May 5th, 2008

Opening Day '08
By James Castwell

Once again the time has come when I can no longer deny that the fishing season is almost here, for us at least. No longer can I put off deciding what gear I should get ready for our first trip of the '08 season. The annual 'Fish-In' at Ephrata, Washington. The tiny berg in the high center of our state is for us, our 'opening day' and with it comes the warm and fuzzy mix of emotions all fly fishers are blessed with. How to take the necessary gear. By that I mean, not to take too much and not to leave anything really important out.

That makes me nervous. As you may figure, we are expected to have just the right stuff and never make any mistakes. Ya, right. Perfect casts, always the correct rod, reel, line, leader, tippet and fly. And not lose fish either. Fun. Well, really, it is fun. We are blessed to have a great assortment of fly fishing gear and plenty of friends who take pity on us occasionally with the loan of a fly or two. I have started to make my little piles of reel and rods on one end of the davenport (living room of course) (remember, I am married to the LadyFisher!) (I can get away with that).A

The actual fishing will take place on a spring creek south of town which starts at a hatchery and below their fence anyone can fish. Free. But it is catch and release of course. The little stream wanders along the bottom of a wide desert type valley creating a series of runs and pools. Very little drop to any of it so there is no white water or riffles of any kind.

The rainbow will take almost anything that resembles food. There are a lot of scud-type bugs crawling about on the weeds and a nice pale morning dun hatch almost daily. Casting can be anything from practically dapping from a stream bank to long and delicate dry fly presentations. Best fishing is like anywhere else, mornings and evenings. During the mid part of the day, about ten o'clock really, the breeze picks up and can make putting a fly where you want it a bit of a contest.

Because of the conditions like that we both use very fast graphite five weight rods. Not the greatest choice when you have a big trout flopping on a 5X or 6X leader but it works for us. Times like that a nice soft rod would be fun, but it takes the fast rods to get the line out there. Often, on the pond sections, I have laid forty or fifty feet of line tipped with a size 18 dry. That's a long way for a dry-fly cast; when you see it get sipped in, you really need to pay attention.

Another element enters our venture, the arrival of the new bamboo fly rod for the LadyFisher. It's been a long time in the works and I have been informed (Ron Kusse called me) that the rod will ship on Monday to be delivered Wednesday. This is a very special five weight, a quad (square, four strips) rod; very smooth and powerful. She has been waiting for this for a few years now and will make the first casts of it on the upper main pond at Rocky Ford. A couple of years ago she was awarded a special commemorative fly reel by Hardy and I bit-the-bullet and bought her a brand new silk line for the combination. Ron Kusse is a close friend and he went the extra mile on the rod; she is thrilled and honored to have it.

So much for 'opening day jitters,' on now on to the packing and more piles of gear. We both look forward to seeing old friends again and hopefully making new ones. It's been a long tough winter, both time wise and health wise. We need to get out and make some new memories. See you in two weeks, unless you can join us at the 'Central Washington Fish-In.' ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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