Reflections on Casting

by Bill Wofford

 Sometimes it is not enough to just catch fish, sometimes it is just enough to ponder the day and reflect on that day’s happening or and if a fish is dumb enough to get himself caught in the process, then that’s a bonus.

A few days ago it stopped raining enough for me to think about fishing, and when I think about something important like fishing long enough, usually the inevitable happens and I go fishing. The San Marcos River was flowing rather hard and faster than I am accustomed to and that determined whether I would get into the water or not and not won out. I went to Pavilion A here in San Marcos and began to prepare for a morning of solitude fishing.

Recently I had purchased a 5 wt rod from Cabela's along with a reel and the necessary line that I wanted to try out. Today was the day for that to happen. I selected n non-descript fly that was tied sometime ago and had never been used. It was a weighted soft hackle fly with some peafowl ribbing tied on a size 12. I could tell from the wild lonesome call of a red shouldered hawk this would be a perfect day. I had come to this spot many times these past few months and for the most part left empty handed, but hey, the fun is in the chase, not the catch. Pulling out some 20 feet of line and gently laying the fly next to the bank two eager long eared perch rose to see what the commotion was all about and quickly decided they did not like what they saw.

Not to be discouraged several more casts were made and finally one became brave enough to try this imitation of a tasty morsel. A nice red ear perch that would make anyone proud to bring to hand and my morning was complete. Another member of this club has said that just to catch one fish makes this trip completely worthwhile, I believe him.

I continued to fish, first one side of the small foot bridge then the other and bringing to hand a perch now and then. This was a great morning to be on the river. Making my way over to the small island and onto the old landing dock gave me an advantage point to cast in several different directions with a minimum of effort.

While I was casting a car drove up and an elderly gentleman alighted and gingerly walking with the aid of a cane came across the foot bridge. He stopped about mid way and watched me make a few casts before continuing on across. As he approached he nodded and asked if I had any luck in this stretch of the river. I informed him that I had caught about a dozen perch and that I considered it to be a successful day. He agreed but added that he had not fished with a fly in a long time but used to enjoy it.

I asked if he wanted to try my rod. He said, "Are you serious?" I nodded and said yes. At first he declined, bowed his head, then straighten up and said, "sure, if you’d let me."

I handed him my rod along with the fly that I had been using for the past couple of hours. He looked at it and something to the effect that, a good fly is hard to come by. He made a couple of casts to get the feel of the rod, and then laid the fly some thirty feet out and let it sink. He assumed the stance of a man on a mission, crouching down and slightly forward as he methodically began stripping the line ever so slowly. Suddenly the line went taut and he had his fish on. The smile and intense look on his face was worth a thousand words. He brought the fish to hand and while gently holding the perch, expertly disengaged the hook. A look of satisfaction flashed across his face as first he gently released the perch then handed me back the rod with a profound thank you. He said he had to head home as he had promised his wife that he would only go to the store for a loaf of bread and was running late. He offered a warm hand shake and we said our good byes.

As I watched him go back across the bridge, he seemed to walk more upright and with less of a limp. Then I thought to myself, fishing is not just about catching, it is also about sharing, sharing something that only another angler truly understands. My day was complete.

Note: Bill Wofford is a past president of CTFF, and currently wears many hats for the club. He lives in San Marcos with his wife.

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