For the first time in a while, I got to fish with my Dad. It has been awhile since we’ve been able to go together. Life sometimes seems to get in the way. Or maybe we let it get in the way.
We met up at my house and went about an hour away to the Sipsey Fork River. It is a classic tailrace river that is a put and take fishery but considering we live in the deep south, it’s a rare thing to fish clear water that is about 58 degrees and much less for rainbow trout. The next closest trout fisheries are at least several hours away.
We pulled up to the parking lot and started putting our gear on and rigging our rods. My dad is a former green beret and commented that getting waders, vest, and other gear on reminded him of getting ready to get in a helicopter. It made me laugh because luckily on this trip nothing was going to shoot at us.
After walking the half of a mile down to the river the true fun began. The river wasn’t crowded thankfully and the water was flowing well with perfect weather. Being that my dad had never been to this river, I pointed out the spots that I had taken some nice trout from. Not that he necessarily believed me, I have a tendency to maybe stretch the truth about where I caught fish and what fly I was using. He had good reason to be suspicious. One freezing January day years ago my Dad, Uncle and I were fishing the Tennessee River. As my uncle and I landed one stripper after another with a pink marabou fly, of course we gave him a green one, dad landing nothing. Dad kept asking what fly we where using and we continued to be a bit vague about what we had on. He finally it figured out. I still chuckle at that, so now its a running joke that you can never trust me once I get on the water.
We both rigged to fish midge larva since there didn’t seem to be any hatches coming off, besides, this river is a midges paradise. As we fishing our way up the river we stopping to talk to each other about fish we had spotted, the flies we had tried and the mountains around us. As time went on more fisherman arrived and we gladly shared pools and talked about things we might try to get a fish on. To this point nothing had produced a fish, a few takes, but nothing else. Later in the day, Dad and I were fishing a long pool together when a boat came floating down with a team of scientist that monitor the trout in the river with radio tags. As she stood in the front of the boat with her antenna waving around I simple asked if she could just point out where the biggest trout where that would be nice. Of course she jokingly said that was cheating. I’d prefer to think of it as a prudent use of technology.
We had just had two weeks of heavy rain and high water and all the fishing seemed to be holding higher in the river than we got to that day. At least thats my excuse for why I failed to land a fish.
As the sun started to slide behind a ridge to the West I was fishing a pool and my dad has moved up to fish the run into that pool. As I stood there, the sun streamed over the mountain at just the right angle that cast the river in a shadow but lit him up in rays of gold. I stopped fishing and just watched him, the master in action. He finally paused and sat on a boulder and just watched the river. I wondered what he was thinking but didn’t want to intruded on his thoughts. There was no need to anyway, I know we where thinking the same thing, even though we didn’t land any fish that day, it doesn’t get any better than this.
One of many trips to come.
So if you get a chance to fish with your dad or a good friend, don’t pass it up, a river is more enjoyable when you share it with someone.