Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mary and Laura- Their Mom's Day Off

Two friends who met in grade school are moving through life on parallel tracks. This was their first day off after becoming first time moms...translation...they left the kids at home, which is not that easy They left the husbands at home, which is probably a lot easier than leaving the kids at home and they went on an adventure. What would they do on their day off? Well, fly fish of course. So thanks to clear skies and modern technology we met up, then began the float.
We started with some casting practice, a few mending tips that would come into play later in our float and for all our troubles there were a couple early fish in the net. Mary began by setting the hook on the first few fish. Laura was getting some serious distance with her casts and clean drifts, but her numbers would have to wait. 
The river was as off color as it has been all year, so the fly had to be placed right in the feeding they have needed to be placed all year. Laura and Mary were in a casting groove and when they dialed-in their presentation the fish responded. The fish were mostly in the usual places, but we were still having hot and cold spells in the results column. 
Laura was placing that dry-dropper in all the right places and the fish finally began to fire with moire consistency when everything was just right. Those first several fish were just a warm-up for what was to come. With Mary in the front brace and Laura in the rear brace we were beginning to show some better and better results. 

The drifter slipped into some likely water, where we've had some good fish over the past several floats.  Most of the better water in the section was occupied, by some bank-maggots of the likely suspects, so we held back and kept working the leftovers. Laura threw a good loop and the flies settled. The water rings grew and then disappeared. After couple mends and a long float, the top fly slipped quietly under the surface film. Laura set the hook and the fight was underway...
The rainbow made a couple trips up and down the length of the boat. Then the fish added some more of its rainbow tricks. We had seen most of those tricks before so Laura was ahead of the fish for most of the fight. A couple more short runs along with a few hard charges toward structure and finally the rainbow was wearing down. Some heckling from the front casting brace and rower's bench seemed to help too. Bringing the line to the last eye on the fly rod and then raising the rod tip, to slide the fish into the net, Laura landed that really nice rainbow. It was an epic fight at times and all that early work paid off in a big way. The usual suspects looked on in dismay...
A couple hero shots later and the oar blades were dipping just below the surface to began pushing water to the next stop. That next stop was jam-packed with slow and painful drifts. After dismal somewhat poor results the announcement came that it was time to move on to another likely spot. Mary had just thrown one of her best casts of the day and was getting all the presentation out of that cast that she could possibly get. In other words she wasn't giving up on that drift quite yet. Then it happened. Mary set the hook and felt a good pull back. This was a different type of fight and she realized it right away. The fish took us for a short ride around the middle of the river. Mary played the fish just right and with words of sarcasm encouragement from the rower's bench as well as the rear casting brace, Mary took the fish through its paces. Then just like that, Mary's first brown of the float was in her hands. 

Not too long after Mary brought that brown to the net, Laura would have a very similar experience,including "words of encouragement", with her best brown of the day. This day was getting "pic heavy". Now, I have to say the day wasn't all rainbows and unicorns but we sure were seeing a fair number of good fish coming to the big Brodin net. It seemed like there should be at least one more really nice fish coming our way. 
We spotted a feeding fish and everyone began to refocus. Mary was in the front brace and dropped her fly just a few feet above the feeding rainbow. The fish ate, Mary set the hook and the fight picked up speed immediately. Everything began to happen at warp speed with this fish. Mary temporarily lost her composure but gained it right back, she stood up straight and began to give the rainbow a few lessons in proper fish-fighting. This rainbow was similar to the other rainbow that took us for a ride. This fish was in skinny water so it wasn't hard to get to the bottom of the river and start going for the rocks. That's exactly what the fish did. Mary did an outstanding job with the fish and toward the end she had it on the reel for the final game of give-n-take. After that last bit of tricks from the fish we had the it in the net. Then it was time for a good pic and a recap of those most recent events.
So after they started the day with casting then mending, followed by hook sets and proper fish fighting, the ladies moved onto chocolate and good stories Those stories were of past, present and future. We were ahead of most boats and all of us headed to the final gravel bar. So how does a good day end? They had a short discussion and decided a double would be a good end to the day. Then they stepped up to the casting braces and in the final yards they checked the box on a double. That double would be their last cast of the day.

We stowed the rods and the oars began to dip just under the surface for one more series of strokes and those strokes would push us to the take out. The drifter carried us to the gravel bar just ahead of the rest of the fleet. Soon everyone at the gravel bar was comparing notes. There was no doubt these two friends who met in grade school are moving through life on parallel tracks and they shared an outstanding day on the river..
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