Nothing will ruin a good day of lazy-nothing-doing fishing like the damn hatchery truck.
I wanted to kick around the lake. I wanted to drink schnapps out of my plastic flask in the cool breeze and maybe catch a fish or two. No pressure. No cares. No three thousand stupid confused fresh-out-of-elementary-school stockers roaming around by the boat ramp.
The people on the shore, the people on the dock, the people parking cars, and the people thinking about leaving are now running balls-out towards the water, grabbing poles out of children's hands and pushing them crying to the ground as powerbait is slobbed onto treble hooks and bobbers are cast into the swimming mob around my feet.
As I start to back towards the shore the fish bounce into my legs, swimming in all directions and I have to try not to step on the little bastards as the casting and yelling from the nearby dock continues as the truck shakes out the last few stragglers and rumbles off to places unknown.
I want no part of this. I want to get back in the pontoon and row away. I want to pack everything up and drive back to the cabin and drink something strong followed by something stronger. But as I walk to my pontoon something goes wrong. Instead of packing up or pushing off I grab my dry rod.
What going on here?
I am walking down to the water and pulling line through my guides.
No, we are not doing this.
I am wading out into the throbbing horde, dodging castmasters and skewered worms like rabid flying demons, cutting the lines as they flew to the angry screams and shouts of the bait-chuckers.
Whats happening to me?
I drown the caddis on the end of my leader and throw out about a rods length worth of line, let it sink into the 10-inch-frenzy and give it a twitch and watch it get eaten. I yank the infant out of the water and toss him back. Again and again, I stand knee-deep in some kind of trance while molesting the recently plated population. Dumb confused fish after dumb confused fish I trick into eating my bug to the scowls and under-breathed comments from the peanut gallery planted on the dock. This is wrong, and I know it.
I just wanted to be lazy. I just wanted to have a drink and sunburn myself in a laid back afternoon. But I also wanted to fish, and now I felt dirty and ashamed. But why? Was this not fishing? Was catching fish not the goal? Is it more prestigious to catch this fish tomorrow? Next week? When I don't know where the damn thing went and I have to kick all over the lake looking for his slimy little butt? Is this too easy? Is it because there is something inside my fly fisherman's mind that thinks this process should be hard? Maybe. But there I was, in the middle of it all. I guess at the end of the day a fisherman is a fisherman and just wants to catch fish.
-Alex who drank that night.