After recently moving into the new home on
Lake Angela, I've been witness to some pretty
interesting sights and sounds. These sights
and sounds aren't new to me, just constant. I'm
simply around them more. I can now sit and observe
things that I used to just notice while I was fishing.
I can watch the herons stalk, the ospreys teach their
young to hunt high above the lake and listen to the
sounds of a million frogs sing in their strange
harmony at nightfall.
I walked down to the edge of the lake the other day,
fly rod in hand, and much to my delight, six baby
mallards stood there looking up at me. Now, I've
never had ducks, except with cornbread stuffing,
but these guys were different. They are maybe six
or seven months old, perhaps younger. They have all
of their feathers and have full flight. But I can't
tell if they are drakes or are hens, all are the same
I stood there for a while watching them as they
watched me, and it seemed as if they had a
questioning look in their eyes. I'm not sure
what questions. Maybe, what's for breakfast? Or,
who are you? Or, are you our daddy or mommy? I
did have on some yellowish colored wading boots.
They had no fear, so I gathered they were pretty
tame, or just too young to care. I spoke to them
as if they were human and they shook their tails
and softly answered back in quiet, quacking sounds.
I noticed the fish had begun to smack the surface
and I realized I was spending way too much time
with these juvenile mallards. So, off I went
stripping line from my reel, looking out into
the grass beds for bluegill; baby ducks in tow.
I would stop, they would stop. I would wade on;
they paddled along at a safe distance, staying
closer to the bank.
I ended up five hundred feet, or so, east of our
backyard in waste-deep water enjoying a few smacks
at the fly, yes, still talking to these darned
ducks, and when I spoke, they seemed to stop what
they were doing and look at me. A couple of them
even began to chase each other and at one point
I yelled, "Hey!", and they settled right down,
just like my grandkids, I thought. One of the
funniest things I've seen them do is go butt-up
in the water, all at the same time. I guess they're
chasing crawfish, or bugs, or something.
I've also noticed they ain't stupid! They have
watched me cast, many times. They stay clear and
never swim out in front of me and chase the fly
as I thought they would. I've even started to
watch my back-cast more times than not, so that
I don't hook one of the little guys.
When darkness begins to replace the sunset, all
seven of us head back to the house; the mallards
following close behind, and whisper-quacking. As
I close the wooden gate from the backyard to the
lake; if it's not too dark, they all begin to quack
loudly and fly off somewhere across to the other
side. I turn and watch them; smile and wave, and
they will wait 'til morning for me to take them
fly-fishing, again. ~ Flats Dude