It's 6 PM before you get on the water. The breeze is just dying. It has been a warm day, but there's a cool edge to the air at the lake. A jacket feels good.
You're in a muddler mood again. You start up the shoreline.
A fish finally takes on the strip. There are other fish around; you've seen them come up. But this is the only one willing to come to the fly.
The evening is lovely. You let its calm beauty fill you.
Fish begin to rise. You see a lone callibaetis on the water. A couple of caddis flutter by. You tie on a caddis imitation and manage a missed take, and then a hookup.
More fish are rising, multiple times. You see some big tails waggling, dorsals cutting the smooth surface. But they ignore your caddis. They're on the countless tiny midges.
You tie on the smallest midge fly you have and give it a go. But to no avail. You ask yourself that age old question: would my chances increase if I move constantly, or if I stay in one place? You try both, but are seldom able to reach the rising fish, and when you do they veer off away from the fly.
This is fishing, as absorbing as a chess game. When you can't see the fly anymore you tip over your king and give the game to the fish.
It's deep dusk, and you tie on a woolly bugger with the aid of your light. You begin the troll back to the truck.
You get some bumps, but they're bats hitting your floating line. When you get near the take out you stop for a moment trying to discern the opening in the dark shoreline trees. You're reaching for the light when a good fish grabs the motionless bugger and runs with it, taking out line. You're late to respond. You feel the weight, then hear a splash and know the fish has jumped. You reel in line frantically until you realize the fish is gone.
Check, and checkmate.