The air temperature had been up to 70 degrees the past couple of days and was in the upper 60's so I went fishing. I knew the water was still cold so, as much as I didn't want to wear waders, I got my waders out and wore them. I hadn't worn them in three years or more.
The wind was howling - and that is not an exaggeration. As it swept through the bare limbed trees it actually howled. Maximum gusts were probably in the 70mph range. Some of the gusts would push me off balance and I'd have to adjust to keep from tumbling away. At minimum gust it was blowing around 20mph. This really wasn't a good day to fish with a fly rod. I didn't let that stop me.
I walked down to the river and put on my waders. One of the reasons I don't like to wear them is putting them on is something of a hassle for an old fat man like me. The waders themselves aren't too bad to get on, but those boots - bending over isn't my strong point, and with those floppy foot parts of the waders it is hard to get the boots on while not breathing.
But I got them on.
I waded out into the river and I could feel how cold the water was through the waders (I had on shorts underneath) and thought "These are a good idea after all" because it was not near as cold as being in the water bare legged would have been. And I was fishing an area where I definitely had to get waist deep.
The wind was coming from the SW, straight up the river channel. It was blowing so hard, and against the current, that it was creating two foot waves with white caps. Water was spraying off the top of the waves making it feel like it was raining all the time.
Other than the waders and boots I was wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. I should have been wearing a scuba diver's wet suit.
When I got crotch deep I discovered that my waders had holes in them. More than one. Within moments my waders were full of that cold water that I had been trying to avoid. I kept fishing.
Eventually I caught one decent carp that gave me a great ten minute battle before I could bring it to hand. By that time I had the shakes, the combination of the cold water, the spray, and the wind had started to get to me. I waded out. Wading out with waders that were full of water up to my crotch was damn interesting. It took me quite a while to get up onto the bank where I could take them off, and pour them out.
But taking off the boots became a real challenge. Not only was bending over and not breathing no better than before, but the waders were also now full of water, further complicating matters. The boots had kept water from filling up the stocking ends of the waders, but as the boot started to come off the water would fill up the stocking foot and cause a jam where the stocking foot was still inside the boot and now full of water too, pushing the wader material up tight against the boot, locking it in so to speak.
By this time I was laughing out loud at myself. This was one of the dumbest places I had put myself in quite a while. Cold, soaking wet, and couldn't get my waders off. Funny as hell.
I finally got them off. I had figured that the wind on my wet bare legs was going to make me even colder. Wrong. The wind was still in the upper 60's and felt pretty good, although I was still cold.
One hot shower, one set of dry sweats, and one hot cup of tea later and I was warmed completely up again. So much so that I had to change into shorts and tank top.
But it was great because I caught a nice fish!
I live on the edge of the Brazos River. I walk out my front door and into the river and - boom - I am fishing just like that. For me the river is fascinating. The mile long stretch I fish is a microcosm of the river, I have it all in that one mile. Trying to figure out where the fish are, what they are doing, why they are doing it, what they are biting, if they are biting - this is what keeps me in the river casting flys.
I fly fish almost exclusively. It isnít that I am a fly fishing snob, itís that fly fishing works Ė itís effective - and it has added benefits. I carry all my tackle in a vest, no tackle box needs to be dragged along. The casting itself is fun, even when I donít catch fish Iíve enjoyed the experience of casting.
Fly rods enhance the experience of bringing fish in. I like the hands on the line feel instead of the feel of line spooling up on a reel and muted down through a gear and crank system. Fish fight better and feel better on a fly rod. Fly fishing just feels better to me than other methods.