"Be cautious while walking in darkness alone."
Scan that line. To my ear it's perfect (headless) anapestic tetrameter. It begs continuation. I haven't noticed that this company's cookie notes are metrical in the past, so I guess this one is fortuitous.
Be sure that you carry a working cell phone.
I'm in the truck driving back to Mossy Creek at 5pm. I hit Hardees on the way, grab a burger, fries and a small shake, and eat as I wind through the back roads to the parking area. It's jammed. I have to turn around and drive back to the church to park.
This bodes ill. I suspect it may feel a bit crowded. I take my time getting organized. By the time I hike the block back to the parking area one car is already pulling out. The guy driving apologizes for not pulling out sooner. He asks about my vest. I can't tell him much. I've had it a couple of years. He likes the big pockets. It not only has big pockets, it has a lot of pockets. Everything except my fly tying kit goes into the vest. Well, aside from my rods and reels. I wish I could tell him the maker, but after searching for labels a minute, I give up. It probably has one somewhere, but it's sort of crammed with stuff and that makes it hard to find unnecessary things like labels.
Sure enough, there are four fishermen in sight fishing. I sit down on the edge of the road near the bridge where I can watch that pod of browns working the mystery hatch. I set about rebuilding my tippet. I think I'll play with these fish a while, see if I can coax a few with some midge pupae or emergers. I tie on 18" of 6x then 24" of 7x. There's actually a restriction on leader length on this stream. I'm not pushing the limit. Casting a leader longer than the maximum on this stream would be a challenge. As it is I suspect I'll be casting with about two feet of fly line out.
I start with a black ant. I manage to tag two with that, then the rest studiously ignore it. I know I missed some takes too. The water here is slower, and smoother, but that ant is still very hard to follow, even less than fifteen feet away. I try a strike indicator, but that doesn't make a difference. It doesn't spook the fish, some even follow it, but the ant draws no visible twitches.
The fish do seem to be taking some things from the top, though they are also working a few inches down, and in the film. So I try some small parachutes. I take another that grabs a #20 Adams energetically, and get a few follows and refuses on some others. I switch to a midge emerger and can't see the takes. I miss a few more. I go to a soft-hackle emerger with my searcher-style body and find I can usually follow that one. I hook two more before that goes on the local shit list too.
The fish are getting larger as it gets later. When I started I don't think there were any over eight inches. Now I see a couple that might go twelve. They are far up in an eddy off the main current, and under the bridge. Getting a drift over them is nigh impossible. I don't manage more than a foot before drag on one side or the other put tension on the line.
I mess around with those fish for a couple of hours. Every time a car passes over the bridge they scatter. Foot traffic does the same. But they come back in about five minutes. While waiting, I pick up a fingerling downstream on my dragging midge emerger. Smallest fish of the day.
I work upstream a bit, just casting to likely holds, or occasional rises. I take a few more small browns and spook a couple slightly larger fish that are moving up onto the weed beds. It's just dark enough that I know that soon I won't be able to tie on another fly, so I go back to my searcher. In the next fifteen minutes I manage to draw a few more splashes and swirls, and I release two more small browns.
I meet dad and son coming back downstream. Earlier dad told me he caught one fish all afternoon. He said he caught three in the morning. His son did better, but neither of them was pleased with the action. I told dad about the ant with the strike indicator, but forgot to ask if he tried it.
I snip off my fly and stick it on my drying patch. Going to need a new patch soon. The foam is falling apart. I take apart my rod and walk back to the car with them. Tomorrow I will try Beaver Creek. They fished it yesterday, looking for the Trico hatch there too. They got skunked. The Tricos were MIA too. Beaver is supposed to be all rainbows, and it's supposed to be an easy stream. Mossy is reputed to be tough.
I guess I'll see in the morning. It's not that far from Mossy in any case. I can always come back here if I don't like Beaver.
I head back to the Sleep Inn for a shower and some sleep... just as soon as I post this.