View Full Version : A Perfect Day

06-19-2013, 07:35 PM
Yesterday morning Joan showed me a jogging path she uses, along an abandoned canal. It runs parallel to the L. river. I strung up the 9' 5wt Winston IM6 as if preparing for battle, donned my fishing vest like armor and tried to tie on an imitation ant. Three in succession proved hopeless to thread, even with Joan's dexterous fingers.

Abandoning the ant we moved up in scale to a foam beetle. I descended the tortuous bank, through poison ivy and over fallen tree branches in the shadow of huge pines like monitors. There were some large rocks 20 feet from shore that broke the current, providing the shelter of deep pools and the prospect of an eddying "Lazy Susan" effect for opportunistic browns.

A conventional cast was impossible. At 10 o'clock and 3 o'clock there were occasional rises, nothing to set your watch by if you still wear one, which I do not. I made a blundering roll cast and dropped the beetle a few yards shy of the most recent rise. It was not graceful enough a presentation to deceive the reclusive imbiber of insect fare and the rising ceased. 20 yards upstream another rise, like the sip of a professional wine taster, after a long day of middling pinot grigio who is not convinced the next sip is worth the effort.

I launch the beetle into flight: it sails on the wings of my roll cast and settles on the seam between the deceptive current and the yet more reticent pool. No response. It is like having a conversation in a corridor devoid of light. You are convinced a word was spoken, you think you hear its overtones climbing the Fibonacci scale to the heights beyond human hearing. You speak, but there is no answer. Again and again I speak, a Greek chorus of casts to the points of the compass around the last rise. I try a different ant with a few red feathers like the tawdry feather boa on a woman trying too hard. It meets the fate of the beetle as does a "Yellow Stimulator" and at last a gold ribbed hare's ear.

Joan calls down from the bank above where Lana has waited more or less patiently like a boisterous child who has been promised ice cream. "No," they are very selective. I need a longer, finer leader, very early in the morning or even at night." I pull the rod apart and in full retreat I return to the car. "At least I only lost one fly I add." "is that how you measure success?" Yes, sometimes to retreat with bag and baggage, tackle and limbs whole to try again, that is success enough. The wild flowers in full revolt of blues and yellows along the towpath as we head home.

David Bershtein