Heads you win. Tails I win.
When a break in the spastically spiking hydrographs corresponded with a day of predicted overcast, highs in the low 60’s, and no thunderstorms on the radar, I set a north-northeast course and took a mid-week day trip to the Upper Delaware system.
So much for the wonderfully dreary weather forecast; blazing sunshine greeted my arrival at a popular Pennslvania access on the West Branch. I pounded a riffle with a Slate Drake parachute. Nada. I nymphed with all the usual suspects. Nyet. I swung a pair of wets. Bupkis. I peeled off a layer under the sunshine, and cursed my blind faith in internet weather reports. Thoughts drifted to how much further I’d fall behind at work as penalty for my midweek folly.
“Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”
Hopeful of a hatch. First a few dorothea sulphurs. Then more. Then a rise. And another. Stay cool, let them get keyed in. There’s a little dink rise 6” off the far bank:
The sky opens up for 10 minutes, then it slackens. Sulphurs now pour off in waves. I stick a fish that could be 20” long. The hook pulls out after a few head shakes, and he grows to 2 feet in my mind. Shaking off the defeat, I move a few yards downstream , where a big rosy cheeked head takes my size 18 cut-wing parachute. It tears downstream, showing me where I marked my line with 5 slash marks from a Sharpie to signify a weight forward 5 weight. The wild rainbow is thick and strong:
I return to my perch on a submerged boulder and promptly tumble down, completing the soaking started by the rain. My camera takes the plunge, ending the photographic record as soon as it starts. More wild browns and rainbows (including 2 larger bows than the one in the photo) take the parachute. They are well fed and unpressured from the spring’s high water.
I continue fishing until prune printed fingers can no longer execute a knot, and deep shivering impacts my ability to gain a safe footing anywhere but flat on my can. Over 3 hours of sulphurs, starting at noon, and still going. Common sense (often lacking when I’m casting to rising trout) returns and I head to the truck for a warm up.
No need to be a hero. “Hey, Oddball, this is your moment of glory. And you're chickening out!”
“To a New Yorker like you, a hero is some type of weird sandwich, not some nut who takes on three Tigers.”