With my ankle on the mend and a couple of days down on the Kankakee, my recovery seems to be moving along well. I'm up walking, physical therapy has been helping me along and I'm on track for a full recovery. Considering this and some other factors, last Saturday I found myself looking for something to do. Knowing I had the day free and needed to be out of the house, I gave Keith and Jonathan a call to see if they'd be down for helping me get my trout season started.
With a bit of planning and some last second weather watching, we firmed up a location and meeting time. I was ecstatic. Though a month late, I was finally getting to experience Early Season, and I was going to accompanied by two of my best buddies.
Keith met me up early and we hit the road. The three hours it takes to get up there tends go fast when we ride together. With so many common hobbies and interests, and the fact that he's actually my customer through work as well, we don't really struggle finding things to talk about.
We beat Jonathan to the stream and found ourselves with the stretch of water we wanted, open and waiting for us. We hopped out, wadered up and hit the water. It was good to finally be back up in my little slice of heaven.
Unsure of the weather throughout the week, the forecast for the weekend was looking good, almost too good. And though we were by no means upset, we were blessed with a perfectly blue bird, not a cloud in the sky, sun shining down on you, so perfect the fishing is bad, kind of day. It was one of those days where just being here was a victory for me. The number of fish I would, or would not, catch today was irrelevant before we even started.
As we got to fishing and began working our way upstream, we noticed a couple of cars making their way up and down the road, slowing down to check us out. Starting with the shorter of the stretches, Keith and I had planned on fishing the short lower section and then start to fish the main section we were there to fish. We just wanted to kill a bit of time before Jonathan arrived.
Wouldn't you know it, but they pulled over just above us, hopped out with their spinning rods in hand, checked on us again, and walked right down to the water. Now anyone who's knowledgeable to this area would know, based on the location of our car, and our location on the water, we were working our way up and were, for sure, going to be continuing upstream. It's this kind of ignorance that drives me crazy. They slept in, didn't get to the river first, watched us working our way up, and still high holed us. Frustrating isn't the word. Especially considering we had been there for almost two hours before they showed, and Jonathan arrived not more than fifteen minutes behind them.
We played the role of the bigger person and left their tires in tact, but it really makes my blood boil the lack of respect so many people display on the water. Just because you drove there, doesn't mean you can cut in front of someone else who did things right. Luckily Jonathan was able to get a few good casts in and managed a nice little brownie.
Knowing we had limited options, we picked a few other spots and opted for going to a somewhat known stretch of water that's been turned in to a long stretch of slow, stagnant water, thanks to a couple of large beaver dams that do a great job of creating large pools, perfect for a streamer. We worked it quickly, focusing on the best pools and Jonathan and Keith managed to hook up with a couple of brown trout, validating the move and keeping everyone in high spirits.
As we walked back to the truck, laughing and joking about what a great day it had been, I reflected on the last few months and everyone who reached out to offer help, a kind word, or a day on the water and realized just how lucky I am. Though I was fishless for my first trip out, I was ok with it. Healed up, happy and blessed with tremendous family and friends, I was and still am, satisfied that it's not about how many or how big, it's just about the experience and all the fun of the adventure along the way. For it's the adventure and those you allow to accompany you, that make up the stories we replay for years to come.