While recently doing a bit of house cleaning, I stumbled on several “drafts” in the backroom of the Unaccomplished Angler: previously written but unpublished pieces of Weekly Drivel® that, for some reason, never made it past the cutting room floor. Many of the pieces I have no recollection of ever having written, but as I sifted through the collection of second rate musings it all came back to me: there was a good reason these had never been published. I’ll be posting a few of these to fill space until I have good reason for offering better content.
From October 2013:
I almost felt guilty taking day off of work to go fishing on such a nice day. For all *intensive purposes looked to be one of those days with nearly every ingredient needed for perfection:
• A beautiful—nay, gorgeous—Fall day on the Yakima River, with a high of 62 under cloudless skies and no w#nd.
• Prospects were high for good catching. Recent reports suggested that westslope cutthroats and rainbows were willing to eat October Caddis dries, and in fact just a week and a half earlier I’d enjoyed a rather decent day of said catching.
• I had good company in the form of my buddy Derek Young of Emerging Rivers Guide Services, and the older brother of the UA—a patient man by the name of Hal.
Indeed, all the ducks were in a row for a fine day of angling.
As the day progressed the only missing ingredient was fish, or at least respectable fish. Nobody ever knows what gets into the fish from one day to the next and I’m dumbfounded as to why they weren’t playing nicely (other than that’s just very often how it works out for me on the Yakima River). As you’ve heard me say before, the fish of the Yakima are a finicky lot. Weather-wise this day wasn’t all that much different from days prior, except for being perhaps a bit warmer. But it seems any change in the weather puts the Yakima trouts into an antisocial mood, even when the change is for the better. The results was that scant few fish entertained our offerings, only one making it to hand all day: an overachieving 3-inch trout tot. The only event worth writing home about came mid-afternoon…
A few Bald-Faced Hornets had been buzzing the cockpit of Derek’s boat, interested in either the cheese-fill pepperoni sticks from Owen’s Meats in Cle Elum, or the Professional Boater’s Refreshments. These black and white Apache Helicopters of the insect world are neither welcome, nor pleasant, any time of the year, and with the onset of cold Fall nights their dispositions had grown even less savory. We managed to avoid a full-on assault as Derek expertly swatted a couple away (guide skillz). Still, their mere presence puts a person on edge—especially in a boat where there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
Then something landed on the back of my neck and proceeded to crawl down my shirt. I braced myself, fully expecting to feel the excruciating sting of a hornet as it injected its venom between my shoulder blades. After a few moments had passed, and I found myself still alive, I relaxed—just a bit. Simply because it hadn’t decided to bore into me didn’t mean I was out of the woods yet. Convinced there was a winged devil crawling around inside my clothing, somehow I resisted the urge to panic completely. I could feel it crawling lower, but because I’d not yet been stung I confidently assumed it wasn’t a hornet after all. I wasn’t about to strip down to remove whatever it was, so I worked through the heebee-jeebeez and eventually forgot about it. I continued to not catch fish the remainder of the day.
When I got home that night and stripped down for a shower, something fell out of my pants that caught my attention: Dicosmoecus rigormorti—a fully dead October Caddis.
Poor little bastard must have suffered a horrible demise.
* “for all intensive purposes” is one of my grammatical pet-peeves. Let the record reflect that the expression is “for all intents and purposes”