Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Rust and Bliss

There remained only an hour of daylight once we were afloat. Biceps and abdominal muscles both felt the remembered stresses of the paddling that seemed oh, so long ago. I dug deep and stroked hard, going for speed and that feeling of quiet flight. To what portent will the new season bring? Panfish and bass, trout and pike? Perhaps some things exotic. I worked up some sweat before taking a pause. Then let out a roar into the sky.

Arriving after a brief cool down at the cattail fringed shallow bay, the fly casting began anew.  Too anxious and freshly wired from the exuberance of the paddling, the first cast was a piled mess - due mostly I suppose to line and leader memory. And rust. The second cast produced an immediate hookup, a fairly large swirl, and then a quick unpinning. Three more cast to the same spot produced three missed takes. Then nothing. Spooked.

So, out of the bay and down the shore a bit we go, my little craft and I, flushing a pair of mallards lurking in the bullrushes. Past a beaver lodge and green water lilly leaves already emerging from the mud, striving up toward the sun. Past the red-winged blackbirds and their raspy trills, staking their claims for breeding rights. And the early frog cackles of the riparian edge. The urgency of springtime.

I cast the shoreline pockets here and there working out the old rhythm. It's never far away. Turning back toward the little bay, I paused at its mouth as a few ripples indicated more fish. Missing another three takes before finally getting a solid hook up, I marveled at the quickness of the grab and rejection that is the hallmark of these early cold water fish. Far too soon it was too dim to fish.

So I paddled around into the dark.