Yesterday it rained while we fished in the river. It was one of those slow rains, somewhere just north of a sprinkle but just south of a light shower. It varied off and on of course, but it never grew heavy, although it did stop for a few minutes once in a while. The kind where you get a little bit wet and then the rain slows and the heat of your body dries you off again, then you get a bit wet...
We didn't have a real scorcher of a summer, not like Texas often and generously provides, but it's been warm enough that a day that topped out at 75 degrees felt almost cold. For one in our party it did feel cold and he wore a jacket. From the hot sun blazing days to an overcast rainy cool day - that's quite the contrast - a very nice contrast.
The wind was light at most and generally not present at all. When there was a breeze, it was from the north and slight. This norther apparently shut the fish down for the most part. Fishing was productive, but slower than it was two weeks ago in the same area - by an order of magnitude. Still, we caught plenty of fish.
It was one of those days when I truly didn't care if I caught anything or not. The pleasure of being out in that weather and scenery with good friends, and doing something I love to do, was more than enough. Far more than enough.
As far up and down the river as they eye could see it was green trees, soft light, light rain, cool weather, no sign of humans. And even though the fish weren't biting much the carp were having a great time jumping out of the water. Some of them sounding like a bowling ball had been dropped from a helicopter. From a distance I saw a nutria/beaver/otter (not sure which) ease into the water from the bank. Feral hog prints were abundant and fresh in the mud of the banks, as were deer tracks. Some were so fresh that it was easy to read that they'd only just left as we hove into sight.
The smell of the air was that freshly wetted earth smell after a long dry spell. Everything has been dusty for months, dry powdery dust that blows up in the lightest of breezes - and the rain, the slow gentle rain, had gotten it wet but not saturated. The earth gave off that glorious smell it gives us when that happens. Mixed with the smell of the river it was a perfume that I never stopped enjoying all day.
The light rain dampened sound. The usual bird and squirrel sounds were gone. No rustling of leaves from the trees. Even the rain landing on the river was silent. The only sounds were the jumping carp and the occasional talk among us, or the rustling of water as we waded.
It was an outstanding day to be outside. Lunch was Vienna sausage with Louisiana Hot Sauce generously applied, saltine crackers, and ice cold beer. Eaten with fingers washed in the river after handling several fish, there was that added bit of extra flavor. This was a lunch fit for a king - and yet when I try to eat the same at home it rates a half notch above dog food. There's something about fresh air and exercise that makes the most humble lunch into a wonderfully noble serving.
There were three of us, three men that get along in the way that men get along. There were the occasional teasing jabs at each other (always taken on the chin with a laugh, no cry babies here), the corny old jokes that we've all heard before but laughed hard at anyway - just because. The low tones of conversation about things of no supreme importance (sharing baits and technique tips, talk of gun calibers, talk of past fish caught) a total lack of politics or religion, BBQ and Chili recipes that we like to fix. One of the three of us is younger and is raising children, one of his children is an infant - the other two are much older and both of us have grand kids - it was fun remembering the raising of young children by listening to his stories. Our advice was freely and happily given, and hopefully (and I'm sure) quite ignored.
Between the three of us we caught a 12 pound and 4 pound channel cat (my dinner tonight), ten or so bass with two of them in the 4 to 5 pound range and two of them in the small trout size range, and ten or so big old bluegills - hubcap size and style, on a fly rod. So while it was a slow day, it was still quite a bit productive.
I love days like yesterday. They come maybe once or twice a year. We were out about 10 hours all told. Just a great day all around. I wish many such days for you.