“Hey, you gotta move your @#$%ing truck!”
Clearly, this fishing trip was not starting well.
I had just turned into one of the many dirt pulloffs that border the Farmington River. This particular one holds at least three vehicles. There already was a car in it, facing south. I had been heading north, so the fronts of our respective vehicles were pointing at each other. To leave, we’d each have to back out the way we came in. You know, like you’d do at any gas station. Rudimentary Driver’s Ed stuff.
I got out and started gearing up. The occupant of the other car was on his cell phone, and from what I could overhear, he wasn’t having a happy conversation. He ended his call, and that’s when he shouted out his unpleasant greeting.
“Excuse me?” I said.
“Move your @#$%ing truck!”
“Really? Are you telling me you can’t back out of here?”
More wrathful profanity, and that’s when I realized: disengage. Now. What if he has a gun? What if he comes back with some friends? What if he vandalizes my truck? Sad to say, but that’s the world we live in. I could back out of the pulloff — and potentially, an even uglier scene — simply by acquiescing. Politely. And keep my dignity in the bargain. So I did.
Still, once I got in the water, I couldn’t enjoy it. I kept looking up at the road, waiting to see if my new friend was coming back to look for trouble. Every sound of an approaching car elevated my heart rate. Thankfully, he never returned.
So, what about the fishing? A slow day for swinging wets. Very little hatch activity, but the water was a perfect height at 321cfs and a delightful 64 degrees, ten out of ten for August. I was fishing a Squirrel and Ginger on point, a Drowned Ant in the middle, and a clumsy deer hair wing/head soft-hackle that suggested a drowned hopper or a big stone fly on top. I had several swirls at the big fly, but no takes.
Finally, on the dead drift, the line stalled, I came tight to the fly, and I had a good fish on. I was hoping for something approaching 20 inches, not only from the size of the fly, but from the fact that the fish immediately went deep and sulked on the bottom. A powerful surge up a whitewater channel, and he went on the reel. In the end, it was a mid-teens rainbow. It was the only trout I took in the 90 minutes I walked the run.
My best trout of the day took this monstrosity, still wet and fresh from the fish’s mouth.
I decided on the spur of the moment to rig for indicator nymphing. The section I fished is a deep run below some riffles. I gave it 15 minutes, and the only trout I took came on the second cast.
A nice little brown who liked the look of Yerger’s Miracle Nymph, size 16.
The day ended far downstream, where I took my largest juvenile Atlantic salmon of the year, about nine inches long. Bright silvery flanks, and fat. No wonder. When I was taking the hook out, I peered down his throat. It was loaded invertebrates to the point of overflowing. It reminded me of a bluefish spitting up bait. Off he went. Then off I went.
I had to get @#$%ing home.