Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Signaling of Summer

The wind howled through the willows as they doubled over seemingly to shelter themselves from the brutality of the imposing force.  Waves crashed against the grassy shore as we pulled into what would become our home for the next two days.  Vincent had already landed a fish by the time we got there, and sat proudly beside his perfectly assembled tent, as if to give casey and I an extra incentive to get going.  A mere ten minutes passed as we threw together our tents and changed into our waders.

"I hope this dies down, there's nothing I hate more than fishing in the wind" Casey muttered under his breath.  I watched as he forged a perfect path through the wind bitten air with his masterful casting stroke, admiring the simplicity his methods were fueled by.  Chironomids buzzed like a power-line around the lake, signaling the start of a long summer to come. Chuckling as the lake began boiling with eager fish, he looked around in appreciation, seemingly lost in his surroundings.

About a month earlier, a few of us had made plans to spend the weekend camped out at Delaney Buttes, and it was sure to be an unforgettable time.  Both Casey and Vincent have been and still are mentors of mine in the sport, and have taught me much of what they know, a gift I cannot thank them enough for.  I have spent countless hours annoying them both with my methodical questions, trying to unlock anything and everything they hold within.  As the nights get warmer, there is nothing I love more than sitting by a campfire with friends, and looking back at this trip, I'm reminded that these are the times that will never escape my best memories.  Sometimes you just have to say "screw it, I'm going camping this weekend."

Casey watched intently as his tiny dry fly sat perched on the still surface, trying its best to support the offering suspended below.  Without losing focus, he sat, perched like a heron waiting to strike.  Time passed, and before long, a trout fell victim to his offering.  setting confidently, he buried the hook in the corner of the fish's jaw, and fought it quietly to the last burst of energy the fish could muster up.  Delicately removing the hook, he placed the fish back into the water with the upmost appreciation for its natural beauty, and smiled as it flicked water at his face signaling its departure.

The satisfaction could be seen in his face, a sight unparalleled. He checked his rig, and continued fishing, the way it was meant to be.

Of course, he didn't catch the only fish...

Vincent Su Photo

Working it...

Doubled up!

Todd with a dandy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A carpin' surprise

"There's a tail, 12:00, about 25 feet out... you got one shot, don't mess it up."  My brother sat on the bank teasing me as I did my best to convince the large "carp" to eat.  I stared into the water for a few minutes following his every movement in hopes of determining his pattern.

Every few seconds, bluegill would come leaping out of the water hurriedly, and disappear back into the depths.  One presentation after another ended up being stolen by a pesky panfish, and it was starting to annoy me.  Trying my best to avoid the panfish, I waited until the tail came closer to shore, and only then would I present my offering.

What seemed like hours passing turned out to be only a few minutes as I waited for my shot at the fish.  As the large, looming tail approached the bank, I dropped the fly on his nose, and watched as the tail accelerated quickly, and then came to an abrupt stop.  I waited, "one mississippi, two mississippi, set!"  I gave the line a tough strip set, and before my eyes, line began peeling away from my reel.  Game on.

With nothing but a mud bottom, the fish didn't have much to do but run, and with 2X tippet, he only lasted a short time before succumbing to the constant pressure of my line.  As I slid him on shore, I realized hat this was no carp.  With whole bluegill tails hanging from his throat, I couldn't believe my eyes as I hoisted the largemouth from the water.  While I was hoping for a carp, I was equally as happy with a fish of this caliber.

Excited? Yeah, you could say that!

I revived the fish carefully, and watched as he swam slowly back to his feeding grounds.  It puzzles me as to why he was tailing like a carp, but I guess I'll never know!
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