Editor’s Log: A Dark Cloud - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: A Dark Cloud

Around mid-October I realized that I needed a Canal photo and so I thought maybe I could go there and get one. With a good tide showing on the chart for Tuesday morning I called a friend and we made plans to meet there the following morning. Later that evening, I went out to the garage to make sure my Canal bag was in order; I wanted to check for rusty hooks, check to make sure nothing was missing, and also to make sure I had plenty of size diversity because the Canal isn’t all about mackerel in the fall like it is during the summer months.

I was mostly happy with what I saw, but I felt like I needed another Super Strike Popper, I had an old white/red head one still in the package from at least 15 years ago, back when they used to come with Mustad hooks. I ripped it out of the bag, cut the hooks off and rigged it the way I like them, a cut 3/0 VMC on the belly and a flag on the rear. The issue was, my fly-tying stuff was in storage thanks to an ongoing renovation in my garage. So I dug through my dressed siwash hooks and found a white one. This one was tied on a 6/0 VMC hook, I grabbed my hook-cutting pliers and squeezed with all my might…after some struggling, it cut the hook, violently, but the pliers also slipped and bit me on the little finger, a large and swollen blood blister blossomed like a time-lapse video of a mushroom forming on a rotten log. I swore.

The throbbing finger didn’t make putting my bike rack on the truck any easier, but neither did the fact that a steady rain began to fall as soon as I lugged out it out of the basement! I managed to secure the rack and my bike without any further injury and went inside, soaked.

When the alarm jolted me awake, the first thing I did was open my weather app, it promised an 11% chance of rain, I was glad that the surprise soaker from the night before was just an anomaly. I got dressed, wolfed down a quick breakfast and hopped in the truck. The sky was clear with wispy clouds and dotted with stars, I had hoped for clouds, but I’d have to play whatever hand I was dealt.

As I sped down 195, the cloud cover I was hoping for began to materialize, and before I knew it, I was driving through a heavy mist that forced me to flip the wipers on. As I pulled into the Herring Run lot, my friend was already there. He had not brought any kind of rain gear, lucky for me I had planned to wear waders and I had my SaltX Splash Top in my backseat from a previous trip. As we rode our bikes out of the lot, the mist stopped and we had perfect cloud cover overhead.

The Canal was deserted, which is never a good sign. We stopped in several good spots and tried various methods to no avail. Then we decided to ride back in the opposite direction (west) until we could see down to the Railroad Bridge and agreed that, if we saw nothing, we’d leave. As we rounded the bend across from the Radar Tower, we saw a few fish breaking. Then another wave behind them. None of these fish looked to be terribly large, but a few breaks looked like teen-sized fish. All of the breaks were on the other side though.

We set up and started casting as far as we could, hoping to coax a fish out of the outer edge of the school. It was around this time that it started to sprinkle. Five, maybe ten minutes later, the gentle precipitation had intensified into a steady rain and neither of us had even earned a strike. Another ten minutes passed and the rain was now what I would call a hard rain. When we looked west there was blue sky, and when we looked east, the banks of the Canal were bathed in the light of the rising sun! The streamer of heavy rain persisted overhead.

I called over to my friend, “Can you believe this?! Clear skies east and west of us and we’re getting hammered by rain!”

He laughed and said, “It’s like our own little ‘insult to injury’ cloud!”

We left shortly thereafter without a fish, or a photo taken, between us. Sometimes the universe tries to tell us that a fishing trip is doomed from the start, but we very seldom listen.

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