As I stood at the end of the trail where it meets the river, I had a decision to make. I could go left where I have gone the past two times for smallies or I could go right. Oh what a predicament! I know that there are fish to the left. Maybe there are more to the right, though? Oh what to do?
Screw it! I'm going left!
As I fish, I can't help but look over my shoulder wondering if I should have gone right...I have never gone right. I always go left. What if the honey hole of all honey holes is down there? Nothing is happening here so far and I've given it three whole casts without a bite. OK, curiosity, you got the best of me; let's go right.
As I wade to the right, I notice how shallow this water is. I also notice how damn clear it is too. "These fish are gonna be hiding today" I say to myself. Find the holes and I'll find fish. Fast water or slow won't really matter as long as there is a hole. The first bank that will get shade as the sun starts to set will be the one to my right so I focus on that side as I move downstream. An hour passes and with the exception of a few short strikes, I have neither felt nor seen any real signs of life in this water. Perhaps I should have kept going left? Every hole has turned up empty. I haven't even seen a carp. I am too far into this now to turn around. I might as well keep going.
As I look farther down stream, I notice something just jumped in some slower water way off in the distance. Probably just a carp, but I put a move on to get closer to the first sign of life that I have seen all evening. Not a minute later, another fish jumps just to my left. Then another. And another. And another. These aren't your typical carp jumps though. These are much more...what's the word I'm looking for....purposeful. I cast my minnow pattern for the next few minutes to no avail as I watch more and more fish jumping all around me. There is only one logical decision to make at this point - throw on the deer hair popper. That is when the fishing really began.
For the next forty minutes, almost every cast resulted in at least a strike. Many times there would be multiple hits and misses. If a fish missed, I just kept on stripping and they would come right back at it. Let it sit and they wouldn't touch it. They wanted it fast and noisy. As long as you gave them that, they were happy to give chase. I landed about a dozen before I was broken off mid battle with a healthy fish. I had about twenty minutes of daylight left before they closed the gates to the preserve and a thirty minute walk if I moved with quickness. The inner turmoil ran rampant again....should I keep going right or head left back to the car?
In the end, I went left as there is always tomorrow and I just didn't feel like getting a ticket. I have better places to spend that money.