Mann, its been so long since I felt a fish on a rod I think I forgot what its like- holding the bobbing weight, watching your line as it tightens and shoots upstream, seeing the flash from belly rolls underneath the surface, the mental chaos. I miss it. That’s also probably why when I finally hooked into one, I missed it. The battle was short, and line shot back, tangling with the bushes behind me. I forgot what to do. 

The upside to early season fishing in Vermont, besides the frozen line and fingers of course, is you don’t see many other people on the water, even some of the more well-know spots run vacant. Probably because most people know that the water is still too cold for the fish, or maybe just to cold for them. For whatever reason they are mostly right, but The Boys are still busy nymphing what feels like empty water.  Screw it, might as well try- always a few outliers. 

It was still pretty nice though. I think I’d almost rather fish water with no fish in it knowing I wouldn’t see anybody else, than fish water with both a lot of fish and a lot of fishermen alike. But I guess that would make me a shitty angler because I’d never catch any fish, or be able to post pictures of them, or write stories about how I caught a monster. I think the only thing more poetic than landing a fish, is losing to a fish. Sort of a metaphor for how failure keeps us going, specially as a fly fisherman. 

I went fishing last weekend like any other normal day. Just me and Boh. I not only forgot what it was like to hook a fish, but also the fact that this river is well known, and that it could be getting fished pretty hard already. Sure enough, pull up to spot 1- five cars crammed in a small pull off spot. Shit. Spot 2- A half dozen cars or so on the pull off. Fuckkk. 

It’s funny, fly fishermen have a stigma of being relaxed individuals, pretty friendly, but every single one secretly (or not so secretly) hate seeing other anglers fishing spots they like to fish. It’s inevitably part of the sport, it’s the way of the road. But I kept my cool, rigged up, and me and Boh were off down the river. 

A good friend of mine and I had recently been talking about how the first couple casts into any pool, riffle, or run are the most important and yield the highest chance of an eat. The longer you tirelessly fish a piece of water with no luck, the lower your odds become of fooling a hungry trout- It’s better to keep moving.  A couple holes down the river a little discouraged, pissed off because I’ve ran into more strangers than I’d like too (all were actually pretty cool but it still), and a few flies poorer, I stand on the bank, watching the water flow over a favorite hole of ours, Boh sitting at my side.

I casted maybe five or six times, fishing with some of the none of your business stuff ;), starting at my feel, and working my way out farther into the hole. DONK, hookset, why is this rock moving upstream…? O shit thats a fff…. that was a fish. Steelhead 1- Me 0. Loosing to a fish. 

Tight lines and stay core.

James Mugele