Sunday, October 16, 2011

Indian Summer

H: October 9, 2012: With forecasts calling for 80ºF weather and sunny skies, Josée and I knew we absolutely had to be outdoors and fishing, even if all we could squeeze in with our hectic schedules was a day trip on Sunday. Initially we thought of returning to the Beaverkill. Water levels were miraculously good and we've been meaning to go back since our first trip earlier this spring (see: Hunting Instincts). Plus, the Farmington on Thursday night was over 2,000 cfs due to a massive dam release. But when I checked again Friday, the DEP had decided on a sudden reduction and the water was dropping faster than the stock markets of late. That plus a Giants' home game on Sunday afternoon conspired to bring us back to our own "home waters".

Except for a slight case of car sickness (Sorry Josée! Next time, we'll ditch Evil), the drive up was an absolute pleasure. The leaves were beginning their annual metamorphosis into the golden yellows and vivid orange reds of autumn. I thought, even if the fishing isn't productive, I'm glad to be out on such a glorious Indian summer day.

A gorgeous picture of Josée taken earlier this summer on the Farmington River. E. Koh

We were both a bit apprehensive about returning to the Farmington since our appearance on WNPR. The week before, Antoine had said to me half-jokingly, "We are famous. Everyone who fishes the Farmington knows who we are now." Since the program aired, whenever he's been on the river, he has been approached by anglers who had listened to the broadcast. Most people were positive and said they enjoyed the show. But apparently a few had actually told him angrily that the river is now becoming much too crowded as a result. Jeezz, lighten up! The river is big enough for all to enjoy. With our new-found celebrity in check we headed to Greenwoods to fish with Antoine before his afternoon trip.

Our greatly anticipated arrival at Greenwoods was heralded by a 20-gun salute and a 2-car police escort ; ). OK, actually, some idiot was firing their gun not too far away and 2 local police cars had stopped by, trying to locate the source of the commotion. I'm not sure if the shooter was target practicing or trying to kill and/or scare every living creature within sight/sound but the loud gunshots went on for some time--not quite the peace and tranquillity we were hoping to find on the river.

I suited up first and entered the river, passing several anglers on the bank. Josée followed shortly after. As she walked towards the river, she overheard the anglers talking about us, "...these girls just love to fish..." She came up behind them, said a quick hello, and headed over to join us. The whole time we were fishing, I could feel their eyes on us. It was a bit unsettling. Can't a girl just fish in peace? Not that a lot was going on--there was very little bug activity and not a single rise spotted. To distract ourselves, we shot some video footage of each other fishing. Josée, it turns out, is a master of sound effects. We're not quite ready to post video yet, but very soon... Stay tuned.

We moved upriver in hopes of more activity and to escape inquisitive eyes. Perhaps we were beguiled by the warmth and light of an Indian summer day--but for some reason, Josée and I were determined to dry fly fish, even though there wasn't a rise to be seen or coaxed. In fact, Josée did not change her fly once, all morning. For that, I blame the languidness of a sultry summer's day. After a few hours enjoying the beauty and solitude of a secluded fishing spot, we decided to break for lunch.

After a leisurely lunch we returned to Greenwoods. The late afternoon held more promise--caddis were starting to emerge and the fish were more active, just not in the way we wanted. It's the start of spawning season and there were some spirited displays of aggression. If only that aggression would be directed towards our flies and not other trout. Antoine was done guiding so we joined him in the parking lot for beer o'clock" (borrowing his terminology). Josée and I both took turns casting his new vintage bamboo rod, a 7-ft. impregnated Orvis Battenkill--very sweet. He better keep an eye on it or it might go missing : ). And who should show up while we're casting but Bert Darrow, Pres. of TGF. He brought out his beautiful custom bamboo rod to show us. I can't recall the name of the rod maker but he's a friend of Bert's and apparently only makes a couple of rods a year. I had a chance to cast it as well--faster action than the Battenkill, incredibly smooth. I must admit, I'm getting a bit spoiled--casting bamboo rods, celebrity status... I can't let this get to my head ; ).

Well, before I end up writing a novel, I'll end it short and sweet. As the moon rose and the sun began to set, caddis were out in abundance and a couple of small fish were porpoising out of the water chasing emergers. But Josée and I still had on dry flies--caddis this time (yes, Josée finally changed her fly). The action lasted for around 10 mins. I don't think anyone at Greenwoods caught a fish. As I stepped out of the river grumbling about how bad the fishing had been, I recalled what I had thought earlier that morning: ...even if the fishing isn't productive, I'm glad to be out on such a glorious Indian summer day... Which was true. But that was exactly the problem--we had fished like it was a summer's day... Oh, well.

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