Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tie me to the mast

Picture of a large pool where a creek crosses under a bridge.
The Siren singing her song
It’s likely that your earliest fishing memories are of staring into waters near road crossings. Bridges above brooks. Train trestles across rivers. Culverts at tidal marsh outlets.

Bridge pools are the sirens of trouts waters. One is drawn inexplicably towards them knowing that only doom awaits.

You stood at the railing. You saw the fish, they're right there. But, of course, they also saw you. Finning calmly in the deepest slot they dare you to waste your time.

The irrational angler-brain weaves a story about fish that aren't spookable because they're so close to regular traffic. As if on cue a logging truck rumbles across the bridge's wooden deck. Below the pool, the creek makes a turn that provides a perfect casting lane. And there's a rise! Oh, this is so sweet.

You come back later knowing they're there. They’re rested and a sporadic hatch brings them to the surface. At the edges minnows and other fell fish rise but you are not distracted. Near the middle, but just to the left, an occasional suck exposes the trout.

A motorcvcle roars across the bridge. Twin pipes with bored out baffles that make your teeth shake. Asshole. The trout still rise.

A delicate cast of a fly three sizes too big garners the attention of only the minnows and the trout are down as you real in a fish not much large that the Stimulator that caught him.

Patience is not rewarded.

When they come back up the trout are now rising among the minnows. The right fly, a small emerger, lands just where you want it on the third cast. A minnow pecks at it but you are not fooled until another minnow, perhaps smaller that the first, makes an outsized swirl on the fly and again you reel in a fish that cannot bend the fiberglass rod. The trout are down again.

The black flies are not around today. That’s odd given that early June is prime time for the blood suckers. The skeeters are trying to make up for it but after two weeks of black flies a mosquito bite is hardly noticeable.

In all your day dreaming about the potential of water above and below your current perch, you fail to notice that nothing is happening in the shadow of the bridge. The bugs are off and even the minnows have quieted down.

There’s a long drive ahead of you. During the next three hours you cross numerous waters at high speed. Your head swivels to hear the song despite the failure that can only await. Circe was right. You need to get some beeswax.