“Got it!” I said, before Travis gently slid his fish back into the water, and watched it swim away; his attention on the released fish was short due to another rise just in front of him.
“They are everywhere!” Travis said happily.
“Go ahead and get it. You need to catch up.” I said, and Travis didn’t waste any time. He presented a fly to the rising fish, but the fly fell short of its target. Travis pulled more line out of his reel and went to make another cast, and a tree snagged the fly on his back cast.
“Aw hell…” Travis said, looking back at his fly.
“Okay, my turn.” I said, casting to more rising fish. The blue winged olives were starting to hatch, so I quickly switched flies after a few refusals.
“Gotcha!” I said, setting the hook on a fish.
“I’ll show you how to handle a fish!” I said to Travis, who was watching with a camera ready. My fish got close, then made another run, tearing line from my reel.
“WHOA!” I yelled, as my reel screamed to life.
“Here we go!” Travis chimed in. The fish was putting up a great fight, but my 4wt fly rod was holding its own. Finally the fish came in, and I scooped it up into my net.
“This is how you hold a fish for the camera!” I yelled at Travis, whom had fumbled with both of his fish before we could get a picture of them. I held the fish and brought it up, but the fish kicked hard and out of my hands. SPLASH! The fish hit the water and there was no net for it to fall in.
“NO! NO!” I yelled, as Travis laughed at my blunder. The fish started swimming away, but I knew I still had it hooked.
“Get over here!” I yelled, and raised my rod to bring the fish back to scoop up.
“Okay, I’m ready.” I said, this time having a better hold on my fish as Travis snapped a picture.
It was an absolute dream: together Travis and I took turns hooking into fish. Laughing like a couple of kids, we casted to fish after fish, hooking a few in the process. An incredibly large fish rose in the middle of the river, and both Travis and I stopped casting.
“Tell me you saw that!” Travis said in awe.
“I saw it. That was a huge fish.” I replied. The sad thing was, the large fish that just rose was too far out in the river. The cast wasn’t impossible, but it would require us wading out and possibly blowing out the line of feeding fish we were casting to. Also, even if we did wade out, there wasn’t enough room for a nice back cast and the fish may not rise again. We both watched to see if the fish would surface again, and when it didn’t we went back to fishing. Though many fish were caught by the both of us, in the middle of the hatch neither one of us was willing to snap a picture of each other’s fish. Regrettably, this picture I snapped of Travis bringing in a fish was the only time I stopped to capture the moment.
“I think we caught all the fish here, Trav.” I said, after a while had past without a fish.
“Happens to me every time…” Travis said, pulling up his line. We both made our way back to the car, and to another spot on the river that Travis had had luck in the passed.
Travis hit the water first. I was only a minute behind, and called out to Travis.
“Any rising fish?” I asked.
“Only one!” Travis yelled back, fighting a fish.
“Well, look at you!” I said with a smile, and brought out my camera to snap a picture.
“This one’s over 20!” Travis yelled.
“Let’s get a picture!” I yelled back, but as I approached Travis dropped his net into the water, allowing enough space for the fish to swim out.
“Darn! It got away.” Travis said, “It’s too bad you missed it; it was huge.”
“I’m sure it was…” I replied.
Just then I saw a fish rise, and it stole my attention. I got into position and waited for it to rise, but nothing was happening. Surly I didn’t spook it, I thought as I stood still, watching the spot like a hawk. It rose again, then again before I pitched out my fly. The fish was not interested in my fly, even after a few more attempts with several different patterns. With time running out I decided to break the hatch with a Pico ant, and I didn’t wait for the fish to rise before I threw it out. The Pico ant hit the water, and the fish pounced on it! My arm shot up, setting the hook, before I knew what was going on, and the hooked fish thrashed to get away!
“Well, it’s about time.” Travis hollered, while wading quickly towards me for a possible picture. But it didn’t happen. As I chased the fish downstream I gained control and brought it up to my net. A big rock offered a nice backflow which presented an opportunity to land this crazy fish. With my arm reaching up as far as it could, I slipped the net towards the fish, which spit my fly at that exact moment. The fish, not knowing it was not hooked, sat on the rock for a second, then shot into life, jetting up and over the rock!
“No!” I yelled, as I slapped my net in the path of the fish. But it was useless: the fish was gone.
“What happened?” Travis asked, now standing right behind me.
“It got away…” I said, sounding pitiful.
“By the looks of it, that’s a good thing. I thought you were trying to club the poor fish to death with your net.” Travis said with a laugh, adding, “You just need to learn patience.”
“Patience?” I asked.
“Yes!” He said, as we walked back to the car.
“If you had patience you would be holding a trout right now for a picture.” Travis finished.
“I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.” I replied.
“Can you see the deer?” I asked, after I finished gearing down.
“Well look at that… magnificent creature.” Travis said in awe.
“You like deer?” I asked.
“Yes! They are so peaceful. The way they walk and look around.” Travis said, as we both watched the deer make its way up the hill.
“What if someone shot it right now?” Travis asked, plainly.
“What? Why would you say that?” I asked sharply.
“I’m just saying… Wouldn’t that suck? I mean, here we are enjoying this peaceful creature, then BLAM!” Travis said, adding some arm gestures to emphasize his point while not looking away from the deer.
“You ruined it. You ruined the moment.” I said.
“ME?” Travis asked loudly. “You are the one that needs to learn patience!”
What those two instances had in common was beyond me, so I chose not to respond. Instead, we both watched as the deer went out of eye shot, before getting into the car and ending a good dry fly day on the South Fork.