Readers Cast


Neil M. Travis - April 25, 2011

It was an idyllic summer day; an early June day wrapped in a robin egg blue sky and washed by a sweet smelling southern breeze with a hint of sweet fern and moist earth. It was a day to be on a trout stream, waist deep in cold flowing water, sparking water, dappled water flowing through a green tunnel of trees. It was a day for dropping an Adams dry fly back into a small pocket of fishing looking water beneath an overhanging bush and being amazed as a respectable brown trout sips in your offering. It’s a day for sitting on the bank and eating a sandwich garnished with watercress picked fresh from a small spring along the edge of the stream. Yes, it was a day to enjoy at bit of Heaven on earth.

It’s a long drive down a narrow sand track that winds through the Jack Pines to a hidden access point rarely frequented by anyone except the most obsessed loner seeking solitude. As I arrived at the tiny parking area I was surprised to find another car parked in the lot, and it had an out-of-state plate. Curious I looked into the car and noticed that the clothing hanging on a hanger belonged to a woman. Interesting, to say the least.

There is a faint path that reads upstream along the south bank of the river. It winds along the stream, skirts a bog, pushes through a stand of tag alders, crosses a small meadow filled with sweet ferns, and loops back to the stream at the head of a long flat about a half a mile above the parking lot. On a good day I could spend four or five hours fishing from that spot back to my car in the parking lot. With my lunch tucked in the back of my vest and my waders around my shoulders I set out for my destination, still curious about what brought a woman to this remote parking lot.

Arriving at the stream I slipped into my waders, stuffed my shoes into the back of my vest next to my lunch and slipped into the stream. Today I didn’t want to think or worry about matching the hatch, I just wanted to fish. I picked a fly out of my box, a Nearenuf enough; a fly that represents nothing in particular and many things in general. Secured on a 4x tippet with a clinch knot and waterproofed with a dab of floatant I was ready to prospect each likely looking bit of holding water as I slowly waded back toward my vehicle.

The banks of the stream were alternately in sunshine or dappled shade along the length of the flat and in places the bank was undercut, dark and seductive. A slight breeze occasionally ruffled the smooth surface and as the day progressed a wayward cloud would cause the sun to momentarily play a game of peekaboo. My fly, bobbing along next to the bank, would occasionally disappear and a scrappy trout would provide a few moments excitement as it strained against the resistance provided by the 6 splines of bamboo and the click drag of my reel.

The morning slowly faded into early afternoon. In the shade of a streamside cedar tree I sat with my feet dangling in the stream and ate my lunch. A simple sandwich and a hand full of chips taste much better than it would at my kitchen table back home. The dull hum of the cicadas and the smell of sweet ferns drying in the early summer sun added a perfect ambiance for a streamside lunch. I don’t know what it’s like to eat a first class meal in one of those fancy gourmet restaurants at some upscale resort but I doubt it could compare with what I was enjoying.

For the afternoon’s angling I tied on a big black Crowe beetle and proceeded on downstream. The big beetle gave a satisfying splat each time it hit the water and it produced the desired results as I slowly worked my way from one pool to another. The trout weren’t bragging size and the action was hardly frenzied but steady enough to keep my attention. Along one grass covered bank I saw a large dark shadow drift along under my fly for several feet before he turned and slowly sank back into the darkness. I marked his location for future reference.

Pool to pool and riffle to riffle I worked my way downstream as the afternoon slowly slipped away. I lazed away an hour or so beneath the shade of a large streamside willow tree alternately dozing and daydreaming. Realizing that my wife would be expecting me to make an appearance for dinner I roused myself and worked my way through the last couple bends back to the clearing where my car was parked.

The lot was empty except for my car, but someone had stuck a note under my windshield wiper.

“Hope you enjoyed your fishing.”

I’m sure that it was from a girl in a string bikini!

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