The Ebb and Flow … By the Moon?

The couch potato fishing schedule. Usual Sunday morning Americano and paper at Brio to start the day, whip up a brunch at home, and leisurely contemplate a trip inland. Scattered thunderstorms in the forecast could make for an interesting afternoon. A routine drive contemplating which piece of water to work first. Rig up at house-sized boulder and fish it down to sea monster without even a grab. Started out with a large “special hackle” spey fly then switched over to a smaller more subdued coot spider. Nothing doing.

The big riffle was occupied so that made the decision easy. Although I like having the river to myself, and I often do, sometimes finding someone on a favorite run takes away some of the decision-paralysis. Head up to town and do a pass through the hotel run – a fellow across the river is blaring his radio and tending to his pot garden on the terrace above the river. It wafts down to the river, but the breeze soon kicks up to carry it all upstream, including much of the radio blare. I nab a small adult right in the dependable seam where they always are, but lose it after a bit. I see another, or possibly the same, adult splash in the same spot, but can’t dupe it on numerous casts and flies. Two missed grabs and the afternoon breeze turns full tilt.

I pack it up and wander down to the super secret tailout water. After this afternoon, I think I am officially dubbing it Little Argentina… wide open, expansive water and a relentless breeze that kicks whitecaps up the river and through the heart of the best water. It requires a long, deep wade over numerous sneaker boulders, then hunkering down, facing the wind head on, and pumping water loaded overhead casts right into the teeth of it. Sometimes the casts fail miserably, but it’s just part of this place. You either resolve to go at it head on, or get your ass kicked and whimper off to some sheltered leisure water. You won’t know until you try and today was one of those near ass kicking days, where you just have to suck it up, snarl right back at it and put forth your best into the maelstrom.

I cock my index finger on the line to feel any grabs in the chop and try to keep the tip up a bit to avoid the wind waves slapping at the tip. In any conditions, this is subtle water, but is ALWAYS good for at least grabbing fish, if not fish to hand. And the fish here are always showy, so there is usually something to keep me dialed into the water. One of my biggest adults came out of this water – water that many boats will pass by because it just doesn’t have that textbook setup to it. But look closer and all the ingredients are there: chest deep water moving at a fast walking pace over a coarse bottom. But put a little wind on top of it and it goes largely unnoticed by most. True to form, it lives up to its dependability and a half dozen fish are either landed or LDR’d.

No adults to hand today, but that’s what next time is for. Today was definitely work to get fish: maybe it’s the full moon? Two weeks ago, fish were on the grab, not so much today. I call it an early day as the sun sinks into a hazy sky and the farthest edges of thunderheads borne out over the Trinities reach out west and north in tendrils to dampen to light. A special evening on tap, no doubt, but I got what I came for, avoided a butt kicking, and there is always the promise of next time.

On the walk out of Little Argentina I scavenged the river margins and found a couple of “special hackles” that will make fine new spey flies for the next outing… And in town two elderly ladies set up a table selling the ripest, sweetest figs off their trees – weighed on a rusty old Montgomery Wards scale that really doesn’t do much weighing anymore and a price is agreed to more by sight than anything the scale might tell.

The best time of year is RIGHT NOW.

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