Somewhere along the way, the odometer rolled past 100,000.
I drove another 99 miles before I noticed.
Eventually I reached my destination. It's a place some of you are familiar with.
After unloading the truck my wife and I headed into town and had lunch at one of the local burger joints. My wife ordered a patty melt, and I had a Philly cheese steak and a large chocolate shake. We split an order of onion rings. Some people might say, "That's not very healthy." Fuck those people. It was delicious, and that's all we were after.
After lunch we went back to the cabin and I rigged up the two rods I'd brought. They'd both once belonged to the Old Man, and when he gave up fishing he gave them to me.
I lit a cigar, grabbed a beer out of the fridge, and headed down to the river with the Old Man's Fenwick and my foldy-chair.
Fish were rising, but I had no clue as to what they were eating. Despite that, I decided to try and catch one.
I tied on my favorite springtime, go-to, dry fly pattern.
The fish showed absolutely no interest in my offering, and I felt kind of hurt that they deemed this fly unworthy. I thought, "This is a great pattern that has killed up here in years past. Why aren't they taking it? What is wrong with these fucking fish?" Then I actually started to get mad. I'd fried my eyes tying two dozen of these goddamn tiny things.
I walked back to the cabin, grabbed my big fly box and another beer, and then headed back to the river.
After looking over what I had, I tied on an orange caddis/stimulator type thing that had at times proven to be successful on this river,
probably because it's tied on a TMC 200R.
A couple of fish nosed it. Smelled it. Bumped it. But none would commit.
I was starting to really hate these fish.
I still hadn't seen anything resembling a hatch, but the fish were still sporadically rising. I had noticed a lot of ants out and about, doing what ants do, so I tied on a Royal Wulff-type thing.
I'm rarely one to hoot and holler when (if) I catch a fish, but in this instance I may (or may not) have exclaimed, "HA! TAKE THAT YOU BASTARD!"
Fish were still rising in the river in front of me, but now that I'd stumbled upon what they were eating I was done with Little League.
It was time to pit the Royal Wulff-type thing I'd tied against "THE BEST OF THE BEST."
I scampered out onto the rocks... now that I think about it, it involved more crawling and hobbling than scampering, but scampered sounds better, so I'm going to stick with that. Anyway, I made it out to where I wanted to be without breaking anything or falling in, made a halfway decent cast, and watched the fly drift right where it was supposed to drift.
I kept feeding line, and the fly wasn't dragging, which shocked the shit out of me, but not as much as what happened next: a huge fish slowly rose from the depths, opened his big maw, revealed the bright white insides of his massive mouth, and without breaking the water's surface sucked in my fly.
I reacted by setting the hook before giving the fish a chance to turn, and lodged the fly firmly into the tree limb behind me.
I spent the next hour trying to entice him back.
Eventually I gave up and hobbled back to the cabin; shins and ego both thoroughly bruised.
I felt better after a couple of whiskeys.
A dinner of carne asada and a pitcher of sangria at the Mexican restaurant in town helped me feel better still, and after a nightcap on the porch, I was ready for bed and looking forward to whatever the next day might bring.