Kelly lured me into assisting her by promising that we could go fishing nearby after we finished with our work. Her field site is about a two hour drive from home, and I knew there wouldn't be much time left for fishing if we tried to fish anywhere else. What neither of us knew at that time was that the river nearest to Kelly's research site is a typical southern lowland river- muddy water... a catfish ditch. Not a place where a fly fisherman would have much fun or success.
So, after seeing the catfish ditch, we decided to head back toward home and familiar, fly fisher friendly, water.
We arrived at the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge with approximately ten minutes of daylight left.
At least we had the river to ourselves.
We rigged our rods in record time, put on our wading boots, and we were in the water. The clock was ticking.
We quickly waded to some promising looking water, and I caught one Alabama Spotted Bass (Micropterus henshalli) while sight casting my "Stealth Bomber" to a Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus). The gar showed no serious interest, but I was quite content with my one pound consolation prize.
Kelly caught one fish too.
|Fish don't care if you wear your field work/painting tee shirt.|
Hers just happened to be about twice the size of mine.
The funniest part of this story is that we have returned to the same section of the Cahaba twice since the "ten minute fishing trip" and neither of those follow-up trips produced anything worth reporting. Three days after the "ten minute trip" we took off work a few hours early and wade fished again for about two hours... Kelly caught one Green Sunfish while I spooked a bunch of carp and missed one small bass. One week after the "ten minute trip" we returned with kayaks and wasted another two hours floating around pestering undersized sunfish with oversized poppers... I think Kelly may have landed one Bluegill.
In ten magical minutes we caught more bass than we did during two trips and four hours worth of fishing from kayaks and wading.
The fishing gods obviously don't bestow their gifts based on effort.
You just need to be in the right place at the right time.