer already in the pasture. On the drive down tonight I saw a nice buck in the headlights, at least a four-point (that would be an "eight-point" in the east; here, they count one side of the antlers only.) And I saw a fat porcupine waddling slowly along the road.
There was a gusty wind whipping when I arrived at the lake, and it kept up most of the time I was there. The eagle gave me a nice shot as it came sailing in to join me for an evening of fishing.
Because of the wind I decided to troll. I tied on the bead head Wooly Bugger that I had caught that 18 incher on a few trips ago, and it wasn't long before the famine came to an end. (To make up for the dearth of fish photos recently I will give each fish caught today two photos.)
So I kept it up, making big long loops, laboring against the wind and sailing briskly before it, and everything was the way it should be.
They weren't especially big, but they were welcome and welcomed, each one.
The sun went behind the mountain, the wind sat down a bit so that the south end was sheltered more often than not, and a few small fish began rising splashily. I paddled over and switched to a dry fly.
This time I did so without a trace of frustration or desperation. I had caught fish; God was in his heaven and all was right with the world; if I caught no more it wouldn't matter.
So I began with the intention of experimenting. I decided to start with a clear 5X tippet and go lighter if I needed to. Then the question was which fly to begin with.
I have been accosted by Yellowjackets out on the water recently, so I tied on a Yellowjacket pattern I just happen to have. It's an orange foam creation from Orvis, one of several Orvis flies that Brother John gave me. I have it in yellow, too, but didn't have any of those with me.
(Lidia's Caddis was one of those Orvis flies, and I haven't mentioned that I lost the last one several weeks ago. I would have been using it in some of those recent situations if I had it. For some reason Lidia asked me about that fly tonight. She can't get over the fact that the big Rainbow that broke off when she grabbed hold of the leader took her fly. That was months ago now; but you don't do that to Lidia. When I told her I didn't have any more she said, "Order some!" That was not a request, you understand.)
The Yellowjacket got no looks, so, keeping with the Orvis theme, I tied on one of their Tricos. It's a pretty parachute pattern, but it's bigger than any Trico I've ever seen, a #16 at least. So I kept the 5X tippet.
There were larger areas of calm water now, and a few more fish rising, so I cast it out and let it sit. Little fish (DST's as the guides would call them; I won't lower the tone of this blog by telling you what DST stands for) were flipping here and there.
Then a fish came up out of nowhere and porpoised on the fly. I set and levered him up as high as I could, and the 5X held. I should say it was the Scientific Anglers; it may twist and kink, but it will hold.
This was a nice fish, in every sense of the word.
Then this animal came nosing along the shoreline. I had seen it earlier on up the lakeshore with another one, and at first thought they were coyotes. But they seemed much more like a pair than a pack, and the delicate features of face and body on this one--and the reddish ruff--seem much more vulpine than canine. So I'm going with fox on this one. What's your call?
I kept fishing the Trico, and at one point, after checking it for weeds, I flipped it out five feet from the float tube as I got the line ready to cast. This fish slammed it. Once again the 5X held. It was beginning to feel like a miracle.
I caught two more, both small, before it got too dark to see the fly, and released them in the water. Then I trolled my way back to the truck.
Yes, I had the truck. This was the second time I've driven it up. I have a good set of tires on it now--and a spare in the back--but I haven't had any work done on the engine yet. But, and I can't explain it, it hasn't been overheating, and the coolant hasn't been boiling and bubbling after a drive like it used to. Depending on your belief system....
What a day...
...I'm full.

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