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Monday I dug the float tube out of the shed, found the air pump and pumped it up to a fine firmness. Loaded it and the flippers into the truck, tossed the brand new net in after them, and drove to the early season lake.
The wind was gusting to 30 miles an hour and the air temp was hanging in the upper 50's. The water temp was below that, and I felt it in my toes--still do. But the sun was shining and there were fish in the lake. I nymphed with an indicator and caught a couple of them.
I took a welcome break to warm up a bit. Thought I might just head for home.
But then I started trolling and found lots of fish willing to play. I netted these but lost a few others, including a nice fish that jumped twice and jumped right off that little emu bugger.
Then, with the sun sinking below the western ridge, the fish started rising. I was impressed with the numbers and with their enthusiasm. I went up top. I tied on a little light stimulator, and when that didn't work I tied on a dark one. I got a fish to come up to it, and I pricked him, but didn't hook up. But that was the highlight of the day.
I tied on a griffith's gnat and worked it awhile, but didn't get a rise to it. The fun of catching a fish on top is still to come. That's OK. Always leave 'em wanting more, as the saying goes.
I finally paddled out and loaded up. I was surprised to see that it was after 8 o'clock. Turned out to be a longer day than I expected. And a better day.
I started for home, heater cranked up, and felt the windburn on my face and the muscle burn in my legs, and it slowly dawned on me. Well, what do you know, I thought. It's really here.