You take those new soft hackles down to the waterside.
You tie on the Yellow and Quail. You're fishing it in the film, retrieving it ever so slowly. Right at the end of a retrieve this beauty takes it down. Oh yeah.
You work the soft hackle some more. You get swirls and misses. Then you drop it in the right place at the right time, and before you can begin a retrieve a hyper little fish tries to run away with it. So nice.
The fly is embedded deep, and by the time you've removed it with the hemostats the hook is straightened. The fly also looks the worse for wear. It's a prototype--you only have the one. But you retire it. You know what you'll be tying more of before the next trip.
You glance up and here come the newest arrivals to Rocky Ford. The pelicans are back. Let the Spring commence.
Callibaetis are hatching in moderate numbers. So are at least two other mayflies: maybe Baetis, and a small light-colored mayfly that you can't identify. You try a few mayfly patterns. The fish are non-committal.
The pelicans are patrolling the waterways when they aren't patrolling the airways.
You eventually get back to soft hackles. You tie on the Pheasant Tail and Quail. You hook a nice fish on the dead drift--feels as big as the first fish of the day--but it comes off. You buckle down and get another hookup on a retrieve. You get this one in the net.
You can't resist more dry flies. It's an affliction, but you can live with it. You have to try a Lady McConnell, a muddler, a stimulator, a humpy. The humpy gets the best action. You miss a very nice take--pull it right out of the fish's mouth. Then you get another hookup. It's a good fish. You've knelt down and have the net in hand when it lunges off the hook. Dang.
You go back to a callibaetis comparadun pattern. You love how the thing looks; you're sure you can convince the fish that they want it. You get a heart-stopping porpoising rise by a big dark fish, but it's just a flyover. You come up empty.
You keep pitching your wares and finally somebody bites. As often happens, this little fish gives you the best fight of the day.
Evening settles in.
The pelicans settle down.
The fish go quiet.
And you go home--to tie more soft hackles.