The day is breezy, partly sunny, and warm. Until you get to the lake. The breeze becomes an insistent wind pushing clouds in from the south. They slide across the sky and lock on the northern horizon.
It's not cold, but a jacket feels good. You begin to ride the wind down the shoreline.
You're fishing a Damselator, doing your best to get it as close to the bank as possible through a stiff crosswind. You're aiming for little pockets of calmer water in the lee of willows and driftwood and irregularities in the shoreline. You get the fly into one, give it a twitch, and rouse a nice Brown.
You switch to the Brown Drake Muddler. Things are slow.
Then an elegant Rainbow comes up through the tossing waves.
You go all the way to the bend in the shoreline. Drake central. You kick into a sheltered nook for a break. It's nice to be out of the wind and the bucking tube for a few moments.
You put on a new tie inspired by an old tie in the Drake Box. The fluorescent pink is perfect for today's optic parameters.
You bob around looking for a hatch.
By the fallen tree you finally see signs of one. A few Drakes are hatching in spite of the inclement conditions, and a few fish are plucking them off the waves.
You fish, playing your chosen part in the pageant. The wind takes your cast into the leaves of the fallen tree. It takes a few minutes to extricate the fly. You keep at it. The fish are taking naturals, but they seem to be leaving your fly alone. You switch to another fly. After many casts your efforts pay off.
You wonder if Reedy Bay has better odds. You kick back up the bank against the wind. There are a few Drakes whipping by in the wind, and a few being carried along by the waves. You snag another small fry. Night is blowing in under the clouds. It will soon be too dark to see the fly.
Then you make out a rise five feet off the reeds. Then another. A fish is methodically working the hatch. You target that fish.
Now, looking back, you think it took a long time. Then, however, time stood still.
The world is all up and down as the waves roll and the tube rises and falls. The wind is pushing against your back and you kick against it to have room to cast. The rises are still coming but they're harder and harder to see in the thickening dark.
You enter wholly into the game. You are connected to this unseen fish, making casts in response to rises, like moves on a chessboard.
It's not a big fish, but it's as gratifying a catch as any you can remember.
Time to go home. You tie on a brown Woolly Bugger and settle in for the long kick through the dark against the persistent wind.
You don't get a single bump on the Bugger. You thought it might be similar enough to a Drake nymph or emerger to get some action. Come to think of it, you haven't had a single bump on any of the extended trolls you've made in recent days. You wonder why.
But that's a problem for another day.