False Casts

My last attempt at fly-fishing was in the spring of 1969 at our hunting/fishing lease south of Danbury. My boat was in the shop so my dad, Lloyd Weston, my pastor and I left our southwest Houston homes before sunup and headed down to the lease. On our way down we had decided that Dad and Lloyd would fish out of a skiff and me, since I was using the fly rod, for the other fisherman’s safety, would wade.

Just as the sun was coming up, Dad and Lloyd pushed off in the skiff and started casting back toward the bank and dragging their lures off the drop off in the channel. For me, I only needed a skiff to get across the channel, and once across, after dropping the skiff’s anchor, hopped out into the thigh deep water and began laboring to cast out my small, fluorescent green, popper.

Several false casts later success was mine as the popper quietly dropped on to the surface beside one of the several duck blinds in the reservoir. As the popper lay still on the water and the rings had subsided, with my left hand, I twitched it 1 time and it was engulfed by a bass, not big, 13 or 14 inches, but I let it run around some and after several jumps, stripped in the line and slid my fingers into the bass’ mouth. This was a keeper so I slipped it on the stringer and continued my casting theatrics.

Ever now and then I would hear a holler from the other skiff as one of the guys had a strike and from the sounds they had already bagged several, but I continued my labored casting. Soon, my green popper settled beside a clump of grass and was immediately struck by a no nonsense, bass. This one took of on a run, jumped several times, stubbornly fought the rod and finally I lipped it and slid it, by my estimate a four pounder, on to the stringer, 2 nice keepers so far this morning!

As the morning wore on and the sun rose in the sky, the heat turned up and I’m sure the bass that had been on the flats moved into the deeper water of the channel. Moving toward the deeper water, more casts, nothing bothered my popper, the bass were probably off their feed. Dad and Lloyd came up the channel toward me and hefted up their stringer showing me 6 nice, bass and said they were quitting before it got too hot.

Wading and casting back toward my skiff, no strikes, nothing was happening, time to quit and get busy cleaning the fish. As I paddled back across the channel, it came to me that maybe this fly-fishing wasn’t all it was cooked up to be or maybe I was just too klutzy to figure it out, either way, I’m going back to speckled trout and popping rods and this trip turned out to be my last attempt at fly casting!