Caught my first two smallmouth bass of this year while fly casting for trout with a Muddler Minnow streamer. That's what I tied on at home, and with light fading, I wasn't going to change to a dry fly, even though I witnessed splash rises and perhaps could have caught more trout.
I arrived at one of the two rivers that run through Bedminster, looking for any sulfurs hatching, seeing none, and practicing pretty hard at my casting, but too many times the tippet and leader tangled, which just means I have to learn how to avoid that yet. This evening, I had no insight, none as yet, into how keep the monofilament straight, but the casting is getting a lot more assured quickly.
Just a wonderful close on the day, when after sunset I felt everything let go for a few seconds and while wading upriver, remembered riding my 10-speed bicycle six miles from Lawrence to Princeton, toting my fly rod as a 12-year-old. And I thought about that for a moment, which brought the experience now 43-years-old into immediate resolution.
Why did fly fishing Stony Brook make such a difference over fishing for suckers and bullheads in Little Shabakunk Creek down the street from where I lived? An answer came easily. It's not just about "nature." If it were, any place would be as good as any other. I believe we are motivated, genetically, to acquire new territory not just as an echo of paleolithic fishing, hunting, and berry-picking urges, but ultimately for personal reasons, and I believe the acquisition of aesthetic value in places--not just for nature sake but involving personal responses that include whatever a (unique) individual brings to new places--moved paleolithic people essentially just the same as today. I think the whole notion of motive primarily as "practical," which means food-getting, is a falsehood that has confused civilization for centuries.
All of my fish quickly released this evening, no photos show their pretty colors and bronze hues. Three trout came to my hand, and also a red-breasted sunfish, despite those denizens of the delusional philosopher Plato, from whom so many lies remain with us today. "Men of bronze" he named people who struggle as the workers of today. Let's just call smallmouths bronzebacks.