It was a week into trout season. So we went perch fishing. To be honest it wasn’t planned perch fishing, it was planned kayak fishing. And whatever fish we found is what we’d fish for. And if we didn’t find any, then I guess it would’ve been kayaking with some casting going on. But we found perch. So I fished for perch. It became perch fishing.
It was a dreary, cold and wet day, and all the trout streams were blown out, fast moving mud anyhow. I’ve got excuses for days for catching perch at the beginning of trout season, but the truth is I just don’t like to conform to what’s expected. I’ll bet I got asked about twenty times at work if I was calling in sick on April 1st to go trout fishing, so I didn’t. Partly because I don’t like opening day combat fishing, and partly because, well, everyone expected me to.
I rigged up my favorite rod the day before to make some test casts on the lawn, because I wasn’t sure if what I wanted to do would work very well. And the only thing worse than fishing in the cold and rain is fishing in the cold and rain with a set-up that makes you feel clumsy and fights you the whole time. I wanted to fish a sink tip line on the Peacemaker, which is a 4wt, but I only had a 5wt sink tip line. It felt fine in the front yard so I hoped I wasn’t fooling myself when I rigged it up at the water under a light drizzle, my fingers already cold before even launching the kayak.
On my first cast I shot out about sixty feet of fly line and nine feet of leader with a dumbbell eyes weighted streamer; it felt great and I slowly stripped line, dragging the streamer through the tops of weed beds that wouldn’t be coming to life yet for another month or more. On that first cast the line went tight, the rod danced, and yellow and orange rolled and flashed next to the kayak. Perch get fat in the winter time, and their stripes and colors seem to contrast more, pop more. Not that it matters. Maybe it kind of does on somedays. And while I could’ve been somewhere looking for trout, I was perfectly happy getting out on the Hobie for the first time of the year. Fishing with my father for the first time of the year. Catching a fish, any fish, for the first time of the year.
The rain came down, my fingers were cold, the fish were biting. An eagle sat in the top of a tall, naked tree on a point not far from me. It sat motionless except for its head when it looked off in another direction now and then. Silent. Part of the world in its natural ways. I kind of felt a bond with it as it flew off, probably cussing me out for sitting in its fishing spot.
Mark Usyk has just released his third book, Not All Trout Are Geniuses! You can purchase signed copies on our site along with his first two books while you browse our selection of fly rods and gear that we design and build here in the U.S. with the best of intentions of motivating you to get out, unplug, and live your life one happy moment outdoors at a time. As Mark likes to say…You weren’t born to just pay bills and die!