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Saturday, March 25 2023 @ 04:10 PM EDT

Another Season Begins

Another Season Begins
By: Bill Thompson

   If I did the math right I have written fifth-teen columns with the title “Opening Day” or something very similar. If my luck holds out I might write another fifth-teen. That would put me right around eight-five years old, but it is doable and I fish with a gentleman that has surpassed that landmark by several years. This year, like always, he showed up at the pond to celebrate another opening day. He may have slowed down a little, but his enthusiasm has is the same as if he were a ten year old going fishing with his dad for the first time. He was using a walker this year, but that didn’t stop him from wading; when I spotted him he was waist deep in the pond making a long cast to a rising trout.

    Opening Day is more about meeting old and new friends as it is about the fishing. This was the first time in many years that I was not the first to arrive at the pond. When I did arrive it was first light and two of my old friends were already fishing. They said something about wondering about where I was. I guess if one of us doesn’t show up we start to worry a little. A lot of our mutual friends have passed away over the years so it is not that unusual for someone to not make it; which was why I was pleased to see Andre out there in the water when I drove in the other evening.

    This year we added a new friend to our small cadre. Steve Angers, the new owner of the North Country Angler, came down to fish with me. He may have been the rookie, but he proved his worth and caught a few trout. Good to have some new blood.

    Just as I had predicted the killer fly, at least for me, was the Golden Demon. It was doing just fine until I tried to make a hero cast and lost it on the back cast in a tree. I have been decorating that tree every year for decades. One of these years I am going to remember its location. You would think that by now someone would have invented a fly rod with GPS that would automatically remember hazards and help the angler avoid them.

    I tied on a Pink Lady and resumed catching trout. I had tied the fly last winter and it was a beauty. It had real Jungle Cock eyes and tied off with a nice small teardrop head. The first trout that ate it tore the living day-lights out of it. The eyes were ripped off and it lost two of the wing feathers. Old time fly tiers cared little for small heads and pretty ties; they wanted a fly that worked and held up. The wrecked fly did keep right on catching trout despite the loss of feathers.

    Eventually the cold morning caught up with me. I was dressed for the day, but after a couple of hours of being immersed in near freezing water you do get chilled. I had enough and was willing to set back and take a couple of pictures of my friends catching trout. I had made an effort to take of pictures of my own fish, but I have never had much luck taking selfies with trout. I capped the morning off with a hearty breakfast at Lynnskis in Effingham. And so another successful Opening Day was in the book.

    See you on the river.


by Mountain Angler

Bill Thompson was the former owner of the North Country Angler in North Conway New Hampshire. He still writes this column for the Conway Daily Sun.
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