“Catch anything?” I called out to the guy fishing down the creek behind me. I’d popped over to one of my usual spots to kill a bit of time while the turkey was cooking. I knew I’d see someone on the creek today, but hadn’t expected to find someone perched precariously on a log overhanging the river.
“No,” he called back. “My hooks are too big.”
“That can happen out here,” I replied.
“… Do you have any smaller hooks?”
He shimmied off the log and started to fight his way through the bush to where I was standing.
I made a few casts while I waited. A fish immediately broke the surface, but I missed the hookset. It happens a lot, though I tend to get a bit lazy with the hookset on this creek. I know it won’t be the only fish I see today and it’s just as fun to watch them hit the surface as it is to catch them.
“I had $100 worth of hooks at home,” the man told me as he pushed through the undergrowth. “But I forgot them.”
“Here I said,” digging a smaller dry fly out of my box. “Try this. They like flies like this here.”
“Are you from Vancouver?”
“I am, but we’re staying at a place just down the road.”
I wasn’t surprised. Everything about this guy screamed big city, from calling his flies “hooks” to the way he kept dead fish in a ziplock back in his wader to take home with him. I didn’t care. I moved to the area from Toronto. I probably gave off the same vibe when I first moved to the area. Now, though, I had a bit more of a feral edge and was wet-wading in October. Not the most pleasant way to fish, but easier than dealing with my waders. Plus, the water wasn’t that cold.
I made a few more casts, brought a few more fish to the surface, and then made my way upriver. The fish were a little more eager in the deeper water. I switched over to a nymph and noticed the action picked up immediately. I managed a fish every few casts. They were the usual fish – small, eager rainbows that will hit almost anything (once you figure out whether they want their food on the surface or subsurface, that is), but that’s all I wanted. I had a small window that I could get out to the water and just wanted to see a few fish.
The day before, I’d been out with my dad, exploring a spot I’d come across earlier in the summer. We’d found a beautiful little spot, but no fish. Today’s spot was fishy, but not particularly beautiful (I mean, it was. But it was also filled with infrastructure, both current and discarded).
A few minutes later, from friend from downriver walked by again. “Any luck, yet?” I asked. “No, nothing.”
“Sometimes this creek can be in a mood,” I said. I pulled my line in and resisted the urge to cast in front of him. I didn’t want him to feel bad when I inevitably hooked into a fish.
He left to rejoin his family who had been fishing upriver and, not long after that, I did the same.
It was a little more crowded than I prefer, but it was still a good hour on the water.