Outdone by a small woman smoking a large Lusitania..

So last summer my friend Dave and I are at a resort lake in central British Columbia and instead of getting away from it all we found ourselves in the middle of the largest gathering of fly-fishers that ever hit a pond on a long week-end.   I’ll tell you how it all started to go so very wrong.

The idea seemed to make sense mid-week in the city when I picked up the phone and heard my friend and neighbour, Dave, say the magic word.  Sedges!  Thats all it took, a simple single syllable word that can make the heart of any sane angler pound out of control.  These insects got their name from the sedge grass that an adult caddis fly often cling to at the edge of a lake.  After they complete their pupa stage they swim to the top of the water, dry their wings and then almost run along the water’s surface in a very erratic motion as they try to fly away.  Trout are crazy about these sizable snacks and swim up from the depths to eat as many as they can with swirls, splashes and sounds that can be deafening when all else is calm on a quiet day out on the water.  Needless to say Dave didn’t have to spend much time talking me into leaving town since the forecast was perfect, it WAS a long week-end after all and… well….. Sedges were coming off!  I started tying flies before I hung up the phone.

Two days later we drove the usual 5 hours to his cabin and along the way we couldn’t stop talking about the elk hair, deer hair and new foam sedges we had tied.  We talked about the sedges we had that we could either fish with wet lines, the sedges we could fish with dry lines and before we knew it we pulled up to his cabin on the water’s edge only to find more motor-homes, SUV’s, campers, VW Bugs, sports cars and pick-up trucks than we had ever seen all parked in the public campground that runs along the side of Dave’s property.  It didn’t look like a quiet little lake at all, it was more like the parking lot at an outdoor country music festival.  Looking out on to the water we saw boats of all sizes and shapes and colors but didn’t see a lot of fish being caught.  We saw a lot of false casting going on and two guys about 60 yards off shore were whipping the water with dry lines into a nice froth all around their boat but what made our hearts jump was the sight of fish rising  about 80 or so yards away from them.  That was it!!!!!!!  Here we go!!!!

We put in at the boat launch by the campground and tied the boat to Dave’s dock.  He was getting the electric motor ready while I ran into the cabin to get the beer and the cigars.  By the time we got out to the little piece of real estate on the water where all the fish were jumping another boat with a single, very small brunette was dropping her anchor right where we wanted to fish.  No matter, she was no threat to us and so  we pulled around her and anchored a very respectable distance away.  I noticed that she was getting into fish right away and so I hurried to get my 2 piece 5 weight Sage together and then tied on a nice little tan colored sedge on a size 12 barbless Tiemco hook.  At that point in time the anticipation and sense of panic settles down a bit because all of the waiting is over, the rod is set up, the beer is in the cooler and everything in the boat is neat and orderly.  Its time to start catching fish.

About half an hour goes by and Dave caught a pretty little 2 pound rainbow after casting into the rings left by a previous take but we let it go because it was 1 in the afternoon and there were a lot of hours left in the day to fish for the big ones.  I still hadn’t caught anything and so I thought that I’d take a bit of a pause and light up a little gem I had discovered the week before at Vancouver Cigar.  I’m a lover of big cigars but since we were in a boat with the possibility of a lot of fish action and splashing water on our horizon, I thought it would be an excellent time to introduce Romeo & Julieta puritos to Dave.  I was telling him about the complexity and wonderful taste of these little 4 1/2 inch Cubans and as he gladly snatched one out of my hand we heard yet another fish being hooked into by our neighbor.   Now this isn’t right, she’s shorter than we are and she’s out-fishing us!!  The drinking began.

Two more hours go by, Dave is loaded and I’m skunked.  The hatch has died down and the thought of steaks on the grill didn’t seem like such a bad idea so we headed for shore.  After a fine dinner and a bit of a snooze we watched a few old UFC tapes that Dave had kicking around the cabin, did I mention that Dave is a bit of a redneck and he loves to watch men beating up other men?  Before calling it a night we thought we’d go outside for one more Purito and a final glass of Scotch.  As we stepped out the door we saw someone kneeling down on his dock and shining a flashlight into the water.  Fly fishermen often check out the bug life in lakes at night with flashlights and it can be fascinating to see all the fresh water shrimp, leeches, water boatmen, dragonflies and pretty much anything swim around uninhibited in the dark water. Dave often sees people from the campground  walk over and use his dock from time to time and so seeing this nocturnal entomologist didn’t phase him.  We walked down to the end of the dock and couldn’t believe it when we saw the short brunette stand up, turn around with a flashlight in one hand and what looked to be a cigar bigger than she was in the other.  I was pretty much speechless and all Dave could say as he looked at her flashlight was, ” Wadda ya got there?”  She looked at us, took a puff and said, ” A Lusitania.”  As she walked off the dock and headed over to the campground all I could do was think about the injustice of it all.  She was shorter than us, she out-fished us AND her cigar was bigger than ours.  We silently walked back to the cabin and opened up another bottle of Scotch.