Monday, October 6, 2014

Some days

Some days you're waiting on the chick that loaded all three dryers (set on low heat) full of her underwear to take them out.  Some days you have all the work in the world that you need to do, without the coming weekend to do it on (wedding).  Some days you start reading for school at six a.m. and stop at eleven-thirty p.m.  And some days you need to go Barnes and Noble for internet because you STILL haven't gotten it set up at your new place, but you don't want to waste the money buying overpriced and over-hyped food at their cafĂ©.  On those days you just say effit, I'm buying a copy of the FlyFish Journal, and, even if it's the death of me, by God I'm going to read it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Work all day, fish all night

Sometimes, especially with the quickly shortening fall days, there just isn't time to throw hoppers and droppers during the day.  Sometimes, you just have to fish at night if you want to fish.  And most of the time, that is only a good thing.

A cast in the dark between what your peripheral vision tells you are the stream banks.  A strip just fast enough to make a wake on a lazy spring creek, with a slight hesitation before the next strip.  And then every so often you hear SLURP.

These are the fish taking out mice and frogs on a regular basis.  No jumping out of the water, no slashing at the fly, just calculated, efficient gulps.

Why do I think we're right?  While we were taking a break a frog croaked twice about ten feet down and across-stream of us, followed immediately by a not-insignificant sounding slurp.  Chris and I just looked at each other with wide eyes and knew that somebody just ate dinner.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

We went musky fishing

It's early in the first semester of your master's program, the work hasn't picked up yet, and your buddy asks you if you want to take a trip up north and musky fish for the weekend.  You know it's the best chance you've had yet to catch one, what do you do?  I said yes.  One night in the car and the other in a tent, camp-stove breakfasts, brats for dinner, and big, big flies all day.

Aggressive casts, aggressive strips, aggressive everything...

...including the fish.  We had six strikes, and zero follows.  These were not non-committal muskies.

and then Walter showed up
The first day ended on a pretty exciting note.  We had two strikes less than three minutes apart, and this was on top of one caught, and another that was on just long enough to get a look at.  All contemplated properly around an end-of-day fire.

Breakfast boxers.  Photo by Nathan Jandl
Chorizo from the finest dogs in Mexico.  Photo by Nathan Jandl

waiting on the shuttle runners

Autumn inception.  Photo by Nathan Jandl


First.  photo by Nathan Jandl

The ride home was celebratory, reflective, and punctuated with burgers.  In other words, all one could hope for.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Learning means not leaving

I got a classic lesson in not quitting the other day.  The river was way high, the carp inaccessible, or so I thought.  They were (inaccessible), at any rate, in their usual haunts.  Picking them off as they cruised between bushes and downed trees simply wasn't an option due to visibility.  And based on the bubbles they were (presumably) tailing in slack water, but the only evidence I saw of them was a silt cloud when they spooked.  I was going to head out in search of trout, but as I was about to leave I decided to give one last good look at the river.  As fate would have it I saw one carp aggressively nosing into the grass along the bank.

I hadn't even thought of fishing further upstream because usually when it's that high it's all a bust.  But even though I didn't catch that carp (early hook-set), that fish nonetheless convinced me to stay.  And as I worked my way upstream into a bit more diverse water, I started finding fish - tailing in side channels, feeding on the inside seams of riffles, sunning on gravel bars, and suspending in slack water.  The day reinforced for me a recurring theme this year that learning - bodies of water, fish, etc. - means not leaving.  It means trying new things, and taking what you thought you knew, and forcing yourself to re-synthesize new information.

Even mangy carp will eat a fly