I was standing waist deep...Mark and David were downriver of me, stalking some dark shapes off of a branching gravel bar. This mirror (easily identified as such in the clear water) was slow cruising down the bank...headed right toward me. The fish didn't know it was caught, but a slow cruiser on the bank coming within twenty feet of me, my Helios 2 and a hybrid is basically caught.
David spotted this fish tailing, and he and I offered mostly useless and merciless advice as Mark worked the fish. She was facing us, a head on shot, and was happy EXACTLY where she was. She needed to be fed. "Closer...cast again" I kept saying as Mark tried to bonk her on the head with a hybrid. "Perfect!" David breathed when the fly hit the spot. "Twitch...twitch..." And a pregnant pause as I knew the fish had eaten just as Mark's line came tight and the rod bent. He fed her alright.
David and I stood side by side on a narrow stretch, easy familiarity from having fished so often together allowing us to say "this shot is mine" without saying anything. The fish came toward us, 30 feet out and in perfect position. As usual, David's hybrid landed where he wanted it...six inches ahead and six inches to the left of the fish. We both held our breath and waited...then the fish turned his head sharply and the rest was a matter of good knots and clean, unfrayed tippet.
I had taken a moment on the bank. A recent fish had frayed my leader on its dorsal fine, and as I sat and quietly re-rigged my two fly set up and a fresh leader, David and Mark had moved down the bank. I looked up to see David fighting a fish a few hundred yards away, and saw Mark hook up and lose one in the same motion. The fish were active. I took a few steps and saw a target of my own...tailing lazily in knee deep water...feeding, but not frantic. Stately...Isaac Walton style. I almost felt bad showing her the hybrid. Almost.