Parker Heinlein

Parker Heinlein

I thought I was done with fishing for the year.

My focus had been on hunting since Sept. 1, when upland bird season opened. But early last week, after a morning chasing sharptails with my friend Dallas, and a forecast high of 75 for the afternoon, one final fishing trip sounded like a great idea.

We changed out of our hunting clothes, gathered up the fishing tackle, and loaded the kayaks in the back of the truck. It was a 45-minute drive to the bass pond and we watched the wind pick up along the way.

By the time we got there a steady breeze was blowing out of the west, waves splashing against the shore.

The pond was in late season shape — lower than the last time I fished there with thick mats of weed on the surface making navigating the ‘yaks difficult. Suspended bits of stirred-up algae in the open water caught the afternoon sun like flakes in a snow globe.

There wasn’t a bug in the air or on the water. Nothing was rising but the wind. The kayak was hard to handle, let alone the fly rod. When the boat was turned just right, I could fire a cast 50 feet on a string, but when it turned cattywhompus, the fly line would drop around me like a net and I’d have to duck out of the way or get whapped in the back of the head with the bead-head wooly bugger.

I worked the shoreline best I could without a bite. Just about the time I was thinking this was an exercise in futility, my line went taught. I raised the rod and leaned back, sure I was into a weed mat when the line began to cut through the surface. Moving the kayak away from the shore into deeper water I whooped and hollered as I played the fish, happy to have a bow in my rod once again.

We fought the wind for another hour, and I picked up a couple more fish, both football-shaped bass, that I put in the cooler. We feasted on them, fried in garlic and butter, when we got back to the house.

It had been over a month since I’d last eaten fresh fish. It will probably be a while before I do so again. Snow and freezing temperatures have dampened my enthusiasm

For the second time this year, I’m done with fishing.

Parker Heinlein is at