By: Phillip Potter, aka TarDevil
On a beautiful June day in 2007 I came to two important conclusion; 1) flyrods and sunglasses are perfect tools for something other than catching fish, and 2) ALWAYS bring my camera.
I ached all over. I was so sunburned I glowed. But it had been a satisfying day… not particularly productive (three smallies and several green sunfish caught and released) but six hours of blessed solitude on a gorgeous day. I was contemplating going home, but happened to come upon a particular pool that looked especially inviting. A couple of false casts and I dropped my Lefty Deceiver on the opposite current rip, let it sink a moment then started stripping. I had two fish rise and hit on the same retrieve, but no hookup. They were small, so I clipped off the Deceiver and looked through my fly box for a smaller Muddler Minnow. I was tying it on when I heard the thump of paddle against canoe. Turning around I saw a red Old Town headed toward my pool, a young guy with one of those you-know-what kinda grins all over his face.
Sigh. You’re lucky, little fishies, you won’t be caught today.
As the canoe neared its occupant hailed… “Any luck?”
“Decent, up till now.” Then I saw it… a fishing pole in the canoe. I get canoes and kayaks banging through my fishing areas all the time, but a fellow fisherman usually shows a bit more respect. I dropped a hint, “I was kinda hoping to catch some fish I saw in this pool.”
“Oh yeah, this,” he said, pointing at the bottom of his boat which was now squarely over my fish-rich pool, “is one of my favorite spots.” He gleefully waved as he exited the tail run of the pool. If my eyes were better I bet I could of tied on a weighted Clouser and target practiced on the back of that curly headed, narrow-brained, dip-snip’s skull before he got out of range.
Oh well. I exited the river a short time later and was hiking back toward my car when I heard a splash… lots of splashes. I looked out at one of my favorite rocks and saw a smallmouth tenaciously chasing a minnow all over the upstream side… both in the water and in the air. I couldn’t tell who won but it juiced me into tying on my newly minted Sculpin and hopping back in the stream. Repeated casts produced nothing but a short strike from a small bronzeback hugging the rocks. I kept it up for another 30 minutes or so then conceded defeat. I fished toward my exit spot about 50 yards upstream, getting small strikes from green sunfish on the way. I had been intently watching the water for signs and hadn’t noticed a young couple standing on the bank; the young man dressed in a knee-length swim suit and she, oh so thankfully, wearing the tiniest fraction of a bikini. Trust me when I say she had no problem getting away with wearing her fabric conserving suit.
Figuring they were respecting my casting radius I said, “I’m leaving so you guys can hop in.”
“Ok, thanks, we didn’t want to mess up your fishing.” Maybe he was a fisherman at heart, but it’s odd the guy without the fishing pole was more courteous of my endeavors.
Besides, what was I going to say? “This is my spot, so leave and take that bronzed hourglass shaped goddess with you?” It might have taken me 8 years to finish college, but I have a wee bit of common sense.
And continuing to show common sense, all the chores of taking down my rod, which are usually performed once I get back to my car, were taken care of right there in the river. Slowly, methodically, sometimes repeatedly. Many are so familiar – clipping the fly, taking up line and leader, easing the reel drag – that I could do them with my eyes closed. Or in this case with my eyes, adequately concealed behind dark polarized shades, transfixed like laser guided radar on an abundance of skin transitioning the stream in front of me.
Her face? The radar antenna had trouble articulating that high.
All too soon, however, the Amphitrite of the Broad River passed beyond my field of vision so I ceased adjusting my drag – for the ninth time – and trudged toward the shore.
Besides courtesy, the young man had exceedingly good taste.