Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fly Fishing in the Bottom of the Ninth

Yesterday was the day.  The clear October day, before the rain and snow set in and the transition to winter cannot be denied.  It was my chance.  Last chance to get one more day of fly fishing in on one of my favorite Mt. Hood lakes.
These lakes fish best from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. so the thought of being home to catch the Division series game between the Giants and the Cubs was also foremost in my mind.  I put my eggs in a 4 hour basket.  If I rise at 6:30, I can make coffee, drive for a couple of hours, get all geared up (inflate float tube, change into waders, assemble fly rod, tie on fly, and get down to the lakeside) and fish until 1:30 or 2:00 without getting in rush hour traffic on the drive home.  A few fish, some spectacular weather, and then a victory by the Giants to extend the series to a final game wasn't too much to expect. Right?
It didn't hardly go that way.

Things happened.  I did catch a couple of trout.  But they were on the small side and one ended up being foul hooked.  He was a jumper, and somewhere during his aerial display he must have slipped the hook and got it caught on his side.  After I carefully removed the hook, I left him in my net in the water a few minutes to revive and then released him back to the lake.  Or so I thought.
My last hour was filled with rising wind and the realization this fishing year was rapidly coming to a close.  I tied on a new fly I'd been curious about and sure enough got a take within minutes.  A formidable bend in the fly rod and then nothing.  The fish either broke me off or my knot failed.  That's how the season ended.  Disappointing to be sure but even more so when I found that my second fish was still in the net.  Literally and figuratively.  He somehow managed to slip back in after appearing to have gone back home.  They can do that because fish don't go backward.   They only go forward and if you release them from the net, they won't back out. My net is attached to a D ring and rests behind me, out of view. It's best to pick a fish up and place them back into the water again. I didn't do that, because it's also good advice not to handle fish.  Either way, another loss.  I would have left him for the resident osprey to feed her family, but by the time I noticed, I was all the way back to my truck.  Anyway, it's not a good idea for a catch and release guy to leave a dead fish on the lake.  So I buried my victim in the woods.  I could have eaten him, but I wasn't in the mood for that given the spirit of the day.  Somehow I managed to lose my line clipper too.
Things went a little better for the Giants, who managed to be leading by 3 going into the 9th inning.  Then, their bullpen failed, just like my knot and everything fell apart thereafter.  The baseball season and the fly fishing season both ended by sundown.  Just knowing there is a next year is enough to warm me this winter.

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