No fanfare, no special event or announcement. The last outing of the year has always been that. I stirred out bed and had the same - bacon and eggs with a mug of coffee for the road. I walked out into the dark and got in the Jeep. The musty smell of wet waders and boots was a constant reminder that I must clean it after the season. In a odd way, I'll miss that smell. I rarely every get a good night sleep before an outing, it been like that for years. I stumble if I'm still feeling the effects of bar hopping in Tremont or the Warehouse district. The strong mug of coffee and the Tragically Hip keep me on the straight and narrow. I start to feel energized.
It was first light when I walked the along river. The last high water was a distant memory as the river struggled to flow. A kingfisher darted across the river chattering as it flew above the water. The robins were in full chorus as they ushered in the morning. The majority of maples and box elders were in full color. All signs that the season is winding down. Some of the fish are long gone, while others didn't want to leave the comforts of the river patiently waiting for the rains to gradually push them back into the lake.
Even though the river was very low, there was enough flow that I could see where the pockets of deep water. Some where in those pockets were the last remaining fish. I touched the water and I feel it was much cooler. By now it was light enough that I could see the river was slightly tannic but I could make out rocks and other structures.
I started to work the pool, casting into the bubble lines. Downstream I heard a fish smack the surface. After 20 minutes I had no takers. I continued to methodical work the water and made slight adjustments to the shots. There was no speed fishing today - not on the last trip. Even though I was fishing the urban stretches, it felt so surreal and quiet. I watched the float slowly move along the bubble line and it started to tap slowly. There and then I knew it was a fish slowly taking the sac and I promptly set the hook. The fish took with a surge and broke the surface. A loud slap and a hard turn upstream. I gingerly applied pressure to the reel being mindful that I using 6 pound tippet. I could see a large hen come to the surface. A truly beautiful fish without a blemish on her body
I found a pod of fish that were in playful mood, aggressively hitting both sacs and gulp minnows with recklessly abandon. I started to feel that I didn't want the season to come to an end. I was having too much fun, but I eventually it would to come to an end. The wind started to gust as the day progressed as did the heat. By early afternoon, it was 70F and the wind made it feel hotter.
It wasn't the cold that chased me off, it was the heat. I had my fill and when I changed out my gear I pulled out a cold bottle of Great Lakes Dortmunder and quenched my thirst. I sat on the back of the Jeep reflecting the past season. It was a hell of a lot better than the last. But soon enough it will be time to chase carp and maybe spend a couple times on the big pond perching. That will make the summer go a little faster.