A RAINY DAY IN PARADISE
You’re sitting under a big pine tree, using it as an umbrella as the rain begins to pick up. You had expected some rain today, but not this soon. Luckily, on your walk to The Bend you noticed the open space under the low hanging branches, and how all the stacking layers of pine needles would act like shingles against hard rain. You were right, and looking behind the tree you see a perfect sitting log. Someone else had the same idea.
The thunder gets louder as the time between lightning strikes gets smaller and smaller. The damp dog sits up tight, in between your legs. He is either scared from the thunder, or knows getting a good ol’ petting is a great way to wait the storm out. You don’t mind though, because petting him is a good way to wait the storm out. He’s good company, and you guys have a surprisingly intellectual conversation. Sometimes it’s nice to talk with someone who can’t speak.
After a good 45 minutes, the rain lets up. It takes a little to notice when the storm has actually passed, getting the falling drops from the branches and leaves mixed up with actual rain. You rise out from under your umbrella like a cat approaching a faucet, and you are careful, making sure that the rain has passed before signaling the dog that the coast is clear. You leave a fly in the bark to mark the tree, go over to the picnic bench and sit, watching the water.
There is something different about a trout stream after a short, but heavy rainfall. The woods are quiet and empty. The sound of the raindrops together with the smell of wet pine is still somehow comforting, and you are glad that you waited out the storm. As a thick layer of fog veils the river, you hear a little splash, than another, and another. You wonder if the trout have been rising during the whole storm. Or perhaps they know that most fisherman wont take refuge under a pine tree and whittle sticks into spears until the rain passes, so now they are feeding confidently. But anyway, you are here, and the fish are still active.
Then the next burning question- What fly?
You usually would try a size 18 caddis dryfly, and bounce it on the water surface. You know that gets them going. But this time feels different. Gusts from the storm are still blowing the tops of the trees, and the lightbulb goes. You’d bet that all that rain and wind could have knocked ants and other terrestrial bugs into the water. A simple, yet profound idea- so you tie on that little foam ant.
You walk around the bend to where the water settles, and almost as soon as your feet are set, you notice a fish working the far bank. Short little rises, he’s eating something, which is good. But you can’t tell what something is, which may be bad. The first few casts are rushed, and worried that you may have spooked the fish, you let one last cast go a little further upstream, giving that ant plenty of time to drift into the fish. Right as the fly passes over where you thought he’d be, trout rise, fly taken, fish on.
Tight lines, and stay core.