Friday, August 23, 2013

Going Down in the UP

Note: This is the third post chronicling a trip from June of this year. Check out the previous two installments here and here.

Wednesday morning Alex and I opt to split from the group and run a longer float. Having grown tired of the shuttle circus we put a call into Dee Dee who arranges for a friend to meet us at the take out and run us back to the boat. We’re on the water hours earlier than the previous two days, but it’s a mixed blessing; for the third day in a row it is scorching hot and the humidity is thick. We counter the heat with cold Budweiser and in honor of the forthcoming holiday, we institute a boat rule that for every bald eagle that flies over, we pop a top and toast to America. Back home you'd be hard pressed to catch a buzz playing by these rules. But eagles are hardly endangered in the UP and today they seem to be particularly fond of the midsummer air currents.

By late afternoon the combination of good fishing and happy eagles has me feeling a little cocky on the bow of the boat. After three days of punching big flies into tight places I'm feeling the rhythm and start calling my shots. We drift past another woodpile and I tuck the fly against the leading edge of the log, drift it for a few seconds and come up empty. Dissatisfied, I pick the fly up and angle the next cast back upstream, over the log and into the pocket. It gets crushed the instant it hits the water. Alex, caught off guard by the cast and the take, makes a quick adjustment at the oars and before I know it I am hurdling into the river, sending him into a roar of laughter. I half swim, half wade over to the bank and hand-line the fish over the log, soaked up to my ears and feeling a little less cocky. I should've known that The River would find a way to bring me back down to earth - literally and figuratively. 


I should have known too that what The River giveth, she also taketh away. After a couple more fish to hand, a massive thunderhead that we've been running from all day finally catches up to us. We spend the last hour and a half pushing for the ramp in the driving wind and rain. 

With the boat finally on the trailer we head to the bar one last time to dry out and game plan for tomorrow. We'll drive east and spend a day on trout water, where another set of storms will chase us off the river again, reducing us to tying flies and sipping whiskey in the Big O. We have three days to solve the mystery of the vast Lake Michigan flats with nothing more than a compass reading and a few pre-conceived notions to point us. We're not sure what we need to find, but we're cautiously optimistic that we'll find it.

No comments:

Post a Comment