The felt-bottom shoes were gripping the slippery rocks that lined the river as I made my way across to what I deemed the best spot for smallmouth bass. I could hear the great blue herons call out as I spooked them from their feeding spots. The slow, rhythmic sound of the water tumbling through the gates was getting closer, and I even closed my eyes momentarily to imagine a waterfall, making the hydrodam disappear. The landscape was beautiful with the leaves changing to vibrant reds and oranges and the sky an open blue.
The colors reminded me of the desert, a place where I came here to forget. After taking in the moment, I realized my biggest worry was crossing the deep pools without having water leak into my waders; I am barely over five foot. Plus, the river water was cold. With the idea of bone-chilling water ruining my morning, I slowly made my way across the river, picking out each foothold very carefully. After arriving to my spot, I readied my rod for the day’s fishing and hopefully, catching.
The crisp, cool autumn morning was perfect for smallmouth fishing; a break from the chaotic familiarity. It was a weekday so having the river all to myself was a nice addition although the dam operators sounded the alarm constantly, jolting me into fright every time. You would think being in the Army would have dulled my senses to loud noises but the startling sound disrupted my sense of peace; but I was not going to let the inconvenience of an alarm discourage my attempts of finding what I was after.
The flow was perfect for drifting my Senko worm, and with every drift, existed the chance to obtain that initial feeling of excitement. You know, that feeling of a fish nipping at the bait and your rod tip bouncing unnaturally? Well, the first couple of casts produced nothing of those feelings. Not even a nip. And I was okay with that. I knew there were smallmouth in the area; I have caught them before; before when the world was simple and life floated along like the leaves in the water. I knew I could catch them but today was different. Today was about finding that inner peace that true fishermen (and fisherwomen!) obtain by not necessarily catching a fish but the act in doing so. I was happy to have a fishing rod in hand and water surrounding me.