Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Fool's Rainbow.

There is nothing like fooling a fish with your own fly, I was told as I tied up a box of leeches especially for one day: Friday, April 15th. My dad was driving out from Nebraska for a weekend visit, and Jay and I were going to take him fishing, to catch dinner...on my flies. 

This would engender the ultimate in fatherly pride. Fishing with your daughter, on her flies? That is pretty dang cool. But on that day, that dinner catching day, to say it was "windy" was a disproportioned understatement. And in this weekend's adaptation of the old proverb, anticipatory pride goes before falling in the wind, and we fell...hard. As we drove by the Home Depot in Firestone, its American Flag flew horizontal, streamlining our spirit's masts to half. This would not be the day we were hoping for. But in the end, we would still have trout for dinner. Jay had the foresight to go stock up on stockers the day before. The calm day before. "There is nothing worse than promising a fish-fry, and then not having fish" he said.

We stood, just barely stood, our ground. And then retreated, to dinner thankfully caught the day before.

The next morning, Papa and I decided to give it another go. Blocks do that, give another go.

We got to Frederick Reservoir early, and nabbed a spot on the rocky pier. I was the only fly fisher to be seen, and was offered the advice of Power Bait. Um, no thank you.....I have flies. I cast out -- over and over and over again -- throwing the line farther than I ever had. I felt powerful. I felt like every fisherman on the reservoir was looking at me, judging my rod, reel, and dismissal of Power Bait. Crazy woman. It felt good...

.....and I lost myself in a cloud of chironomids.

 Bugs in my head -- getting used to nothing happening. No bites. No reassurance. No indication I even had a fly on. I daydreamed. And looking up at the swarm I decided to try a chironomid I had tied. I had even plated its chain mail tail. A few minutes later, it was lost in a snag...

...and I went back to a black leech. Looking up again at the cloud as I tied, and then over at my dad. He was smiling, hypnotically making his fly (a fly I had tied!) swim in the shallows. "I would eat that!" he said, pointing to the hideously un-intended colors streaming off his line. Papa liked it though, and called it the "Christmas Jumper." My fly had tied my dad back into an excited little knot of a boy.....and I got to meet him.

Until ---> pow! Pulled back into the present. The creamy belly of a rainbow flashed a fool!  And everyone was right, there is nothing like fooling a fish with your own fly. But the strange thing was, I didn't even think about that at the time. I was having too much fun. I didn't stop a second to saveur. I didn't pause in pride. I just kept on fishing.
As we drove back home towards the canyon, I glanced over. Papa looked pleased. I had only one catch and he hadn't a thing...and he looked happy.  There is something about looking into waters and seeing possibilities reflected. You don't know what is beneath the surface. But, there is always something --- you just don't always get to see it. On that day, for that time, you may just get to wonder, and wait, and that is all. Those are all the eaves life drops you. 

"You know," I said, with a chuckle of surprise at myself, "I am a pessimist in life, but an optimist in fishing." "Me too," Papa said, "you have to be"...


  1. Once again you take the time to permanently describe a moment in time. And what a time it was, congratulations on fooling a fish...that looks like a pretty smart one to me.

    You have that out of the way now, next time consider dipping your fly in powerbait. :)

  2. I'm glad I looked happy. I was.

  3. Clif - Thanks! Hmm, now having proven myself, perhaps I will consider a "dip" ;)

    Papa - You did look happy, and I'm glad you were! Next time, we'll go to a state that actually has fish! hehe!

    Cofisher - Thank you!

  4. It is funny that you have come along way from plaiting horse tails...neigh.
    I love your writing and how you artfully play with words.
    Thanks for giving Bryan happy memories and sending him safely home to me :-)

  5. sgb - It is funny, eh? And in one of those boxes Papa brought, is my old wood-handled plaiting tool. I wonder if this can be utilized for fly-tails!? :)

  6. "I am a pessimist in life, but an optimist in fishing."

    Yes. This is the mantra of my life. Maybe I'll get that lower back tat afterall!

    I loved it, Erin!

  7. "but, there's always something"...i think that's what keeps me going. good, bad, indifferent, there is always something. glad you were able to share the day with your dad!

  8. that's a lovely lovely story! I need to get in touch with my dad more ):

  9. CONGRATS!! I don't think the feeling ever goes away

  10. Your writing style inspired my latest post.