You tied up a couple of muddler variations in olive. Sizes 10 and 14. You remember them just before you fire up the truck, so you put them where you hope you won't be able to forget and leave them in the truck.
North end again. You remember the muddlers.
The afternoon is almost ideal. You tie on the #10.
You start working the shoreline. Just a little way along you're stripping the fly when you get a hit. It's quick and efficient. A surgical strike.
The fish crash dives and commences a heroic battle. It runs and rolls. It lunges and thrashes. You feel lucky to finally get it in the net. The season's first brown. Typical for its kind, it's big for its size.
You continue to work the shoreline with that state of mind that comes with success: contented calm combined with eager anticipation.
You work the inlet even more carefully this time. You know for sure they're around now.
The breeze drops and the water smoothes. You work on down the shoreline and see a good rise inside the submerged willows. Then another. That's suspiciously brown behavior. You cast to them but get no response.
Rainbows are rising sporadically out in open water. You take a break from the muddler and tie a pheasant tail parachute on a 5X tippet. You get a few hits but no hookups. It's fun, though, to cast out a long line and let it fall where it may.
You've worked on around the bend from the inlet. You decide to go back and try the pheasant tail parachute in those submerged willows. You kick along slowly and let the fly drift behind.
Ambush. This time the hit is like an open-field tackle. The fish feels the hook bite and begins to thrash on top. You see right away it's another brown. It doesn't run, it just thrashes and rolls. When you get it close you see the leader stretching out from its belly and you think you've foul hooked it. Then you realize it has rolled a foot and a half of line around itself. You gingerly unfurl it--this is a 5X tippet; you caught the first Brown on 4X. Luckily, this Brown, though bigger, doesn't resort to lunging runs. You get it in the net.
That's what you've been looking for. This cement's the PTP's reputation as an effective fly.
Pheasant Tail Parachute (Pheasant Tail Dry)
Hook: dry fly hook
Tail and Body: Pheasant tail fibers
Rib: Gold wire
Thorax: Grey Ice Dub
Wing Post: White Antron yarn
You work it some more, but the opposite shoreline is calling. You kick across at dusk and tie the #10 muddler back on.
You start to work the shoreline down toward the take out. In short order you get a hit, but it's short. You keep going. Just before you get to the take out you drop the fly near some blowdowns. On the first strip a very good fish explodes on it. Like a depth charge. It heads straight for the blowdowns and you can't stop it. You feel it surging on the end of the line and then you just feel irresistible resistance. You kick over and confirm the inevitable: the line is twisted around submerged branches and the fish is gone. You have to break the fly off.
Brown or rainbow? You'll never know. But you know for sure now that it could have been another big brown.
You tie on another muddler and keep going until almost dark. As you kick in, you drag the fly behind you and a rainbow sideswipes it. It's not big, but it's a spectacular jumper. You reel it in like a kite.
You pack up and head for home in the dark. You feel good. You've finally broken through the Brown Barrier. Let the season begin.