And windy. A strong, gusty wind that ran and skipped over the surface of the lake.
A mischievous wind. It would back off, then rush up and hit you upside the head.
I threw a big muddler on my way down the shoreline to the Hex grounds. I had to paddle in several times to rescue the fly from willows and snags, the victim of playful gusts. I managed to hit the water enough to pick up one beautiful Rainbow.
Two, then three watercraft moved in ahead of me and set up along the shoreline. It looked like they were waiting for something. I speculated that the Hex had been out Sunday evening. The wind left to play somewhere else.
I staked out a good stretch and patrolled it back and forth. I threw a couple of different flies into the willows, but the fish were quiet. Maybe they were waiting, too.
The sun dipped behind the mountain.
I had on the carpet caddis when a fish rose tight against the shoreline. It looked like a small fish. It ranged along a few yards of bank coming up every few minutes. I laid the fly out and waited. Here it came. It sipped in my fly without a sound.
Turned out not to be such a small fish. He bore deep, straining the 5X tippet. I would look back on that fact ruefully.
Then the Hex showed up. Not a heavy hatch, but they were there.
Some fish started rising in a little bay. I tied a Hex fly onto the 5X, cast in, and waited. But not too long. A fish took it hungrily. It was a good fish. Like the Brown--my guess is it was another Brown--it went deep and never let up. I knew I needed to be careful, and I focused in and tried not to make any mistakes. But it lunged, and lunged some more, and then kept on lunging. And it was gone. Took the fly and the tippet. That strained tippet.
That was the fish I wanted as the first caught on a Hex. But I tied on another Hex fly--on the remaining 4X, this time--and this was the next fish I caught. He twisted off the fly in the net, and wouldn't hold still for a photo. But it was a fish. On a Hex.
As dusk settled in I caught more fish on the Hex. They came to it eagerly, sometimes surprising me with their quick take in the middle of quiet water.
But they were all small.
But each one was a confirmation: Hex time is here.
When I couldn't see the fly anymore I trolled in. I was cold again. Maybe because my head was wet.