Sometimes things get tough. Work, parenting, marriage, finances. We have all been there in one facet or another throughout our lives. The unfortunate side effect is that sometimes when life gets tough fishing gets hard to come by. Sometimes when your fishing, the fish get hard to come by. My good buddy Rich and I had decided that we had, had enough of life and it was time to set things right by baptizing my new drift boat, and putting some fish in it. Rich's dog Tucker joined us, as he has for many years now, to oversee the operation.
We pushed out into the current and I pulled on the oars. This was my first drift boat and my first time venturing out into moving water. Moving water with lots of big rocks. I back rowed along the bank to a nice shade line and Rich began picking apart boulder piles and logs in the crystal clear water.
Several hours later, we had not even moved a fish. I could tell by the current flow and low water things were going to be tough. In my mind I began to doubt why I was even there. My intent had been to show a good friend some good fishing and give him a new experience on the water. Sure enough, it seemed this trip was shaping up to be the same as the life we were attempting to briefly leave behind. A grind.
Rich is one of my best friends, and an experienced saltwater and freshwater fly angler. He knew how the day was shaping up. We both knew it. However, instead of giving up and cursing the river god's, we set our jaws against the day. We cracked a cold one, leaned on each others resolve and went to work. We pounded rock piles, drifted ledges, and peppered deeper holes. Nothing. Not a follow, not a swipe, nothing.
We made the halfway point in our float, and with a thunder shower looming in the distance, I dropped anchor and we had lunch. BLT's made with fresh tomatoes from the garden. Tuckers ears perked from his command position on the deck as I opened a bag of chips. My shoulder was throbbing and still weak from an injury months ago. I silently cursed getting older. With the first bite of my homegrown maters I forgot all about my shoulder as the taste of summer sun flooded my mouth. We talked and ate and enjoyed the breeze.
Refreshed, we made our way around a big bend in the river where I had caught fish before. I slid the boat across the swift current and smiled to myself at my improved rowing. I came alongside the slower deeper boulder water at the edge of the main current and dropped the anchor. Rich made a few casts and I surveyed the water. I spoke up and told him to cast to the far ledge and just let the fly swing through. Just as the black bunny leech passed over the the rock into a dark hole behind his line came tight.