Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 50 - Outfished & Happy

What a wonderful day. The weather was cooperative, the autumn colors were in full regalia, and it was spent with my wife and pup outdoors. Beautiful...

Since my wife gets Monday's off, I suggested that we go to Stone Mountain State Park. I told her that we could do a little hiking and if there was time, maybe I could wet a line while she took photos. So after sleeping in (as much as you can with a dog and two cats) we managed to get on the road almost right at 11 AM. We decided to bring the Wonderpup with us as we thought he'd enjoy the car ride and hiking trails versus the kennel in the bedroom.

The drive out was spectacular. As I mentioned the trees were dressed in all their splendor. We might have missed the peak viewing time by about a week, as a few trees stood naked amongst their brethren. Despite our tardiness though, there were muted yellows, bold reds, burnt oranges, and even a few remaining green leaves to excite our eyes.

After stopping for lunch at Backyard Burgers just outside of Jonesville, we made our way to the state park. Again, autumn colors equals wow. We started off our visit to Widow Creek Falls. Nash was excited to explore, however he got a little freaked out when he went to go sniff the water on a granite chute and almost fell in.

Our next stop included about a 30 minute hike (uphill!). The rustle of leaves, the faint pine smell, and good conversation was good for the soul. Having reached the top of a hill that then started to descend, I made the arbitrary decision to go back as I wasn't climbing that hill again.

Back at the Trout-mobile I changed into waders. We had saw a gentleman across the road trying for fish. I don't want to judge, but I'm not quite sure what kind of angler he was. He drove a Mercedes convertible and his fly vest looked as though it was ironed. I'm just saying...

I rigged up a two fly rig with a Bubba Nymph on top, and a Bead Head Egg pattern below. I went back to where the "angler" was at and proceeded to cast to a school of brookies. After a dozen or so casts (and a missed strike) I decided that my system was too heavy and changed the Bubba Nymph to a black hare's ear. I then caught a branch on the other side of the stream. I'm OK with losing a fly now and then, but two at once?! I waded across that stream, spooked the fish, and salvaged my system. At that point, I decided it was best to move on.

There was a spot further down the road that I had a feeling about. I had fished it in the past with only a few strikes, but I knew that this pool held fish (of decent size and quantity). After a few casts into the inky surface, I hooked a moderate sized rainbow. Success! I called my wife who promptly came and took a photo. Another few casts and another rainbow.

I looked at my wife, and she seemed to be interested. She asked if she could try a few casts. Now she's only been fishing with me once before, and she only took photographs that time. Seeing that this was a hot pool, I decided to let her have a go at it. She took the rod from me and I directed her on where to cast and how to manage her line. The second or third cast, the strike indicator took a nose dive deep into the water... Fish On!

I coached her on how to set the hook, and then directed her to lead the fish over to me. I scooped the fish and saw that she caught an average sized rainbow. Nice... I unhooked the fish and as I handed her the fish so I could take a photo of the occasion, the fish wriggled and Kathryn lost her grip. No big deal, as she would continue to catch three more fish. The most beautiful was the brookie. While it wasn't the same size of the rainbows, it was the most breathtaking.

As the clouds were gathering overhead and the sun was starting its descent, we decided to pack up, give the Wonderpup one last stretch of the legs, and then take the drive back home. On the way back, I noticed that Kathryn was starting to cry a little bit. She turned to me and said, "I don't know when the last time I laughed so genuinely." She explained that she's laughed, but it has been either the fake laugh, or the forced laugh, or the good natured laughed, but all of those had been a conscious decision. Today, when she caught the fish, she laughed out of shear joy.

And so, I sit here at the end of a good day and reflect upon the memories made. I may have been outfished by my wife (which I'm OK with) but I was finally able to show her the pure joy that I feel when I'm out in the stream. Because of that though, my fly fishing budget may be cut in half (if you get my drift). I'm still OK with that, it just means that I gained a lifetime fishing partner. Life is good.

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