Any thoughts as to the nature of my silence, and whether it involves hordes of fish, secret fly patterns held from your gaze, and hidden shad streams teeming with hungry fish – are pure fantasy.
Instead, for the last couple of weekends I’ve put those precious fly tying fingers in Harm’s Way, extricating a couple hundred pounds of tree stump from my backyard.
While the Secret Shad stream has a ring to it, the run has fizzled out bringing an abrupt end to my forays into semi-clean water. While the debris and cast off underwear remain fairly constant between the urban watershed and the brown water I frequent, I’ve noticed that “relatively clean” means the package of Pampers strewn on the bank was never used …
The brown watersheds aren’t quite so lucky, and understandably less photogenic.
But the welcoming stench of decay means there’s no respite from summer’s heat, as the creek isn’t siphoned from the icy bottom of a larger lake, and the most you can hope for is trodding over hot and radiant enroute to something tepid and deeper, whose occupants cling to concealing shadow.
This is a bit more surgical than flinging a shad fly and hoping for the Eat, and the dozen flies I left in overhanging brush were blamed on shovels and callouses, and how paying someone a couple of decades younger might have been the better idea.
With tree nearly extracted I opt to play possum with eager and hungry gangs of Pikeminnow – which pounce on anything that breaks the surface, and interfere with my getting the fly past them and into the dark shadows that hold the big smallmouth.
With temperatures hovering around the century mark we’re back to water packs and dried fruit even on the early trips, as ample hydration and sugar keeps the feet nimble when giving the local rattlesnakes a wide berth.
… and amid all those lost flies and small fish strikes, you occasionally pry something out from the downed timber that makes the epoxy creak in protest.
Making them steely stump-honed muscles just what’s needed to subdue the locals and their lust for stutter-stepping Olive Marabou.