I'm not a morning person by nature. I am during the work week by necessity, getting up at 4am every work day. I can't turn that necessity into a virtue though - I may slap that snooze button four times before I slowly drag my carcass out of that wonderful bed. So on weekends and holidays my absolute favorite thing to do is to sleep late. I'll sleep until 9 or 10am, a few times I've managed to hang on until 11am. I'm just not a lover of getting up early.
But Sunday I woke up at 5am and could not go back to sleep. I got up and drank a cup of coffee and watched through the window as the sky started to get lighter. By 6:30 the sky was lit up pretty well but the sun was still down below the trees as I waded down river to the Guinea Hole. I was after catfish.
I thought it would be nice and cool down in the river that time of morning - but it wasn't. The air temp was 80, and even though I was waist deep in water cooler than my body temperature, I was sweating heavily. There wasn't a breath of wind.
It was also dead quiet to go with the dead calm. The birds were barely starting to wake up, just a few distant bird songs were all there was to hear. The river's surface was as close to a mirror as it can get and still be moving. Hot though it was, sweating though I was, it was still a magic time. And the fish were biting. I caught fish after fish and then a big catfish. Before the day was over I had caught four keeper catfish, a couple of dozen large (8" to 10") bluegills and two nice sized large mouth bass.
As the sun came up, but was still well behind the trees, I'd cast out and my fluorescent green fly line would lay on the river surface, drifting slowly through the reflection of the trees in front of me. It was almost a mirror image but it did have a very slight disturbance from the slow current. The line color blended in almost perfectly with the various shades of green from the reflected trees. Only when the line crossed an area of reflection where there was deep shadow in the trees would the line show up clearly. But the way the fish were biting didn't leave much doubt about when a fish was biting - they were hitting hard.
Just before the sun cleared the trees behind me on the river bank a south breeze kicked up. Probably from the sun's warming of the atmosphere. The breeze felt wonderful and quick as you can think it I was nice and cool, even though the temperature was rising. The breeze made all the difference in the world. It also created a rippled/choppy water surface which is great for fishing and the fish responded by biting even more. It also made seeing the fly line easier as the mirror image of the trees was now gone, not that I really needed to see it all that much.
It got hotter and hotter as the sun climbed the sky. I was wearing my loose weave pith helmet - the best possible head gear for summer fishing - and would occasionally dip it into the river, fill it half way with water and quickly toss it onto my head in such a way that the water spilled down my back. Damn but it felt good every time I did that. With the breeze blowing through that wet loose weave and circulating over my head it felt like air conditioning. If you don't mind looking like a lost postal worker I'd suggest getting yourself one of these. Not fashionable but extraordinarily functional. They were, after all, designed specifically for the hot tropics.
Before I headed out I woke my wife and told her where I was going and said jokingly that if I wasn't back by noon to send out a search party. I had no expectation of being gone more than a couple of hours. But I was catching fish, and time seemed not to exist at all. I was hungry and I was thirsty and I was really wanting to sit down and rest a bit - but the fish were biting so I kept casting and catching and...I looked up and I saw my dear sweet wife wading down the river to me. She waved and I waved back.
As she got close she said "It was 12:30 when I left the house, are you okay?" and then she reached into this plastic bag she was carrying and held out a cold Corona, so cold that the sweat was running off of the bottle. She pulled out a bottle opener, popped the cap and handed me that wonderful cold brew. I stood it up and let that fantastically wonderful liquid hit the back of my throat and sluice down the pipe. It's as good as life gets right there - A stringer full of fish, a beautiful woman, and an ice cold beer in the middle of a blazing hot day. Life was extremely good to me right then. I can die happy, someday.
I tell you she is a drop dead gorgeous woman, but at that moment she was ten times more drop dead gorgeous than usual.