Patience. It’s an acquired taste. For some of us (me…), that acquisition can span decades. I had heard it said that hardship fosters patience, patience breeds character, and that character produces hope. Paul, in Galatians 5:22, says that patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and I suspect that my later-life rebirth explains that missing fruit in my younger years.
It had been 139 days since I was last fishing, and even that wasn’t a “pleasure” trip but rather a photo shoot for Southwest Fly Fishing. My patience was being measured by a 4½ month hiatus. So you can understand why I returned to Dacey Reservoir for one final trip (maybe…) before the December ice-over.
If you follow this blog or know me personally, you are aware that while I appreciate all types of fishing, fly fishing is what I know best and is my sole form of angling at this stage of my life. Today’s fly tackle and techniques allow anglers to fish for all sorts of species in warm, cold, brackish, or salt water. I have friends that have caught shark, tarpon, sailfish, and redfish on the fly. I know others who have caught striper both in the surf and in freshwater lakes. Today, even carp (what I mistakenly referred to as “suckers” in my youth) is fine sport on a fly rod. But my attention has always been drawn to the streams and lakes of the eastern woods and the western mountains.
The family Salmonidae is awe inspiring for most fly anglers with its subfamilies of salmon, trout, chars, freshwater whitefishes, and graylings. I my opinion, trout, in all their forms, are the most beautiful of freshwater game fish. And, in my opinion, they live in the most attractive environs that stir my heart. Of course, the fact that they will take a fly voraciously is indeed an incentive all on its own.
I was the first to arrive at the reservoir, and the weather was great. It was calm, wind around 5 miles per hour. I launched the Outlaw Escape and within 20 minutes I was into a small black bass (i.e., largemouth). Throughout my six hours fishing I landed 5 each of trout and bass. Three of the bass were 12 to 16 inches. All of the trout were small, recently stocked for the spring season. The bass were a surprise given the mid-fall season, although the daytime temperatures were still reaching the 70s. And maybe the cooler temps were the reason the bass did not jump, not even once. The three larger ones were strong fighters, don’t get me wrong. But there’s nothing quite like hooking a 20-inch rainbow that will leap three feet out of the water four or five times and make runs stripping line off your Galvin reel. Of the dozens of bass I’ve caught at Kirch over the years (albeit during the trout seasons of spring and fall) I really don’t recall any leaping to any memorable degree.
So, all that to say while my time fishing was a wonderful getaway that soothed my soul, it was not quite what I expected or was wishing for. I am frequently surprised how life throws curves when you are expecting fastballs, and vice versa. When these “switcheroos” occur I am reminded of the patience described in the Bible. I don’t like being patient and waiting, but I have learned through the years that being patient and waiting upon the Lord when things don’t go my way usually produces better results: the results God was looking for, not those I desired. So, let me leave you with Romans 5, verses 2 through 5, that describe a patience empowered by the Holy Spirit to endure and grow from our sufferings; in God’s words the truth is that patience breeds hope:
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (English Standard Version)