“Hey man, check that out!” I said to Mason, perched on my back like a Jedi Master. “What is that?” I asked enthusiastically.
Although I couldn’t see Mason, I could hear him shifting around behind me in search of what I was pointing out. Finally his shifting around stopped, and he muttered a sound that sounded something like “daaa!” His arm was stretched out in the direction of the butterfly that bobbled by through the air. His excitement to see it made me smile; I am always amazed at Mason’s enthusiasm to be in the great outdoors.
The three mile hike kept Mason’s attention the entire time. I would point out and explain flowers, trees, bugs, and birds to keep the hike more interesting for him; however, in the end, I was relieved to set him down in the shade next to his mom and gear up for fishing.
Mason was eating a cookie when I set off around the lake to find a fishable location. Where I had left Gracy and Mason the wind was blowing in my face, and off in the distance it looked like I could have the wind at my back, so off I tracked.
I carefully stepped through some slushy grass, picking my steps on the dry ground toward the bank, when a gust of wind blew me off balance.
“What the hell?” I said. I had just walked all this way to find the wind still blowing directly at me? Of course, the way the water was rippling it looked as though where I had just come from was nice and calm. It was annoying, but I stuck to my spot. I held my fly in my hand and waited between gusts of wind to roll my fly out into the lake. The fly slapped down and was quickly being blown back to the shore. I gave my fly a quick twitch before recasting.
The sudden take caught me a little off guard. I had way too much slack in my line due to the wind blowing it back towards me, but I can set a hook with slack in it like a Jedi Master. BAM! A solid connection. The fish started taking line from my reel, and I saw a quick flash before it started its run. It is a rare treat to have a nice sized fish take your fly at a mountain lake, and now my reel was screaming. For a second I started to doubt my hook set, but after a fierce take and a strong fight, it was over. I drug the fish in quickly, and snapped a picture as it sat on the lake bed, resting before taking off.
Getting into a nice fish so early in the game can mean two things: 1) fishing is going be a great today, or 2) I have just used up all my luck on this one fish. Sadly it was the latter.
All around the lake I could see fish rising in the distance. Also all around the lake the wind was gusting in my face no matter where I was. Most lakes have sweet spots so I always make it a point to cover the entire lake if it’s possible. I did get a nice hit as I fished the last quarter of the lake, and when I didn’t connect with the fish my frustration echoed across the lake.
“Hey!” Gracy yelled to me as my fishing came close to an end.
“Hey!” I yelled back.
“You’d better get over here and look at your son!”
“What did you do to him?”
“Nothing, he did it all to himself!”
“Oh geez…” I said to myself, and reeled in my line and tromped back to see Mason.
“What the hell? Where is he?” I said, looking down at this creature covered in dirt.
“He has been having fun.” Gracy said back to me.
“I would say…”
“You should have seen him earlier, I had to keep him from jumping in the lake.”
“Are you serious, man, jumping in the lake?” I asked Mason, who just smiled in reply.
Gracy did her best to get all the dirt off of him, but as dirty as he was, the bulk of it was setting around his eyes, mouth, and ears, making him look like a miniature Fester Adams.
Finally he was stripped of his clothes and cleaned up enough to be recognizable again. Gracy lathered him up with sunscreen as his pants and shirt laid on top of our packs to dry before putting them back on. No sooner than Mason was clean and had his new diaper on he bolted to jump back into the lake. Gracy grabbed him and planted his butt in the backpack for our journey home.
“Are you going to put away your fly rod?” Gracy asked as we walked away from the lake.
“No, there is a small stream that I saw fish swimming in. I want to check it out.”
“Okay, but we can’t fish it for long.”
“I know that!” I snapped back, and received back a well deserved look of reproach.
Sure enough after my first cast a baby cutthroat trout grabbed my fly. All I had to do was gently lift the fly rod and the little fish was caught. It was at that moment when I realized how perfect the sun was for an underwater shot.
“Can you get my camera out of the pack?” I asked Gracy, who replied with another look…
“It’ll be quick…” I whined, and she pulled out the camera from my pack.
I had already left the fish go, and quickly caught another one for a shot.
Fish after fish were being caught, and I took a look at the previous shots to see that a few had turned out great. With a few great pictures already on the camera, I decided it was time to stop.
With everything packed back up, we started on our hike. Mason sure enjoyed the last bit of fishing, making all kinds of noises when he got to see the fish up close. His clothes dried up as he napped during the warm hike. And wouldn’t you know it, not a single gust of wind to cool us down on the entire walk home.