When I have to put my truck into four-wheel low to get out of my driveway, I know the dreaded disease of, “There’s no where to fly fish” is about to overtake me.
She who must be obeyed, (SWMBO) has become tuned in to these signs and was ready with a suggestion for what was ailing me. SWMBO said, “Put your new wading boots on and just practice your casting.” So, I did. Only SWMBO’s definition of practice and mine were different. I filled our bathtub to the brim, floated a rubber duck that belongs to one of the Wild Bunch, put my new wading boots on, got my two-weight rod and started practicing my tight-looped back-handed roll cast to the duck in the tub.
I discovered I could make a really good back-handed roll cast from our bedroom to the duck. I was feeling pretty smug about this cast, so I moved to the closet. (Mine, not SWMBO’s) Of course, that meant walking across the tile floor in my studded wading boots. I didn’t think that was a big deal since I had already walked from the garage down the tiled floor in the hall to reach my new casting pond. Once in the closet, I found I was just as good at back hand casts from the closet. Feeling a little happier, I began to think of other places I could practice. That’s when the wheels came off.
SWMBO, carrying a load of clean laundry, walked into my closet, took one look at me, shook her head and then demanded to know what was I doing. This is when I went brain dead. Trying to shift the blame to her I answered, “I was just following your instructions.”
It didn’t work. SWMBO, who is not prone to swearing, had many choice words about what I was doing, how the closet was not a good place for this activity and how did I get across the bathroom in my new cleated boots? I wisely lost my ability to speak right before I started to say, “I had also walked down the tiled floor in the hall in my new studied wading boots that she had given me.”
SWMBO then looked at me, through fiery eyes and said, “Get in your truck and go to the San Juan River.” Realizing my ability to fly fish, in the future, now hung on a 9-X tippet, I went to the San Juan River.
I went on a Tuesday after all the snow storms had drifted away. When I pulled into the parking lot at Texas Hole, there was one other person booting and suiting. When I walked into the river, there were no other fly fishers. It was as if an alien space ship had taken everyone away but left the fish. And, by noon, it had warmed up enough for the fish to begin rising. I fished with a couple of nymph patterns and hooked a few fish. However, I couldn’t stand it any longer and tied on a small, white Parachute Adams. It worked.
As I stood in one of my favorite spots, I realized there was only one other fisherman in sight. This gave me the unusual flexibility to move around and not get in anybody’s way. So, instead of having to make long casts, I could walk, not shuffle, toward the surface feeding trout.
As most dry fly fishermen are prone to do, I had to see if the trout would eat other dry patterns. There was a strike here and there, but nothing to get excited about. To fit in with the crowd, now two fishermen, I went to a nymph. I tied on a little bitty black thing. It looked like all the little bitty black things crawling on my waders. It didn’t work, so I went back to the original Adams. Again, it worked. Go figure.
Next week, after the next snow storms move out, I’m not going to use my indoor casting pond. I’m heading to the San Juan to look for my crowd of two other fishermen and start with a Parachute Adams. I’m just not going to tell you which day I’m going. One more fishermen would make it crowded.
Reach Don Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.