Saturday, July 11, 2009

It takes two to tangle

Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway feels a lot like riding giant green waves, rolling and dipping in and out of the clouds, and I invariably waste way too much time stopping to gawk at the beauty of our mountains. It’s the only place I know where clouds also come out of the ground, not just from above.
I was thinking they ought to call these hills the Great Cloudy Mountains.
Kinda catchy, ain’t it? Think the tourism department would be interested?
If those hills were not so pretty, I could have spent a lot more time fly fishing for trout, but I wasted all that valuable fishing time (VFT) stopping for photos and drinking in the views that go forever into the mists. By the time I arrived on the home creek, the sun was dipping behind the mountain and thunderclouds hung threateningly overhead. I had to hurry to beat the storm.
I fished a big yellow fly I had tied the night before with a biot body and huge gray wings fashioned form mallard feathers. It looked pretty in the vise. How could any trout resist gobbling this marvel? I expected to catch a ton of fish with my new invention.
I didn’t. I got nary a splash from the not-so-hungry fish.
The huge wings made the fly a little cumbersome to cast, and it didn’t always land where I wanted it to, but it did sit pretty on the water, like a little pirate ship with full sails puffed out with a stiff breeze.
But it did not catch fish.
So, I switched to my old summer standby, the little yellow stonefly.
It, also, did not catch fish.
What on earth was gong on here? Darkness began to creep in on me like a black tide, and I began to hurry my casts.
Earlier, I had rushed my casts and hung up on a laurel branch. When I reached for the flies, I discovered a mess more tangled than a Jerry Springer story, and I almost had to give up on the muddler minnow and caddis fly and leave them for early Christmas decorations. That rig didn’t catch any fish, either.
Now, with darkness falling like a huge, black curtain, I started to catch trout with the stonefly. One, two, three, four … bam, bam, bam, bam. I was locking into fish almost with every cast now, though all were little rainbows.
Boy, the trout turned on right at 8:50 p.m. One brown trout hit the fly, then a good-sized rainbow.
Then, a really big trout nailed the fly, shook its head violently and snapped my tippet.
Trout continued to splash and jump, and all I could do was watch as the day melted into night.
By the time I could tie on another fly, it was time to go. A bright moon painted a silver edge around the clouds, which opened just enough for it to shine on the river’s surface.
In all, though, not a bad day.

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