Sometimes, in the middle of hectic summer activities, it’s good to just calm down and go fishing. All it takes is an hour, a handline (or little trout rod), a hook and a bit of whatever critters you scrape off the bottom of a dock. And it turns out, you’re never too old to become completely absorbed by a tug on the line.
I figured the kids would’ve outgrown this by now, but Weston led the charge and Skyla soon joined in. And before I knew it, I was peering into the depths and hoping for a bite, too. All for fish that we usually walk past as we jump in a boat and charge off in search of bigger game. Today’s tally: 10 shiners, one flounder–all observed briefly in the bucket aquarium and released–and an hour’s worth of pure fun.
Legendary Texas fly flinger, guitar picker, road warrior, wordsmith and good buddy, Riverhorse Nakadate, rolled onto the Island to fish and eat–traditional Tuesday activities–with Smarty and me. We chased sea-run cutts on the salt way down the Sound, found a lot of dinks, a few mediums, and some true hogs that chased but wouldn’t eat. Mostly, though, we chewed the fat, spun yarns and laughed a lot on a beautiful afternoon. Followed, of course, by our usual Tuesday night gluttony with the full crew, including Neal, Pete, Helene and Morgan. That’s Riverhorse below with the new IGFA 10-Pound Class Tippet World Record shiner perch shortly before packing it up to ship to the taxidermist. What a day.
Long days, warm weather, and best of all, no school. Time to head up into the mountains on the hunt for little west-side trout. We started out serious. That’s Skyla shaking off the rust and tightening up her loop, above, and Weston discussing the merits of dry flies versus nymphs with Halo, below.
But the day was hot and it soon turned into this.
Then long conversations while drying off on warm rocks. Big hike back to to the car, quick stop for giant burgers on the way home, a bit of ice cream and deep, deep sleep. Awesome way to kick off summer.
It must be that time of year. I can’t stop thinking about steelhead and rain-forest rivers. Of course, with a schedule packed with a film project, book commitments, kid basketball and volleyball tournaments and the usual post-holiday glut of “real” work, it’ll probably be at least a month before I can make it out to the coast. But that’s where tying flies comes to the rescue. I can take a little break from the daily grind, twist some feathers and dream. As you can see from the critters above, I’m currently dreaming of high water, light tips and shallow lies. And big chrome steelhead.
Rain and wind for three days straight, but my friend, the writer, fisherman and road warrior, Riverhorse Nakadate, was going to be in town from Houston. It was not looking good. But with one day to fish and hang out, we figured we’d give it a shot anyway. Miraculously, as we put the boat in the water, the wind began to fall out. The rain let up. Between brief squalls, the clear, green water settled and for one brief moment, blue sky appeared overhead. We fished, talked shop, and told epic single-mom hero stories, which, it turned out, we both experienced first hand as kids. And we found fish, mostly little ones to start, but after switching through patterns, we finally hit the answer and it was on. Jackpot. Half a dozen slab-sized sea-run cutts made it to the boat before the tide quit and dusk fell. Later, as I was washing the boat in the driveway, I felt the first drops of rain in hours. By the time I was done, wind was thrashing the trees and rain pounded in sideways. The window was closed. But it had stayed open just long enough.