If there is anything reassuring about jarring awake at 4:30 A.M. it’s the sound of “tap, tap, tap……tap, tap,” coming from Takaaki Suzuki’s room. I know that because it means “Taka” is stacking deer hair for the wing on the October Caddisfly imitation he’s tying. Before he’s done he will tie enough of the flies to give the nine other fly fishers asleep in the bedrooms, on the fold out couches downstairs and foam pads on the floor two each of his coveted fly imitations.
By 7:30 A.M. we’re all up and stumbling around looking for a cup of coffee. That’s when Taka comes out from his room with the flies. We hold our cupped hands out so he can drop our allotted two flies into them. The fly imitates a large orange-bodied caddisfly fluttering up and down over the river ovipositing each time she touches its surface or in an entirely different scenario an October Caddisfly falling from a tree to the water’s surface after succumbing to a hard November frost. The fly is the most elegant solution I can imagine to either situation. It’s tied sparse, skitters in the breeze, and just looks like the whir of wings and orange that is the October Caddisfly. The imitation also happens to be deadly.
Needless to say none of us are unhappy at all about the “tap, tap, tap” that briefly awakens some of us on cold early mornings in northern California. We quickly fall back asleep, anxious to fish.
NOTE: I’m just back from California where I fished with an international group of anglers who meet there every November. This year four fly fishers traveled in from Japan, one came from New Mexico, one from Massachusetts, three from California and one from Colorado. Most of them have been here before. Some of them have been coming back for five, six or even ten years. Every one fishes split bamboo rods. More on that later.