Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Swim...

How many times can you remember standing along the bank of a river or shore of a lake looking longingly to a run, eddy or far shore wishing you could get a cast that far, or be standing there instead of where you happened to be at the moment? You have just the spot picked out that you believe would be the best place to cast from, too. But, for whatever reason, you can’t get there…its private property, the river is un-wade able or…it is an island. You really begin to create a “grass is greener” image of how awesome the fishing could be over there. The un-obtainable. And this mutates over time, especially if it is a place you frequently fish. You gaze over after every cast…fantasizing about the state record fish that JUST HAS TO live there. This goes on for awhile, then one day you snap…”ta hell with it!” you say…and you end up wading in naked…clothes in one hand, fly rod in the other…headed for certain glory!
That’s about how it all went down the other evening after work. Patrick and I have been fishing this particular bass lake together for a couple seasons. Every time we are there—without fail—we both peer long and hard at the island out in the middle. It is the perfect island…a small loaf of ground with just less than a dozen trees on it. Maybe 160 yards from the shore we usually fish from. Regardless of how the fishing is for us that particular evening, one of us will inevitably audibly recognize the total sweetness of being able to fish from the island. “You know, bring some food and drinks…and, like, camp out over there all day!” And the only acceptable reply is, “Yeah…totally…”
So, it really should not have come as a surprise when Patrick called me at the fly shop the other day and informed me that tonight was the night. We were gonna do it. To the island.
“I really have a ton of domestic shit to get done tonight,” I told him.
“No…don’t be gay,” he said.
So, that sealed it. I had no choice now. I was in. The plan was to drive over to our other friends house (who happened to be out of town at some bluegrass fest up in Telluride) and convince his roommate that we were there to pick up and do some maintenance (or something) on our friends canoe. It was going to be a long drag back to the lake, but was a better option than attempting last minute patch jobs on a couple of beat down old float tubes. But the plan fell apart before it had a chance to start rolling. An older gentleman came into the fly shop 3 minutes before closing with wife in tow…looking to have her try on waders and boots. Fuck! Forty five minutes later we were able to find a pair of wading boots to color match the one (and only) set of Simms waders that didn’t make her ass look “a bit weird”.
Now it was on to the contingency plan. Dreaded plan B. But daylight was burning fast and we were already far too emotionally committed to the end objective to turn back now. We were gonna stop over-thinking it and, damn it, just swim! So there I was…standing lake-side, clothes in one hand, fly rod in the other…pale white ass looking like a glowing bar sign to every mosquito in Boulder County. But it was a quick swim. Patrick had a big dry bag for most of our gear and we found that it did indeed float. And the island was just as awesome as we had hoped. Maybe even more so. There was a nice, little clearing in the middle for us to lay out our gear, and the edges were perfect for wading all the way around. We would make a slow lap around the island catching a bass on every few casts, then climb back up to the clearing and regroup. Every fly worked. Even the crazy prototypes we had tied last winter, but up until now were too embarrassed to show anyone. Even those ones worked. It was glorious. But it all only lasted a couple of hours. The sun set and we had to swim back. Leave our island. Oh, so worth all the itching in places rarely appropriate to scratch while helping customers. Oh, so worth it!
Many hours later, while I was driving home in the dark, I received a final text message from Patrick. No chest pounding or self congratulating on our success…just “Shit. Check for Leeches.”

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