PERCEPTIONS CAN BE REALLY FUNNY THINGS
It was the first day of the Central Washington fish in. My good friend Jeff W and I headed out early in the morning on a quest for bluegills. We spent most of the morning fishing the deeper waters on the west end of Stan Coffin Lake near the reed bundles hoping for some early spring bluegills. The west end gets the early morning sun first so I perceived that it would be the warmest spot on the lake and that would probably be the spot the gills would be at.
For the first two hours we got nothing, not even a look. We didn’t even see any evidence that fish existed in that barren lake. So Jeff cranked up the motor and we trolled the entire periphery of the lake dragging attractor patterns at different depths for at least 2 hours. Still nothing.
By now I was really discouraged. Having turned down breakfast in favor of an early start I was really craving that sandwich I had back in the truck so suggested we go to shore for lunch then maybe go to Rocky ford Creek for some giant rainbows. Jeff readily agreed so we went back to the launch point, loaded the boat back up on the trailer for the trip to Rocky Ford.
While we were sitting on the tailgate eating lunch I noticed a gull of some sort working the edges of the lake. It was really close in right cruising along the shoreline. Every once in a while it would make a false dive then zip back up continuing its search. I pointed it out to Jeff. Both of us watched it as it looked for a meal. Finally we saw it grab a small fish which we took to be a bluegill less than a foot off shore. Heck I said, Jeff the damn fish is right next to the shore. Jeff agreed with me and we decided to once again take the boat back off the trailer and into the water. We finished our meal and with renewed excitement we put the boat back in the lake. This time we concentrated on the couple of feet right next to the shoreline. Bingo! There were bluegills everywhere! We worked the shoreline carefully catching fish after fish. What a fun day! You had to beat them off with a stick.
We finally settled near a really deep hole about 8 to 10 feet across nestled between two evil fly snagging shore bushes that were shading that deep honey hole. There seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of gills in that dark deep spot. Both of us pulled fish after fish out of between the two bushes. We couldn’t believe our luck at finding that spot. We talked about how many fish must be in that hole because between the two of us we had pulled probably 30 fish out of it already. They must have been stacked up down there 10 deep.
We were both trying our darndest to miss those two guardian bushes with our casts so that a snag wouldn’t put an end to our honey hole. Both of us snagged one or the other bush a couple of times but managed to gently tug the line loose so as not to have to row over and scare off every fish in that deep productive hole. I guess it was inevitable one of us was eventually going to hit one of those damn bushes with too big a tangle to tug free. Finally it was me who did the deed. I cursed as my fly wrapped around and around one of those evil branches shading our deep spot. I tried in vain to yank it loose but no luck. We were finally forced to take the boat in close to retrieve that fly. Man we sure as hell didn’t want to ruin that great spot but finally had to admit defeat and row on over to wrest loose the line from its place of entanglement.
Imagine our extreme surprise when we get there only to discover that there was no deep spot at all. The water was only about 6 inches deep from bush to bush. There was not even a slight depression to differentiate this spot from the rest of the shoreline. The darn fish were just cruising by in the warmer waters near the shore on this cool spring day. No stacked fish, no honey hole at all, just a spot along the shore with a bit of shade and cruising bluegills. We got a good laugh out of that. Like I said at the start, Perceptions can be really funny things.