Monday, April 8, 2013

Half Price Trout

Thursday evening was my first time on the water in weeks. It was a breezy, spring evening cool enough to remind you that winter was just over the next hill. I put on a scarf for what I hoped would be the last time this season.

I only had an hour or two until sunset and intended to fish three spots where I thought I might find a trout. In my hands was a old rod with a new reel and line. I had succumbed to Orvis' marketing scheme a weekend before and purchased a half-price reel. Actually, I eventually purchased a half-price reel; things don't often go as planned.

I was at the airport two Saturdays ago when I saw the social media marketing pitch and immediately purchased a reel and new 5 wt line. I only later realized that I had forgotten to check out. By the time I realized my error it was Monday and the offer had expired.

When I noted my idiocy on Twitter, the Orvis folks -- Kathleen Moore and Juliana Booth -- swung into action and made things right. What is astounding about this is not Orvis' legendary customer service in making things right when they goof up. It's that they made things right when I goofed. Incredible. I screw up, Orvis comes through. I wish Orvis worked such wonders in other areas of my life.

So down to the water I went with my half-price reel and commenced to fishing. Dry-droppers are my usual rig on this small stream and Thursday it was a Usual above a chartreuse brassie. If you don't have a Usual in your fly box -- I don't care where you live in the world -- you're missing out on what may be the best fly pattern ever; not as famous as the Adams, but probably better.

The first spot yielded a trout on the second cast. The brown hammered the Usual which greatly pleased me. A sure sign that winter is waning is trout looking up. Sometimes I can coax another trout from this bathtub sized pool but not that day so upstream I went.

The next reliable pool was a repeat. About a third of the way back, just past the root ball of a tree that'll fall during the next storm, an equally aggressive brown smacked the Usual and quickly came to hand. This one was dark, buttery color with large brown and red dots. It's interesting how two trout of the same species living within a hundred yards of one another can appear to be entirely different things.

The third spot was a relatively new discovery. It was fishy. Very fishy. A deep slot that ricocheted off of a stone ledge. I had never caught fish there but I believed in it's fish-holding hydrology and knew that I'd get a fish there, eventually.

The first cast was awful. The second cast hit the water hard. The third cast was a token offering for a pool I had already spooked. One hour. Three pools. Two Trout. Home for dinner.

Sunday evening I returned to the stream with a couple of friends intending to show them a few good spots. I remembered my camera but forgot my rod. I think that's a first. Hopefully it will be a last.

Regardless, we had a nice walk along a stream. I got to ramble on about a place that I love, I took some pictures and they got into fish.

Along the way, Ann and Sam came by walking Ripley. It was unexpected and it was a joy. At times I seem pathologically drawn to crowds or solitude. I suppose the familiarity and routine of daily life makes family, despite the closeness of our bonds, somehow less. But whether I travel around the world or ten minutes down the street that return to the embrace, the smiles and knowing comfort, remind me that it is always more than anything else.


  1. Nice job Z! Good to see some activity up there. Things were quiet when the small stream posse paid that stream a visit back in March.

    1. Thx, AT. Trout looking up is a wonderful thing.

  2. Fran Betters created some excellent patterns to say the least. Looks like you had some excellent time on the water.


    1. It's amazing how restorative an hour or so can be.

  3. Well done. It's been an erratic spring so far.
    I think I recognize the "no name" stream.

  4. Steve, was this the deal with the BBS? They are fine reels and as a confirmed Orvis customer, I concur that they have the best customer service.

    1. Yes, it was the BBS deal. My favorite trout rod line holder.

  5. Replies
    1. I one must suffer a long drive to the Steel, it's a fine place to suffer.