Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
July 31st, 2000


By Allen R. Crise

Ever try unhooking a trout at 7:30 pm. while sitting in a float boat with a rock wall rising 100 feet above your head to the west. The pine trees are over hanging the opposite bank, blocking out what light that might illuminate the area. Cypress trees are scattered along the up-stream side of the deep dark ripple-free pool. Here and there the feeding trout and be heard taking in night-feeding insects, blurps and splashes to the right and to the left.

Closer, you look, trying to see a reflection of the sky off the rings to the closest target. Casting your dark elk hair fly, trying to 'Zen' the rise and take. Your senses are honed to a sharpness that is both exaltering and draining. Sometimes you find yourself holding your breath so you can stop the movement of your waders. Leaning a little forward maybe cocking your head towards the area where you think you carefully placed your fly, as it is drifting along in unseen currents.

Upstream the startled cry of a great blue heron disrupts the stillness and makes you take a little bigger breath - breaking the spell and reminding you that you are not alone in the darkness. There are other night fishermen. The stillness returns as the wing beats fade and dimmish into the blackness of the surroundings. Above a star or planet appears as a single point of brightness like a pin hole in the blanket of the night. Shadows of night flyers buffing the air overhead could be a forewarning of the darkness' unseen danger.

Moving a little closer to the rock wall of the cliff, that seem to have grown even higher and more imposing so as to over power the slickness of the water's flow. The fly line tightens, you feel the power of the fish as he sends throbs through the rod's grip hoping for a splash to give you a sense of which direction he is headed and maybe the size. (Big splash = big fish) Fighting a trout in the darkness of a flowing stream while sitting in a float tube is something close to conducting an orchestra to a waltz, played on a radio. Sometimes you just get carried away with the moment. The line takes a different tug to the far side. Rising to the strain of your rod's steady pull, not giving up, but losing his battle the trout gets closer until you can net him from the darkness of the liquid surface. You remove the hook in the hard light of the mini-light held in your teeth. " Thank you big fellow, Thank you Lord," I say.

I sense rather than see the movement close to the rocks, as I backcast to reposition the elk hair a little closer for the drift to intercept the big brown. A tremendous SPLASH! that brings the hair up on the back of my neck, like someone is dropping bowling ball size boulders from the cliff above. I looked up, hoping that I could see a silhouette against the night sky for that might be better than having something that big in the water with me. Moving up stream towards the bridge and the take out point, not directly but making sure I can travel the way and the way is clear, because I have to travel backwards in a float boat. I picked out a light above the tree line on a tower, as a land mark directly opposite the direction I would have to travel.

Well maybe it would be a good fight. I again cast toward the rocks. This time the SPLASH! is even louder and bigger. Again I scan the cliff and the surrounding water.

Well I guess it was time to start for home. My heart slows to the steady beat matching the rhythm of my fins, or my feet slow down to something closer to a power stroke. I leave a wake in the night stream's water.

As I pull up to the bridge abutment I am feeling a little foolish that a beaver's tail could spook me so badly, that I stopped fishing. I was fishing the Broken Bow, Beavers Bend State Park, Oklahoma. ~ Allen R. Crise

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