Never look a gift horse in the mouth, they say. An old saying that suggests you should not assess the value of a gift--or age of a horse--in front of the giver of said gift. So, when a friend and fellow tier who I see in the fly shop a few times a week pulled me aside the other day (a couple weeks ago, actually) and offered up his favorite, secret bass and carp lake...I smiled and was grateful. But I knew the area he was telling me about and was more than slightly skeptical. This particular animal seemed a bit long in the tooth, let us say. My friend was gifting me his secret because I have helped him out over the years with both fly tying and fishing (or so he claimed) and was eager to return the favor with something more substantial and permanent than a luke-warm case of Miller High Life. But he made me promise to protect the secret...before I had even fished it, so there was at least a little bit of curiosity and anticipation. It could be a good horse. Maybe?
The chance came last Monday to "go see a man about..." oh, I'm getting tired of this analogy already. My sister is in town and was eager to get out and have a crack at some fish a tad larger than the small brown trout we have been catching since she arrived. So her, Erin and I drove out to find this lake. Very loose directions. No map. But we found it and it looked good. Real good. Unmolested and lots of fun-looking structure and shoreline. Erin broke away from the narrow gravel path and headed directly toward the shallow end. I heard her say, "I like this place already." And on the second cast she was fast into a six-pound carp...rod bent and giggling. A few moments later I had a fish pick up a four-inch Texas Ringworm streamer and race off with it as I was waiting for the fly to sink. Needless to say, by the time I reared back on the reigns the fish was not there. Felt like a very big bass, though. Wow. Twenty yards down the bank I have another good fish inhale the Ringworm and this time I'm paying attention and set the hook. What happens next can best be described as Chris Farley attempting Chippendale tryouts. A largemouth bass far too fat for acrobatics attempting somersaults on the stage that is the surface of the lake. Comical, yet frighting.
We land several more big bass as well as crappie, green sunfish, bluegill and yellow perch before the three of us call it a day and head for the barn. (Wow...this analogy just won't die.) So, thanks for the gift, brother. You know who you are and now know where we were. Thanks.