The arrival of winter, the season of quiescence and death, is still five weeks away. However there are many, here on this southern current of the greater prairie ocean, that will argue winter has made it's presence known early. A massive arctic front steamrolled in earlier this past week.
The leaves, being subject to freezing temperatures along with the will of the wind, are now letting go of the hands they have held since early spring. Some of the leaves land on the ground while others light on a current making their way slowly downstream.
The wind wishes for a dance from the leaves and with a strong breath the performance begins. Leaves begin a tumbling somersaulting style dance recital across the cold ground that has become a ballroom performance platform.
Mid-week I received a dispatch from John Haney. John is as fine a seafaring man of the fur and feather as any I have come to meet. Last season John didn't make one voyage to the river Blue due to an injury to his hand - an injury as severe as a gaff hook wound. Needless to say the lad is way overdue for sea duty at Blue River. John said he planned on sailing to the river Friday.
I returned John's dispatch and explained that if I could somehow pull anchor from the mercantile store I would meet him at the river. At work Friday I pleaded my case, with Oscar winning fashion, to the young captain in charge of the mercantile store. My performance must have been a grand presentation because the captain said, "shove off". With my gear already stowed, I set course for the river in my new dinghy.
I arrived at the river at exactly eight bells and looked for John's sailing vessel in the main harbor, but it was not there. John had told me he planned a course to the Ancient Boulders early, and most likely if the fishing was good there he had yet to leave. I made it across the river headed for Ted's Pool where I told John he would find me.
At Ted's Pool, three flies would be enlisted for sea duty. A new fly this season is the Iron Lotus and this lad was employed as the point man. Trailing would be the Frenchie pattern. I would begin with the pink Frenchie and hold the chartreuse Frenchie in reserve.
The Frenchie has yet to fail this sailor and it's been employed numerous times. It didn't take long for the trout to find a fancy for this lad. It was only one degree above the freezing mark, but I had a smooth sea lane to fish. The wind was just enough to make the bones ache a bit. I knew that this would be a short outing and when all was said and done I had spent less than an hour on the river.
The Iron Lotus had found two trout with the pink Frenchie finding eight. Normally the trailing fly always out performs the point fly, at least for me. The pink Frenchie was retired and the chartreuse Frenchie was called to duty. Four more trout would come to hand by way of the Frenchie.
Fourteen trout souls would come to meet the flies offered and the angler that presented them. Fourteen trout souls would return to the sea - a "deep six" of sorts. Less than three quarters of an hour had been spent angling at Ted's Pool and this included a five minute delay as a result of a bight in the leader. Missed hook-sets often lead to a boomerang effect and birds nest with the tandem rigging. It's best to simply cut the lads loose and rebuild a new tippet system.
When you're the one standing in the river catching trout at a steady clip, others take notice and before you know it you have lots of company. Such was the case Friday at Ted's Pool. The landlubbers were wishing for the water that was producing trout for this angler and it wasn't long until I felt surrounded by an armada of high sea pirates. Being quite content with the results of the day, I yielded the water with the treasure to those long faced chaps standing on the bank. Poor souls.