So of a recent evening there I sat, bad leg extended straight out trying to ease my discomfort. The current slowly slid past. Its current was carrying tiny pale colored mayflies. Some of these little flies managed to become airborne and flew off to the nearby trees. Others were unable to get into the air. They floated serenely to the end of the pool into the choppy riffle and certain death. In spite of the fair number of flies floating past where I sat, no magic circles were being formed on the surface of the flow. The sun slowly dropped beneath the ridge at my back. The light intensity dropped as twilight time fell over the river. Soon my fishing partner, Jim Graham, should be returning from downstream. A pleasant evening had passed watching the East Branch flow by, heading towards its merger with the Beaverkill.
Ah wait, was that a rise form out in the main part of the current? Or, were my eyes simply seeing what I was hoping to see? No, there it was again. A fish had taken his seat at the dining room table. I struggled to my feet. I intended to show him the yellow spinner I had on my tippet. I carefully kept my false casting away from where the fish was rising. Twice the fly seemed to pass directly over the fish. It was ignored. Darkness was fast approaching, yet I managed to change the fly to a tiny number 18 yellow emerger. In the gloom, it would not be easy to see this fly. Just as I began to cast, Jim and Mike Zazyck, with his good smelling cigar, arrived. On the second cast a rise form appeared where I judged the fly to be. I struck. Out in the current the river erupted. “He’s got one,” Mike yelled to Jim. The reel sang. Three times the fish jumped. At first, it was impossible to control this lively trout. The little hook held while I manage to let the fish run out of steam. I could not wait to see how big this fish was. Fortunately, the bank here slopes very gently into shallow water. This was a perfect place to beach the trout. Steady rod pressure wore the fish down. Reluctantly, it came towards the bank. The fish was able to make one last short run. Suddenly, the line went slack. The fish is gone. I am stunned. As Willy Landem, my Texas fishing partner likes to say, “Sometimes the fish win.” There is nothing left to do but reel up and slowly limp back to the car.