You continue to be amazed at how every day on the water is different. This afternoon is hot, with the threat of storms.
There are fish taking damsels up tight against the shoreline. They like your damsel fly, and you enjoy the attention. You miss several careless hits and rolls.
Then a fish comes up under the fly and takes with intent, and you have a beautiful Rainbow in the net.
There's a south wind blowing, and you drift with it on down the shoreline. There are fewer fish on the damsels, and you wonder if there is some subtle barometric change occurring as clouds build in the west. You keep the fly on the water, stripping it slowly between the reeds.
The fly is out past the reeds and over a weed bed when there is a boiling take. It's a heavy fish and you have to strain the 4X tippet to keep it from boring deep into the weeds. You finally get it close: another gorgeous Brown. You wait until it's safely in the net to feel properly grateful.
When you're working the fly out of its jaw it twists, its mouth yaws open, and those startling teeth scrape along your finger. They don't break the skin, but it feels like a communication, one predator to another. Would that you had such lethal grace and beauty.
You hold it up to the sun and the moment is branded into your memory forever as the very essence of Summer.
You want to leave that moment intact, so you switch to a muddler, kick over to the other shoreline, and begin a new search. The clouds pile higher and soon loom over the lake. It appears that they will slide by to the northwest.
Then you hear distant thunder, and, looking behind you, realize that the clouds are flanking you.
You left the rain jacket in the truck, but now, remembering the hail that has stung you even through that much protection, you decide to kick back to the truck and get it before the storm hits. You kick hard, and the thunder rumbles ever closer. But when you get to the little take out channel the thunder has faded and the clouds once again appear to be skirting the lake. So you keep going, and keep fishing.
Then the wind picks up, swirls, and reverses on itself. Now it's blowing out of the north, pushing you farther from the truck. The lake churns. You wonder if the storm is switching direction along with the wind. There's a light sprinkle of wind-blown rain drops.
So you pull in where you are and walk the short distance back to the truck. The wind is fresh in your face. You get the jacket and make your way back to the tube. You're hot in spite of the wind, and there are no more rain drops. So you stow the jacket in one of the tube's storage pockets, kick out, and keep fishing.
The moon is out, and the south is clear. But the wind is stiffening out of the north. You continue to cast the muddler into the rolling waves, but the fish are quiet.
You kick back against the wind, waves splashing down your neck, and try another shoreline near the take out. You get one swirl on the muddler, but miss. You watch the evening fall, and wait to see if the wind might slacken.
But, though the storm is gone, the wind it generated persists. You rock back to the truck, waking the muddler through the waves. On the way home you remember, and a beautiful Brown shines in an eternal sun.