I definitely feel like I learn something new every time I go fly fishing. Today's lesson: Be ready for that strike when it comes, because it might be your best and only shot at a fish that day.
Another unseasonably warm and pleasant day at the Gunpowder brought plenty of others with the same idea of spending the day on the water. Walking along the bank, about to call it a day, I scanned the water below and found a cluster of three or four very nice sized trout in a deep pool easily accessible from the other side of the river. So I backtracked, crossed over and started fishing the pool with the fly I already had on my line, a brown wooly bugger. Less than a minute later a very healthy trout took the bugger, flashed his side at me and came loose in a matter of seconds. I didn't give it any thought, assuming I'd be able to get him or one of his buddies to bite again. But it was not to happen. Wooly buggers of different colors, small nymphs, huge nymphs, dry flies, terrestrials. I took breaks and let them settle down. I smoked a cigar and just watched for a while. Nothing.
So, I don't know. Maybe my hook needs to be sharpened, those streamers bump off the bottom constantly but I've never owned or used a hook sharpener. At the beginning I lost flies so readily I assumed I'd never use one long enough to get dull. Then after that I just didn't give it any thought, until now. Not that a dull hook is the only reason a fish doesn't get hooked well enough to land, I'm sure I could have done a lot of things differently and even then, a lot of it depends on the fish, his luck and mine. But days like this make me vow to pay better attention whenever I have a fly on the water, and to pay attention to details a little better so if opportunity knocks just once, I have as good a chance as possible to answer.