It's near winter here in Central Texas. The last
storm finally convinced the Pecan and Cottonwood
trees to shed their remaining leaves. Time to get
out the lawnmower for a final time this year and
mulch some leaves. There is a nice size creek
running through my backyard, which is full of panfish,
bass and catfish. With the passing of the leaves, the
waters are once again clear and uncluttered. The days
are running anywhere from mid 70's to the low 60's.
Today was a perfect day. A clear bright sunny day of
65 degrees and a very light southern breeze. I want
to fish but the mowing can't wait. I have to start
near the house and do a back and forth pattern moving
slowly down towards the creek. Having a push mower and
a large lot, this gives me a lot of time to reflect on
this past year, especially of the fishing.
This last year I have been able to give most of my
attention to improving my fly fishing, studying the
ways of the river panfish and bass and creating flys
that would hopefully catch fish. I specify river fish
because that's the type of fishing I prefer. Wading
in these clear waters is an adventure, a new discovery
each rounding of a bend. I would spend all week
planning my weekend trips to the rivers. I have this
affinity for moving water. I love the feel of the
currents and the sound of the water. I have never
flyfished in a lake or from a boat. Maybe someday,
but with over 80,000 miles of river and creeks to
fish here in Texas, it may be awhile.
I'm about halfway with the mowing now. Still time for
reflection. The fishing was great this year! The
rought finally ended. Lake Travis went from 40 feet
below normal to above pooling stage in one month.
Everything was green and new life was breathed into
the waters and land. The spring White Bass, or to
some the Sand Bass, run was phenomenal. Where the
Llano feeds into LBJ Lake the run was so populated
with bass that people were catching and releasing
up to a hundred a day. It was a spring to remember.
It was during this time I introduced a good friend
of mine, Scott, into the art of fly fishing. He was
never a dedicated fisherman and hated the idea of
having to deal with live bait. I convinced him that
flyfishing was made for him. I remember how excited
he was when he caught his first fish. It was a small
bream from the beaver pond upstream from my house.
I remember how this was his first trip to water after
spending a couple of weeks practicing in a local
schoolyard. He was having trouble casting his line
out and it had become tangled at the end of his rod.
While he was untangling the line, the fly was wiggling
around in the water from all his movement. A bream
came up and slurped his fly down and was running for
deeper water. Here he was trying untangle the line
and the fish was pulling the knots tighter! At this
point he just grabbed the whole mess and started running
backwards from the creek and landed his first fish.
Not the prettiest thing to see, but effective. We
laugh about it now as he has become a proficient
flyfisher and has done very well this last summer.
I'm near the end now, each pass with the mower coming
closer to the creek. I think of all the people I have
shared this passion for flyfishing with. Those who I
have taught and those who have shared their knowledge
with me. I think of all the wonderful people I have
made contact with through FAOL and the amazing knowledge
base contained therein. That perhaps being the single
biggest thing which differentiates the flyfisher from
other fishing sports. The willingness to share knowledge
and even to share some of our most favored areas with each
other. I have met total strangers through the bulletin
board, who have become close friends and we are always
in touch. We share our love of the sport through stories,
fly patterns and places to go.
I'm passing by the creek now with the mower. As I pass by I
longingly look out over the water. The creek has a near
solid canopy of trees. It is absolutely beautiful during
the summer. Now that the leaves are gone, I notice some
color in the lower branches ůmy long lost flys from the
summer. Roll casting and steeple casting are the rule here.
Rings are starting to form. The fish are rising. One last
strip to mow. I'm no longer reflecting on the past but the
future, what fly should I use today? It's about an hour
before dark. Time to make more memories, to reflect on,
for another day.
~ Johnny, AKA Hillfisher