Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Fly Fish with Mel: Pre-Holiday Celebrations

Mother Nature seemed to be in one of her foul moods; her brooding anger enshrouded the skies with a blanket of gray.

Yet, it was not enough to deter O'l Lenny and myself from setting off on our pre-National Day fishing escapade.

By the time we hit the water's edge, our dear Lady showed signs of relenting, with pockets of blue peeking through her moody veil.

Finding ourselves each a comfortable roost on the precariously sloping rocks, the assembly of our rods was done in solitude. Before us, the water surface rippled in fear as each heavy breath of the simmering matron blew over it.

Opening my fly box, my sight fell on a large orange fly.

The Branchu, with its wing of white Mallard Flank and a tail of Golden Pheasant tippets extending majestically from a slender body of orange SLF dubbing looked to me the perfect fly to start the session. Wrapped gingerly around, a collar of soft Matuka hackle pulsates enticingly as the fly swims through the water, a succulent morsel that no fish, in its right mind, would pass up.

Tying on the fly; and with gentle strokes, Len and I painted the sky with our rods as our lines traced the movement, reaching out further with each swing. Our choreographed synchronization seemed to have help Mother Nature aussage her anger when we saw her gleaming smile reflecting off the water in the distance.

With a final arc forward, my rod laid the line softly across the water; my fly not fifty feet from me. I counted the seconds as I waited for the fly to dive to the depths where I hoped to find my quarry. One second, two second, three second...with a purposeful and moderate motion, I stripped the line to work the fly. Darting forward and then fluttering down slowly, the Branchu worked its magic. Strip, pause, strip, pause, strip, stuck! Not another snagged fly...but before I could pull another inch of line in, it shot forward burning my left index finger. No sooner had I released my line to drop onto the floor did it become taut to the reel.

The length of my 9ft, 4-wt Coho rod bowed towards the unseen foe. Soon, I could see the end of my line start to rise towards the surface and then, a silver bullet broke through the surface and shot out of the water. Her beautiful , streamlined body writhed and twisted in mid-air, trying to dislodge the fly from the corner of her upturned mouth. Unglamourous, yet spectacularly, the Tarpon (Megalops cyprinoides) re-entered the water and immediately powered out away from me.

Alas, the give and take relationship we had was not to last. With a last wave of her tail goodbye, we parted ways leaving me with nothing but a broken leader and sunken heart. How cruel short-term relationships can be. However, I am sure that we had a good thing going and she did choose to keep my fly as a momento of the short yet breath-taking time we shared.

Leonard, was not having much luck with the ladies but was able to hitch himself up with a couple of minors. The Cichlids did give a good account of themselves giving Lenny some fun on his 6-wt rod.

It wasn't long before the real girls showed up. Turning up, dressed to the nines, the Peacock Bass (Cichla Monoculus) were literally lining up in front of me waving their tails sexily, as they cat-walked up and down the rock wall.

Switching to an equally sexy, if not more provocative, white Woolly Bugger, I started to turn my charm on them.

At first, they were shy and kept their distance but with my fly dangling in front of them, the ladies were soon warmed up, literally climbing over each other just to scoff my offering.

It was pure fishing ecstacy.

In just under two hours of fishing, I had landed ten of these stunning beauties.

Too soon, it was time to go and leave this immensely beautiful stretch of water and go back to the realities of life.

Au revoir, mes chéris. À bientôt.