I had a tough weekend fishing, though most of it was because of afternoon thunderstorms tossing jagged bolts of lightning at me. They missed. But the rain disturbed my nap Sunday.
I did a little exploring down the road on Tuesday, checking out the falls and the now-muddy water of the North Fork of the French Broad. The falls were OK but they look much better when it isn't muddy with rain.
I tried fishing my favorite spots close to home, only to have the fish tease me with quick grabs and even quicker releases. I was fishless for two and a half days and beginning to long for those long-ago days on the golf course.
I ought to quit this foolishness, I thought.
The Tuesday rain passed, leaving some dark clouds around the fringes and some remarkably fresh air to breathe. I tumbled through some rhododendron tunnels looking for new water, bumped my head on the branches and left some new scars on my bare legs. It is July; who wears waders?
While darkness begin to settle overhead, I began to get more than just curious splashes at the hopper I tossed into the current. I began to catch little rainbows, and at least three rather large ones that broke off, with some regularity.
I was having too much fun.
That's when I heard the sticks breaking and the brush being brushed aside.
Aha, there's my old buddy Buddy, my talkative neighbor checking me out to see if I was bothering his little pet stockers downstream.
It seems that Buddy lost a couple of his golden trout, which are not native, and was afraid someone had jerked them out of the river. His momma likes 'em.
Haven't seen 'em, I said.
He kept right on talking.
Having learned my lesson a couple weeks ago, kept right on fishing.
I just didn't answer.
I really have little idea what he was talking about.
He was a bit distracting, and I lost a couple trout by not paying enough attention.
But he got the idea.
He went on downstream to feed his pet trout.
I stayed put and caught more trout than I could count.
That, friends, is when you know it is good. The hopper was ragged from trout chewing it.
And I didn't have to stop to tell Buddy.