There he was.
Tail confidently wagging, I spotted the brown trout suspended just above the gravel bed.
I knelt down and watched to see if he had spotted me too. He hadn’t. The graceful movements back and forth with the slight opening of his mouth, told me he was munching on some unsuspecting nymphs, and that he was an arrogant fish. Destroying fish families, and taking caddis as if it was his job, he ate everything in his path.
It was an admirable brown trout, nearly invisible except for the wiggling tail and slow movements back and forth in the nearly crystal clear water. His lunch table was between a 2 foot rock ledge and a long swatch of moss. A perfect channel of insects would funnel straight through his plate all day, and very soon an artificial offering would find it’s place on his plate.
It’s barbaric to think of what I was about to do. Here is a fellow enjoying a mid-morning snack, and I intend on ruining his morning to have a great one myself. What must it be like to bite into a hamburger then be yanked around a restaurant by some invisible force? Right when you think all is lost, some ugly creature lifts you into the heavens. No oxygen, you know your doom is certain, then the creature relieves you of the pain in your mouth, and sends you back to your seat humiliated, angered, sore, and still hungry. Glad it’s the fish, not me.
Anyways, there I crouched feet away from this pretentious fish. Eating, and unaware of my presence, I cast my little nymph about 5 feet above him so I could be sure my nymphs danced near the bottom where he was. They drifted with the current, and everything was lining up perfectly. Right down the chasm they went. I could see the bright hotspot and shining head on my anchor fly, a Frenchie, and I knew it was getting close.
One cast, and perfect placement? That’s certainly rare. No drag, and no fly line on the water because I was high sticking this baby, the nymph hovered right in the zone of this feeding fish. He was still completely oblivious to my existence. With just a few more seconds I would be tangled up with a good morning.
When the fly was a little over a foot away from the fish I watched his rear paddle start accelerating. My heart rate increased as did the movement from his fins. He was moving for the bizarre creation of Lance Egan. About this moment I saw a flash.
From out of the moss came a vile creature. A joke. A burglar.
This flash darted out, inhaled my nymph, then made a mad dash back for the moss. I angrily set the hook as I watched my brown bolt for the underside of the rock ledge. The fight with this burglar was over as soon as it began. I lifted the 4 inch creek chub out of the water. I unhooked the jester, took the barbless hook out of his lip
and heaved him into the woods…
Only kidding, though, I was tempted. I set him back in the water, and watched him swim back to his green, moving, living, home. I could only see the side fin of my brown as he trembled in confusion beneath the rock.
Underneath that rock is where I left him for another day.