Some days I’ve got to go it alone. Many times this summer I’ve had the joy of introducing new anglers to the world of fly fishing. A couple of times we’ve come up with an empty net, but I’ve managed to hook everyone up with at least a few fish and watched my friends have some fun.
But inside me resides the primal urge to forage for myself, to wander off on my own, explore my surroundings and treat no one but myself to the splendor of fly fishing.
Selfish? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely.
So a couple weeks ago I ventured out for an afternoon of solitary fishing. Hot and sunny, as has been the norm this summer, I waded into the cool Thompson River at 2:00 PM. Certainly not prime time by many standards, but I was not deterred. The fish were there. I knew it. A bit of shade cast from a large, steam-side cottonwood raised my confidence just a bit.
An hour later, fishing the same stretch of water, I’d landed five of the seven I’d hooked. Continuing up stream I fished a leopard hopper which suffered severe injury on the first cast. Three casts later, fishing the same fly with only the head and legs left from the original strike, I landed another.
And so it went. By quitting time I landed at least a dozen fish, several over 15 inches. All the decisions; where to fish, what patterns to throw, when to move upstream were made unencumbered, free from the consideration of a fellow angler learning the quintessential joy of a trout on a fly.
Tomorrow I return to the river with a friend for his second fly fishing outing. His first adventure netted three browns, one of large girth. I look forward to improving on that score card. But tonight I’ll sleep on memories of my soul connecting with water, of happiness found in its flows and dreams of more days alone to come.