Belabored . . .
Our household is in transition. Most of September has been spent dealing with real estate issues; a business as complex as the tips of a Spey line. Free time – fishing time – time fishing simply with one fly on a slip-knotted level line – has been swallowed up in the sudden way a largemouth bass inhales a popper floating on the surface of a pond.
My fishing, then, at least during this September, consisted of a few hours on the day after Labor Day; a sunny morning along a shaded length of French Creek in Pennsylvania’s Chester County.
The scene was pretty: late summer wildflowers like orange jewelweed in bloom; mushrooms glowing white amongst the leaf litter. A frog plopped into the water in front of me and swam to a little point of stone projecting out of the current.
Wet wading was easy for me, too, as I found that flow ran summertime low, but this hampered my recent desire to experiment with the large nymph. My attempts were foiled by a steady stream of hang ups along the rocky bottom.
I did catch sight of a few rises across a slow bend downstream. A size 16 BWO was sent across to explore the spot. Two redbreast sunfish quickly came to hand.
A fish on the line and in the net made the day a success. Time was progressing in earnest; I therefore kept moving to see what experience I could squeeze into the remaining hour or so at my disposal. This compelled me to hike upstream to a stretch I had not fished for two years. Here there are several deep runs interrupted by an exposed outcrop of cobblestones: wrinkled water ideally suited to fishing emergers and soft-hackles.
The white-tailed deer seem to like the soft moss around this spot as well. I flushed a buck and two doe as I approached the carpeted bank. Each deer took its turn to bound across the creek and into the trees. I followed them as far as the water.
Another frog’s antics entertained me as I knotted on a small Black X-Caddis emerger. This little fly has worked well for me when sent swimming across and downstream in low flows. One brassy flash I missed on the first cast was certainly the day’s brown trout. A pause followed; one necessary to recapture my rattled peace of mind. Once obtained, the target zone shifted to a deeply shaded seam that ran down the center of the creek. The pattern swung into a strong strike, like a bat meeting a baseball, quickly followed by an athletic jump that lit up the scene. The taker then surged straight toward my legs. The net once again came to my rescue as I maneuvered it into position to handle a large and very bright fallfish.
My cell phone chirped a few moments later. My wife had sounded the call to come back to the in-laws so we could have lunch before boarding the train back to Manhattan. I was happy to have had this time on the water, however brief, given how belabored by the business of life we have become.
– rPs 09 27 2013