We got up bright and early yesterday morning; it’s hard to beat the sun up in the summer in Nebraska, but Tylr and I came close, making ourselves a cup of coffee each and putting on bug spray before climbing into the Jeep Wrangler that has spent much of this rainy summer in the garage and driving half a dozen blocks to Hanscom Park. Sonja and I sometimes put the kids in the stroller and walk around Hanscom, and other times I jog around it. It’s nearby and pretty, the fountain in the artificial Lake constituting a modest piece de resistance. Tylr and I got there in no time, assembled our rods, and got to work.
It had been several years since I had been fly fishing before this spring, when Tylr and I went out to the Refuge Lakes near our hometown of Valentine and hauled some monster Northern Pike out of a little tributary. You can read more about that here: https://itheewine.com/2018/04/29/gone-fishin-buehler-vineyards-estate-cabernet-sauvignon-2014/ I’d never before considered fishing in Omaha, but pragmatism dictates proximity when your kids are home in bed, so I needed to find a new place to fish. Lately, I’ve gotten more into fly fishing, and the idea that there is a lake within walking distance of my home with flat banks that might have fish in it got me thinking I might one day teach Titus and Zooey. I’m fortunate to have a great mentor, and gradually I’ve been learning more and more. I’ve set my fly-tying vice back up, and soon will invest in a new rod and reel.
As we approached the little lake, we met a family of ducks who would be with us all morning. It was only around seventy degrees, and the wind was low, the emerging sun hidden by cloud cover. The fountain mumbled in the background as Tylr and I spread out a bit and got back into the rhythm of things. Ten o’clock, two o’clock, ten o’clock, two o’clock. I kept glancing over my shoulder, worried about what I might catch my fly on behind me, then dropping it out into the water, improving my distance with every cast. We fished for probably close to an hour with no action — and were both considering finding another place to fish, before I finally caught a little bluegill. Once we realized there were, in fact, fish in the pond, we were re-inspired and kept fishing. I caught a handful of little panfish, whose distinct nibble and minimal weight made it hard to tell sometimes if they were striking, even if they were on my line, before at got a more ferocious hit and hauled in a little largemouth bass. Not long after, Tylr caught his own largemouth. We snagged a few more bluegill and sunfish, and called it a day. I’d never caught bass or panfish on a fly before — it was a wonderful new experience.
I called Sonja on the way back, and she informed me that she, Sabrina, and the kids were out getting doughnuts. Tylr and I stopped by Wohlner’s, grabbed some OJ, and returned home. We showered before our families returned, and then made mimosas for everyone who wanted one, using some Yellowtail “Bubbles” N.V. — I’d never tried this wine before; I picked it up on sale, and was a bit reluctant given the brand’s bottom shelf placement, but figured it couldn’t hurt for mimosas.
To be honest, the Yellowtail “Bubbles” — though I think that name is ridiculous, was great for mimosas, and just fine without the OJ. On it’s own, it was off-dry with rapidly dissipating bubbles and a bit of a tartness to the finish. It would drink reasonably by itself, and is modestly priced. With a little orange juice, however, it got good, and soon Tylr was doing experiments, putting dried blueberries in it which Sabrina decided to inspect very closely. The wine took on a blueberry flavor and hue when this occurred, and frankly wasn’t bad like that either. I would never have tried that, but after Tylr made one I had to taste it and, well, I approve.
Together we all sat around talking, eating doughnuts, drinking coffee, mimosa, and bloody mary’s, and enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon. I love spending weekends like that, no matter the time of year, and I’m enjoying getting back into fishing, thanks in large part to my buddy Tylr. If you’re in the neighborhood and feel like fishing, let me know — Hansom Park is quite close. I don’t suspect it ever would have occurred to me to fish there, if not for Tylr, but now that I have I’m fairly certain I’ll have to go back there soon. For someone who likes to try new things, I’m not sure why I was reluctant on this one, but I’m glad I let Tylr talk me into it. I’ve found in life that I almost never regret trying something new, once I get talked into it.
Cheers to finding new places to fish,