The end of the fishing season is a time I have come to love because I get to go fly fishing with friends. Yes, they are clients and fortunately they are all excellent anglers, but over the years we have become great friends. The best part is that they view the sport of fly fishing the same way I do. All season I feel the pressure of putting as many fish in the boat as possible, serving a top notch lunch, and mainting a clean boat and truck. Clients have come to expect that and I actually thrive on it, it pushes me to be the best guide possible. But it is nice to just relax in the late fall with friends. Throw the dog in the boat, meet late, pick up lunch on the way and simply go fishing. It brings me back to the essence of the sport. Fly fishing is not always about catching them from start to finish. I relish the moments of brilliance, and fall fishing is full of such moments. I had an angler last week who absolutely loves streamer fishing. He will throw junk all day even if other techniques would be more productive. One of those days last week was especially tough streamer fishing. He only landed three all day, but one was a nice brown trout living tight to a bank. He saw the fish chase and eat his bug before coming tight. When we netted that fish he said, “That’s what I live for right there!” And that’s what I live for too, a precious moment in time when everything comes together and you find yourself connected to a wild creature if only for a short time. In the late fall the window of opportunity starts to shrink as the temps drop and the season fades. The hatch may only last a couple hours or a couple runs. You learn to appreciate those opportunities even more because they are limited. When the hatch quits we are all disappointed, but this time of year there is no pressure to try to manufacture fish. We don’t start pounding runs with nymphs or recycling the best water. More often than not we kick back and tell stories, poke around looking for stray risers, and if they don’t show I can start pushing for the take out without a word. The end of the season if for fly fishing with friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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