Every spring, after the relative solitude that I enjoy on the water for most of the winter, it takes me a couple trips before I adjust to the presence of other human beings in the same woods and water again.
Season Two concludes with a round table discussion for answering the most common questions about tight line and euro nymphing skills. My full panel of friends, Austin, Bill, Trevor and Josh join me to get deep in the weeds of the tactics, to clear up misconceptions, and offer their own ideas.
I always thought wading staffs were for the retired crew, something to lean on as you wait for the spinner fall — a third leg, when the left one has knee issues and the right one has had its hip replaced. However, one of the hardest-fishing guys I knew at the time was a guide on the Yough. Twenty-something, athletic and a strong wader, he carried a ski pole tethered to the bottom of his fishing pack, and he waded whitewater like a Grizzly bear.
So the day before our pre-dawn, westward departure to the Yough, I cut a wooden broom handle down to about four feet, zip tied a long-and-strong shoelace to the top and looped it to a carabiner on my wading belt.
I learned two things on that trip — a third leg makes you a faster wader and more efficient angler. And a broomstick makes a lousy wading staff . . .
The old man and I spent a few more silent minutes together. We watched the growing cloud of energetic midges again, and he pointed out a few rises on the surface that I never saw. But I believed him. Somehow I knew he could see things that I hadn’t — that he understood things that I didn’t . . .
Fly selection is important, but it’s one of the last questions to ask. There’s no denying that catching a few trout helps lead us to the promise of catching a few more. One trout is an accident. It’s just as likely that you found a maverick as it is that a single fish can teach you the habits of the rest. Two fish is a coincidence, but three starts to show a trend. And at a half dozen fish, there’s enough data about who, what, where, when and why to build the pieces of a puzzle.
To the die-hard angler, adaptation and adjustment to what we discover is one of the great joys of fly fishing for trout . . .