Monday, November 28, 2011
My son is finally asleep after a long tantrum. It's still 58 degrees outside at 9pm. I know the beast will be out tonight in search of food, quickly sucking mud into his mouth like my son rocking a McDonald's milkshake. He's a solid 10 lbs, and I've had two run-ins with him that left my leader frayed.
I throw on a hoodie and some sandals and head out the door in shorts. I have to keep reminding myself that it's almost December.
The park is closed, but that's never stopped me. There's an old footbridge that crosses the stream, and it's surrounded by street lights for the nearby walking path. The sight fishing is excellent. Even if the football-shaped monster doesn't appear, there's always this.
I stood in the middle of the bridge, stringing up my six weight and tying on the only fly I know I'll need, a heavily weighted size 10 white bugger. They say to throw black in the night, but that rule doesn't apply to a stretch of water with some artificial illumination.
The fish are holding the edges of the shadows tonight, afraid to come out in to the light for some reason. I can see long shapes with tails moving around skittishly; knowing they aren't carp, but not quite sure what species I'll be casting at. I'm going to have to work for them.
I position myself in front of a pricker bush, but high enough on the bank to cast over it. I chose this spot because backcasting is easy and there are no branches waiting to eat my fly. After a dozen long casts and slow strips, a man and his dog appear above me on the bridge. He asks what I'm fishing for and tells me that he's sure I won't catch anything. Before he could finish his sentence, I feel the pull. Keeping my rod high and reeling quickly, the fish came to the bank. He was a small pickerel and I think I was about as suprised by him as he was of me. His teeth sawed through the 3x tippet with ease after about 5 seconds of flopping in the shallows. So much for only needing one fly. He got to escape, and I got to avoid having my skin bleed from the bush in front of me. It's a win/win, besides getting a photo.
The man and his dog walk off. I re-tie and start stripping. I fish for 15 minutes without another hit, running the banks, bouncing the fly off structure, hitting the middle channel. I then hear the footsteps again. The man is coming back with his dog. I think to myself "This guy is good luck, I'm going to get a hit if he stops again." He stops to ask if I caught anything else. Just then, I connect again, this time to a stocked rainbow trout that was about 11 inches. He fought like his life depending on it and spit the hook on his 2nd jump.
The man then yells like a little girl and points about 15-20 yards downstream. He tells me to look. I turn my head and there he his, the beast. He was coming right at me and frantically feeding. I knew I'd get him. It was a perfect setup. I check my knot and cast. Then it happened.
In his amazement over the size of the carp, he stopped paying attention to his dog. It was a young golden retriever who decided to greet me, and then take a bath. I watched in agony as my fly swung right where the carp was.
The man said "Oh he's gone. Something must have scared him." I didn't have the energy to say anything. He then started walking away and said "C'mon Lucky, let's go home", and the dog went running back to his master. Ironic name, huh?