The last few days of our Maine trip are hard to explain. As Jamie and I ate our dinner on the last night, our bodies tired and our minds spent, we decided that it would be very difficult to articulate what we had experienced.
On one day, we fished from a boat and had to work very hard to catch fish. Fortunately, Jamie landed some beautiful ones, including a 20″ buck brookie, which I will leave up to him if and when to post about such a specimen. It was the most stunning brook trout I’ve ever seen. Jamie threw a streamer-and-nymph tandem rig most of the time. I landed a very good-sized salmon that leapt a few times. It wasn’t that productive though to throw bobbers or tightline. Next time, I will bring my seven weight. We decompressed at night with pasta Bolognese and whiskey.
The next day, we fished for nine hours like madmen, running into brookies, fallfish, and salmon while throwing nymphs and dries. I finally had my first drink of water at 4 pm and we fished from morning until dusk before a long car drive home while feeling hunger and intense dehydration.
The highlights for me was another beautiful salmon, which shot out of the net before I could snap a photo, as well as a bubbly stretch of water at which I found over a dozen smallish brookies and salmon willing to take dries. Oh, and the scenery. It was just breathtaking in an overwhelming way: huge bodies of water, eagles, osprey, stunning fish, and powerful rivers.
This was hard fishing. Many people think fly fishing is relaxing. It can be. But in Maine, it is physically challenging and mentally taxing: the wading is treacherous, the black flies can be ferocious, and your mind is working all of the time in overdrive as it tries to unlock the puzzle of locating fish and then trying to dupe them. You’ve driven so far to these waters, and you’re just trying to justify the time, cost, and miles. At night, your body wants to recover and your mind wants to rest.
Jamie aptly characterized Maine fishing like a dysfunctional relationship: you miss her when you’re away, but you wonder what the heck you’re doing when you are with her, as it is so challenging.
By the end of another intense blog team trip, I was feeling grateful for the fish we did see and dreading the return to the real world, though I was looking forward to seeing my family again. My solution was to plan quickly the next trip for brook trout. Jamie and I are already talking about dates for Maine 2023. And, I keep dreaming about hunting for big brookies in Labrador.
Last, I want to give a shout out to Jamie, who is generous with his spots, flies, whiskey, and humor. A quintessential example of what we as a blog team try to convey: hard work, fishiness, and kindness.
A safe and wonderful Memorial Day weekend for all….