These are three of the variables that fishermen consider, and when I paused for lunch on a gravel bar in the Potomac near Nolands Ferry yesterday I first wondered about place. I didn't think too seriously about my poor showing during my first smallmouth trip to Pennyfield Lock a week or two earlier because that had been a Monday on a stretch of the river that gets fished hard on weekends. Then at least I caught a few bluegills, but my fishless morning yesterday got me wondering if there was something dreadfully wrong with the river.
When my floating fly didn't produced, I tried a large crystal bugger which I tried on both sides of the island but that didn't work either. I switched to a B&B, a smaller fly that doesn't run as deep as the bugger and got a few takes which came off. On the last half hour of fishing in the afternoon, I finally landed a few fish, a couple of smallmouths, my first of the season, and a bluegill. That got me musing about the other two variables: time and presentation. Was the success due to presentation, fishing the right fly at the right depth? Or did the fish suddenly decide the time was right to come out of their stupor and become more aggressive? The fish don't say, so it's left to us fishermen to think about these things.
There was just time enough to take a picture of the river on a beautiful August day. Water levels were 2.9 at Little Falls and 1.3 at Point of Rocks.