New Toys, Old Water

Craigslist is a strange beast. A man can find anything there. New lawn mower? Check. Fresh vegetables? Check. Urine stained, free-to-good-home couch? Double check. Anybody who needs knickknacks has searched the website, and most have found deals. When I began my search for a new camera, I went straight to “The List”.

I spent some time talking to a good friend about some choices. Coincidentally, I used said friend to help me investigate a camera for a craigslist deal. I was located a full three hours away from a camera that looked great on paper. A good deal, good price, and a few necessary accessories. So I enlisted Kyle to go take a look. I contacted the seller, and then Kyle made a connection that worked out. He’s a fellow fly fisher and happens to be a wedding photographer. The camera checked out, and I bought a camera I couldn’t touch.

What better excuse to make a fishing trip?

Between myself and Kyle are a few Missouri trout parks, Meramec Springs closer to me, and Bennett Springs closer to Kyle. I fished Bennett a couple of times in the summer, but I’d never seen it in the winter. It was the obvious choice.

I hit the water right after the horn. In the trout parks, the winter season is catch and release only, which is how I spend most of my fishing anyways. My rig was a classic. Elk caddis as an indicator, and a double dropper zebra midge. The first drift was smooth, and I was able to see quite a few follows and refusals.

I turned over my shoulder, and waved. Kyle was turning the corner, and pulling the truck into the spot next to mine. My camera had arrived, and I needed to get into a fish. Like clockwork, Kyle opened his door while I was watching my caddis. It disappeared. A quick flick of the wrist upwards, and the tiny rod doubled. I turned to look back, and gave a quick, “Right on time!” to Kyle. He pulled out the phone, and snapped a few pictures. I brought the fish to net, and quickly back into the water.

“I could have taken pictures, but there’s plenty more where that came from.” I said before exiting the water.

We walked to the trucks, started surveying the flies and tackle for the day. In classic Kyle fashion, he started to pull out his 8wt. I had a plan though, I’ve known the family for far too many years to not be prepared. I handed Kyle my 2wt Cabelas Cgr, and he made a remark about how light and tiny it was. While he looked the rod over, I opened my passenger door and pulled out a rod tube. A small finders fee, I gifted Kyle an exact replica of the rod I had just hooked a fish on. His reel was too big, his line was too heavy, but the new rod had the action. Slow, smooth, the fiberglass had a feel new to Kyle. The perfect action for energetic small stream trout.

I found great success on the water the rest of the day. I notice some fish were rising to the surface for some hatching bugs. The unusually warm winter day had awakened a hatch of winged insects. I had two beautiful dry fly takes from wildly aggressive trout, and a few missed shots on the Zebra.

The most fish came from a new fly. It’s called a White Fluff. It mimics a floating piece of flesh through the water. The first drift, and on the rod I gifted Kyle, I snapped into a beautiful thirteen inch fish. The fight was on, and soon the fish found the net.Trout Redo.jpg In the moment, I handed Kyle the new camera. We only snapped two pictures. With beautiful fish, and a great cameraman, that’s all you need.

Kyle ended the day fish-less. After I set the first hook with the White Fluff, I handed Kyle the rod immediately. In three casts, I watched a hungry, fat trout sip the fly. Kyle did his best, but he made a bit of a mistake. He reared back, pulled line, and saltwater strip set on a ten inch trout. The fly, shockingly, didn’t stick. I razzed him good, laughing all the time.

Kyle has now shared the trout stream with me twice. Both times I’ve ended with fish number close to the double digits, and him with a big zero. This time, he had a take, and I’m quite sure he had many more than one. Next time we share a stream, I won’t let him down. DSC06371.JPG