And I'm not certain why I had either of those two feelings Friday evening and much of the day Saturday.
The physical activity Friday was typical. Four times I lifted the kayak on or off the car. The drive to and from the river was about an hour. The carry between the parking lot and the boat launch was only about ten yards, and the paddle out to the gravel bar was about a half mile with the last 40 feet or so pulling the kayak through water only ankle deep. Except for a short break for a trail mix lunch, the rest of the trip was fly-casting in waist deep water and moving through an area roughly the length and width of a football field. All very typical of my favorite kind of fishing trip.
Even though this is my favorite fishing, fly fishing for smallmouth bass on the Potomac River, the particular satisfaction I felt about Friday isn't clear to me either. Objectively, the number and size of fish I caught were certainly not exceptionally good; two average-size smallmouths in four hours of fishing isn't anything to brag about. However, these two fought hard, jumped multiple times and looked beautiful to me as I unhooked and released them back in the water.
Maybe the satisfaction came from eventually getting results by paying attention to what was going on around me, the number of insects in the air and water and the occasional feeding rise of the fish to them. I started with a surface slider, switched to a hackled dry fly, then tried a couple of subsurface flies before switching back to the same slider I started with because it seemed to arouse the most interest even though I hadn't landed anything yet. And there were those rises, not many but regular. Maybe having persistence rewarded was part of the satisfaction.
After returning home from the Mouth of the Monocacy parking lot and putting away the kayak and tackle, I wasn't good for much activity for the remainder of the day or the following day either. When I wondered why I was so tired, Pam suggested maybe it was old age. Could be. Water levels were 1.1 at Point of Rocks and 2.8 at Little Falls which are both common readings for this time of year. The past month or so has been dry.