The same thing happens every year. The snow melts, things begin to get green, and at the same time the fishing starts to heat up on my creek, the boy’s baseball seasons kick in. I’m not complaining. I enjoy watching them. They both love to play and it’s been a fun, long ride; one that suddenly seems to have gone by quickly as if the first Little League games weren’t all that long ago now that they’re both in high school. But it definitely makes it harder to find time to make casts.
Jake had a varsity game an hour away, and Carter and I stayed in town. We should’ve gone, but I’ve got a headlight out on the car and knew driving all that way back with my car looking like One-Eyed Willie after dark might not turn out well, so we stayed in town for the evening. We ended up on the creek.
Just how it suddenly it felt like their young baseball days passed by so fast, the creek was suddenly low, and the water temperature had risen. And where I am on my creek, just below a man-made impoundment of concrete, that means something; It meant the browns on this last couple miles of water had all dropped downstream into the next river, and that the bass had moved up in. We found a couple of them that first evening. They were willing to take my streamer and Carter’s marabou jig, and while not too big, their war paint was something to admire for sure. So I decided to get up the next morning earlier than normal to fish for an hour before work as the sun came up.
That next morning as I stood knee deep in the creek’s current the sky began as a dark blue, nearly black, but in a matter of minutes the sun approached the horizon and began a quick transformation, starting in a deep purple, then burning through red, pink, orange, and somehow racing through a blinding yellow before suddenly just becoming blue. It burned through those colors faster than a spreading wild fire and then settled into its final blue; a blue that during the middle of the day after spending hours inside at work would be absolutely gorgeous, but just then after the burning sky it seemed very anti-climactic to me. Just blue after all those blazing colors. During it all the fish were rising, and jumping all around me, but I couldn’t get the attention of a single one of them no matter how close or far I made my casts. Some splashed in the pool sixty feet downstream of me and I made long casts and fed line, but they ignored. And then others swirled at the surface not even ten feet from me like sharks attracted by chum at the side of a boat. And I’d drop my little white caddis pattern to them as well and they ignored it all the same.
There were no large bugs, but there were tiny little white insects, no bigger than a size 36, something I’d never carry on my hat and in all honesty not even in my fly box. They moved on the morning’s breeze. Tiny and pale white like embers from a fire that didn’t hold enough heat anymore to remain red and were nothing left but specks of white ash. Those fish were either eating those, or something emerging that was just making it almost to the surface but not quite. Trout aren’t the only fish to look up and rise to flies. Bass and fall fish will do the same on the right days, or the right mornings, like that morning. And trout aren’t the only one’s to ignore my flies. Bass and fall fish will do the same as well. Maybe I suck on some days while I’m better at it on others. I mean, I’d caught them less than twelve hours earlier. But maybe I was paying more attention to the sound of the sunrise somehow drowning out the sound of the early morning traffic passing over the bridge at the tail of the pool than I was to what was actually going on with the fish. It wasn’t a big deal. I’d have all day at work to think about it. Yeah…it was going to be a long day.
Mark Usyk is the author of three books, all full of stories about life, where fishing happens. Reflections of a Fly Rod, Carp Are Jerks, and his latest-Not All Trout Are Geniuses are all available here on jprossflyrods.com, signed by the author. They’re also now all available on Amazon as e-books. Make sure to pick them up with your next JP Ross purchase!