March 22, 2010

Dream Sequence

Dream more than others think practical.
Howard Schultz

There is this scene which plays out in my head when I wish to retreat from everything else. Maybe some of you can relate, maybe it is a waste of your time to read further. But, then again, maybe you should read on anyway.
I am standing waist deep in very clear water that moves through and around me quite slowly, but with purpose. Tall grasses, waving gently in the humid breeze, line the channel I am in the midst of; were I to reach out both arms to their full extension I would bridge the gap from bank to bank. Downstream, a submerged tangle of branches and logs throws the calm current into brief disarray, the tension of disturbed hydraulics swirling the vegetation in the channel upward, convulsing lazily just under the surface. The disruption of the constant flow over time has allowed small pebbles of gravel and sand to form in the vacuum a short but noticeable tongue which divides the current, extending just below the jam for several feet. Beyond that, the roots of an ancient tree insinuate a mild change of direction in the channel several more feet below the tongue's tip. As I strain to sight as far around the top of the bend as the tall grasses will allow, I become aware of movement. There, just below the jam in the deeper channel running to the leeward side. A darker, elongated shape, so still now as to cause me to wonder if I indeed saw what I saw. I remain vigilant, not daring to move, to breathe, and am shortly rewarded for my effort.
He is tucked in tightly against the outer wall of the channel, barely visible in the refracted gray midday light, about forty feet downstream. His movement, combined with a classic German coloration reminds me again of the perfect nature of his existence. He appears to glide, in place, almost as if suspended.
I am struck by the possibility that my presence has been noted. A long, silent exhale as I realize I have again been holding my breath, remaining quietly still, observing, looking for signs of apprehension in the fish's behavior.
Presently, my attention is diverted by sudden disturbances in the water's surface around me. I watch a what I took to be a bubble become a tiny mayfly, and then another and another. Soon there are many, and I am engrossed in their struggle to free themselves from their shucks.
A ring. Right above where I saw the Brown. And then another. I know now why he has been so silent, for so long. He has been waiting for this moment, and now it is here. His absorption with feeding will help to camouflage my activity as I make ready. I strip coils of line from my reel, truly finally appreciative of its silent action.
Tied to my seven x tippet is a benignly dull colored classically-styled upwing imitation of a mayfly approximately the same size and color as the naturals I see now dotting the surface as they float proudly past.
I know I will have but one cast. I must lengthen each false cast quickly, without drawing attention. And I know that it must turn over precisely at the right moment as to land ever so softly, without any more slack than is needed for the final drag free drift to my target, who feeds on, seemingly now blind to my existence. Or so I would like to think.
I pull as much line from the end of my four-weight bamboo rod as I think necessary, and then set the fly free to drift downstream a bit before I lift the rod.
After three false casts, I decide that it's now the time, and deliver, calmed by the narrow, perfect loop extending out downstream toward my target. I watch my fly follow the line to the end of its loop, and as it begins to turn over, I pin the line in my hand to the rod. The loop responds, recoiling slightly as the fly turns over and settles gently. My fly rides proudly downstream...
... and the dark shape is moving upward in the water column now, nudging the surface... my fly is, is, gone...
That's just one of many I have. I think I'll fish a mouse pattern next time. How about you?

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