I did just that!
I was off the job by 9:30 a.m. and gearing up shortly thereafter. My goal was to sail to Blue and fish the kingdom of the south wilderness for the first time this season.
From my home port I plotted the east by southeast course and sailed the Prairie Schooner to the mooring harbor of the south wilderness. My thinking along the course was that the south wilderness would give me some solitude from the crowds but upon mooring the schooner in the harbor of the south wilderness I counted at least a dozen other vessels that had also docked there.
But still this was proving to me a most perfect day with some much needed time off of work, a completely overcast sky, and extraordinary temperatures. The one thing that was making this less than a perfect day was the toothache I had in tow. But, once I hit the trail on my way to the kingdom of the south wilderness I never once noticed the throbbing of that bottom jaw tooth.
Trekking on the main trail, I decided to take a diversion into the Scatters. The Scatters is a unique area and I have often wondered if the bows work their way down from the upstream stocking point which is Coyote Pass Falls...about a half-mile upstream. This question has been particularly on my mind with the low water conditions this season has experienced.
Again, the Scatters is special. The river braids, forks, diverts in six, seven, perhaps eight different courses and there is pool after pool, riffle after riffle, emanating from falls after falls. The old salts warn us to be careful in the Scatters because it is easy to get turned around and loose your way...and I can certainly see their point.
I looked for pools to plop a fly into to test my theory about the bows migration. I fished four different pools and only found one bow so I think it can be said that the bows do indeed work their way down. However, if one plans on fishing the Scatters in hopes of battling bows it will prove to be a challenge. There are countless fishing opportunities but I hold true to my belief that the bows are few and far between in conditions like we are experiencing.
Exploring the Scatters on an overcast day also brings an enchanting air to the adventure. With the overcast sky the life in the air can more easily be seen. Remnants, pollen, and life-giving seeds can be seen floating through the air.
The rock formations, trees, and tranquility of the Scatters adds to the experience of an enchanted and special place. For me today this was especially true being that it was an overcast day. However, even on a bright sunlit day with the sun filtering through the trees, the same experience can be had.
The number of falls within the Scatters is the most amazing thing. There has to be at least a couple of hundred falls ranging from six inches high to two or three feet high. Within this half-mile or less of river the elevation of Blue surely falls by three, four or maybe even five feet.
I eventually waded out of the Scatters and went directly to Coyote Pass Falls. Here I tied on the Flash Back Pheasant Tail and cast upstream. My goodness...I must have found a magical pot of Rainbows because it was a bow with every cast. After the tenth bow my Pheasant Tail no longer had a Pheasant Tail and was looking quite ragged. I kept fishing it and caught about five more before I decided to go upstream and explore more of the south wilderness kingdom.
I made my way to the Cove and it was here I found six other anglers. I spoke with a couple of anglers and then told them I would get out of their way. I walked around and squatted on the falls upstream watching a young fly-fisher upstream fish for the bows. He was casting upstream and drifting and stripping back. I figure he had a bugger on but never asked. I decided to plop a bugger down in the water directly in front of me and quickly took a bow. After three or four more plops I still had only one bow from the Cove so I proceeded upstream.
Walking upstream I passed a couple of bait anglers on the bank fishing wide and flat water. About fifty feet past them I saw the same exact water and an access to the river. The access brought me to a bank about three feet above the river with that wide, flat, dark emerald water. It was water that did not look inviting especially with the trees and brushes on my left and right. But, I decided to give it a shot. The trees and brushes started a quarrel with my fly-line right off the bat but I found a narrow avenue that I could make the twenty-five foot or so roll cast. I was doubtful as to the results.
Was I ever wrong!
Again, it was a rich, fertile, well propagated pool of dandy, colorful, and healthy bows. Cast after cast brought fish after fish. I couldn't believe it myself because this is not my favorite kind of water. At this point I realized that the inventory of bows in the kingdom of the south wilderness is currently outstanding!
I continued upstream wanting to go all the way to Dividing Line Falls. Usually, I walk as if I'm in a hurry but not today. I gingerly walked the trail like a man walking his dog. It was neat.
I arrived at the Waters of the Ancient Boulders and without a doubt this is the toughest place on the river, in my opinion, to wade. With the wind howling at this point the wading would be tougher. I waded out as far as I could stepping on the round exposed boulders as often as possible. However, round exposed boulders have submerged beveled sides and deep crevices that they root from. When I went belly-button high I stopped because I had Miss Carol's Camera in my shirt-pocket and didn't want to compromise it or my good graces with her.
Two casts were made to a favorite pool and both casts produced bows but then it was like someone shut the light-switch off. I turned my attention upstream to that dark emerald water and once more it was like magic...fish after fish. I was done!
On the way back to the Prairie Schooner and the two-mile walk in front of me, I checked each trash barrel for cans. I only found a few but they'll end up with the rest of my cans on the way to the recycling center.
All in all today I guess I battled close to thirty bows. It was a wonderful day after Christmas present.
Adding to my pleasure of having such a day for a present was how Lady Blue looked today. In spite of prolonged drought, she actually looked quite vibrant and healthy. On the sail back to my home harbor I stopped at the Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery to take a look at Blue's little sister Pennington Creek and she also was looking better.
I haven't wanted anything for Christmas for a number of years now. But...this year I did and it was some form of precipitation on the Prairie Ocean. I didn't get that. But, the weatherman is saying there's a good chance we will tomorrow so tomorrow may be a "two days after Christmas" present.