So it's Sunday afternoon. The day before I had taken out my
wooden runabout that I built in 2001 and cleaned her up good
after a year or more of disuse. In fact, the registration had
expired in 2005.
While I'm polishing and spit-shining, noticing that I'll need
to reapply the varnish topsides soon, a Wildlife and Fisheries
truck drives up in the yard. The agent gets out, thumbs in
belt, and says, "Good morning!"
I say, "Look, I know my sticker's expired, but you can't
ticket me if I'm not in the water, right?"
He laughed. "Calm down, I just wanted to see your boat."
I felt much better. By Sunday I had the boat back in fairly
good shape, though she still needs a new battery and a bit
of work to the lower unit of the outboard to be ready for
cruising. I then got to work on my big ugly fiberglass bass
boat which I am hoping to get pristine and ready to sell
this spring so I can finish my skiff, getting back to wooden
About 3 p.m. the phone rings and it's my friend, Francis.
"I feel so sorry for you having to look out at the sun
from the house all day," he says. "Wanna go fishing?"
After clearing things with the missus-to-be, I was in the
truck and on my way. I met Francis at his house and we
trailered his boat to Bayou Teche near Patterson, La. We
hadn't been there so far this year, but a spat of warm
weather and zero rain convinced us it was worth trying.
If no fish were catchable, at least we'd get the heck
on the water. Truth be known, Francis felt sorry for
himself as well as me. Both of us were going stir crazy
from being off the water for too long.
We first motored over to one of my pal's "honey holes"
but alas, the jar was empty because the water was murky.
So we moved back eastward and found better water to work
with fly rods. Francis fished a dry attractor as well as
some beadhead or another under an indicator. I was fishing
my new Harry Boyd cane 8' #7 because this part of Bayou
Teche has, in the last decade, become a world-class bass
fishery and I was hoping that if I dropped the right nymph
in front of a largemouth, no matter how cold he was in the
still chilly-water, he'd be tempted enough to take a nip.
But not much was happening along the cypress trees, and
the wind was blustering, so we moved to slack water on
the opposite site of the bayou, the residential side,
and began fishing docks, bulkheads and blow-downs. Francis
picked up a fesity respectable bass but my best was a fair
bluegill. A bit light for a #7 rod, but you know, you can't
pick what bites your fly, can you? I picked up a smaller
one later, missed a great fish who splashed me with his
tail a good ten feet from the boat. Harry made me promise
him a picture of my first fish on that rod, and since
Francis is a photographer of considerable reknown hereabouts,
he had his Nikon handy as always, so here it is, Harry.
Yeah, I know. Operator error, not the equipment! The next
one will be the big fish!
We worked those docks and bulkeads until the last possible
moment of a golden sunset before packing up and motoring
back. Not much more than an idle, really. We talked about
a lot of things, but noticed mostly the auburn cast of the
sun's fanning rays against the cypress. Golden hour, perhaps
a photographer's favorite time but an outdoorsman's favorite
as well. We scanned the horizon for eagles, their populations
on the rebound here in south central Louisiana. We talked a
little bit about quail hunting, on the decline here in south
central Louisiana, a little about travels, a lot about fishing.
Though Francis is of the generation before me, he's one of the
few spirits I can spend a day on the water with and feel like
we're sharing the same thing.
If the weather holds, the fishing here should be pretty good
in a month or so. Early, really, for this area, but only by
two weeks or so, maybe a month. If we get a hard cold spell,
it'll put things back a week or two yet. Either way, it'll
be high time to get after it. ~ Roger
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