Brian has finished his first year at UNLV and is awaiting the end of the primary school year before he starts full time as a YMCA summer camp counselor. He’s also scheduled to start summer school in a couple of weeks; he’s trying to get a head start on a five-year engineering degree. So he has just a few weeks to relax before his summer gets busy. And with our Budget Hearing looming next week I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take a day, or more accurately an afternoon, to introduce Brian to the trout at Wayne Kirch.
I got home about noon on Friday after a hectic morning of meetings. Brian was ready, and I had the truck pre-loaded with our equipment for the day-trip. Still, we weren’t on the road until just before 1:00pm. I brought the two rods that were nine foot, five weight, but I also brought along my little seven and a half-foot, four weight (because it’s becoming my favorite small rod for trout) as well as the eight foot, five weight Brian successfully used on Cave Lake. I thought Brian would cast slightly better with the nine-footer because it’s made of more modern materials than the HMG graphite I used in 1981 when I built the eight footer; it has a faster action.
Apparently my hunch was correct. Brian hasn’t practiced casting since our trip last August, and he was frustrated right off the start. Getting the timing down, re-learning the power snap at the end of each cast, and managing the line on his lap were things he needed to re-learn. I encouraged him to keep at it and concentrate on the casting until the timing returned. Repeatedly I reminded him to watch his line in the air on both his back and forward casts, knowing that would help him visualize what his timing was doing with the line. Funny thing was, before we got very far he hooked into the first fish of the day.
We started our fishing with large green wooly buggers with orange hackle and copper wire, but I noticed I got several hits with no hook-ups. Possibly the fly was too large for smaller trout. We changed to hares ear nymphs. The one I gave to Brian was tied by my friend, Mitch Kolber. Amazingly, Brian fished that fly for three hours while catching ten trout and one small bass (after releasing the bass he remarked that it felt like sandpaper and looked funny). In fact, with that one fly Brian out-fished me (I caught ten fish), and even more impressive he landed the biggest of the day, a couple that were fifteen to sixteen inches (my largest barely hit fourteen inches). Pretty good for a guy who has only fly fished twice in his whole life.
Besides the fishing we saw some wildlife like the deer in the twilight along Highway 318 near Hiko, the cottontail rabbit racing across the Kirch dirt road, and the dozens of waterfowl on the reservoir including herons and pelicans. We stopped at the Windmill Ridge Restaurant in Alamo for dinner, making it just in time before their 9:00pm closing. We were the last to leave the restaurant, and Brian noted the punk-rock music played over the speakers was unusual for a sedate, Mormon enclave like Alamo. Upon paying the bill I asked the young man behind the counter if that was their “closing” music, and he smiled and said, “Yeah, but it gets louder after we close up.”
Brian and I enjoyed this getaway, even if it was only a half-day. The good company, good fishing, and respite from our normal routine were God-gifts.