Sunday, August 1, 2010

My beat-up Chevy truck and more stories

My most-loyal fishing companion took it on the proverbial chin this past week, when a seemingly-healthy hackberry tree decided it couldn't take it anymore and plunged to its death. Unfortunately, it's suicidal swan dive was interrupted by my beloved Chevy Silverado.

I discovered the carnage when I walked out the door the other morning. You know those movies where somebody hides in a bomb shelter, only to walk outside and discover that the world has been completely destroyed around them and they’re the only thing left alive, a realization which causes them to fall to their knees and scream at the heavens, “Nooooo!!?”

Well, it wasn’t like that at all. I think I just stopped and said, “Ah crap.”

My brother-in-law provided some quality brother-in-law help by bringing over his chainsaw, and after a couple of hours, we were able to free my truck from the grips of the depressed tree. Thankfully, the truck was drive-able, albeit broken, beaten and scarred. Hopefully, in the near future, it will resume accompanying me to my favorite fishing spots.

Speaking of fishing, I spent yesterday afternoon on the Caney Fork River, floating the “upper float” with my good friends, David and Anthony. It’s been awhile since I spent a Saturday on this popular tail water, and I was shocked at the amount of people on the river. Canoe and kayak rentals, coupled with anglers of all shapes and sizes filled every public access point and/or shoal. Despite the tremendous traffic, we managed to pick up several fish, most of them being smaller, freshly-stocked rainbow trout. A thinly-tied zebra midge was “the fly,” as we “nymphed” our way through the gauntlet of waders, tubers, kayakers and canoeists. It was all good, though, as everyone seemed to be in good spirits and as polite as a bunch of people crammed into a narrow stream can be.

Halfway to our take-out spot, my wife sent me a text message, letting me know that some bad storms were on the way. As predicted, the skies began to darken and we heard the rumbles of thunder in the distance. When the rumbling intensified, we did the smart thing and put down our 9-foot graphite lightning rods, beached the drifter on a gravel bar and sought shelter from the storm.

Mid-way through the deluge, the sun leaked out from behind the clouds and cast a golden glow on the bluff-wall in front of us. I commented to Anthony that there was probably going to be a nice rainbow (not the trout), and he immediately replied, “And, there it is.” The end of the ‘bow was probably 100 feet from us, right in the main channel of the river. No dummies here, we marked the spot in hopes of finding a pot of gold, and when the rains diminished enough, we quickly descended on the expected treasure. Alas. Nothing but moss-covered rocks and streambed critters. No gold. I surmised that maybe we didn’t see the end of the rainbow, but the start of it. Just our luck.

Rubbing it in our faces, nature presented us with a double-rainbow in the distance, sending us scrambling for our cameras. Soon thereafter, the fog rose off the river and we were blessed with some amazingly-dramatic natural lighting. I snapped a few quick shots of my buddies fishing in the preternatural glow and lamented not having my “good camera” with me

Post photo-op, we began the float again, slogging our way to our destination. The bad weather had chased almost all of the traffic off the river, leaving us with a clean slate of fishable water. David started the run with a nice 19 inch brown trout, followed by Anthony’s 18-incher about 30 minutes later. Not to be left out, I picked up my big fish (another 18-inch brown) in an area that had produced a similar fish about a year ago. On the same fly, too.

Those three fish definitely made the day, and the nice, quiet float through the last mile-and-a-half of stream was a really cool way to end the day. As the fog grew thicker and the skies darker, we loaded the drifter amidst an enormous midge hatch and headed home, all of us satiated from a day well spent.