I felt like I did when I was a kid and had just loaded my BB gun. I had tied up a couple more Carpet Caddis--and a couple of extra goodies--and with the one already on my tippet I was good to go.
Right away I found a fish working the weeds and laid the fly right where I'd last seen it launch itself clear out of the water. It was still there.
I wound down the shoreline casting tight to the willows and hooked another, but it came loose at the net. I caught a smaller fish, and had some bumps by even smaller ones.
Then I dropped the fly in where I had seen a rise. I stripped it a couple of times expecting a typical splashy take. Instead, I saw a big yellow nose come straight up and go straight down, and the fly was gone. I tightened up, there was a yellow explosion, and the fish was gone. I stripped the line in and discovered that this time the fly was really gone.
I tied on another, this one tied on a #10 straight shank hook. I started picking up fish with it. Many of you may know the pleasure that comes when you know you have a fly on that the fish want. Here are some of the better fish.
Things went swimmingly until I hooked a fish deep in the hardest part of its jaw. I worked to extricate the hook without hurting the fish too much, watched the fish swim away, then looked at the fly. The shank and the point were bent beyond usefulness. I retired it.
I tied on the third and last Carpet Caddis and caught more fish.
It was another beautiful evening. The wind calmed and the fish rose hungrily all over the still lake. They came readily to my fly, and I took some time off to try to get a good photo of the multiple rises. I never did capture one of the many moments when five or six rises would bloom at the same time.
So I went back to catching fish like these.
At dusk, with about forty-five minutes left before dark, I hooked a nice fish and played it into the net. It was hooked inside its mouth, and as I tried to reach the fly the fish twisted and cut the tippet. I wanted that fly, so I got a good grip on the fish, but just as my thumb and finger were about to close on the fly the fish squirmed out of my hand and slipped into the water.
Strike three. I was out.
I could have tried one of those little flies I had tied up. I'm pretty sure the fish would have liked them. But it seemed like a good time to paddle in. There will be other days and other fish--and other freshly-tied Carpet Caddis to entice them with.