Two of my favorite outdoor activities are hiking and fishing. They're both forms of recreation that I find calming, and to some extent even soothing. They allow my mind to wander, to think deep thoughts, while at the same time taking in the beauty that nature provides. I participate in both not necessarily in tandem, however to reach the small streams I prefer to frequent, the former usually comes paired with the latter.
There's that saying, and I'm not sure who made it up, that "the early bird gets the worm." While I can't prove the validity of that statement, I can vouch that the "early angler gets the face full of spiderwebs."
It's probable that you know what I'm talking about. Being the first one on an intimate trail or waterway in the morning, you'll often encounter the weavings of the resident arachnids, spanning the tight sections of land or water you're attempting to ascend. You muster your best limbo dance or shimmy to avoid disturbing the delicate weave of gossamer, but often you don't even see the trusses until it's too late. Typically it's a minor inconvenience, but at times you come face to face with the architect. Depending on your disposition to things that creep and crawl, that could be a level 5 traumatic experience.
It was a spiderweb sort of morning for me the other weekend in western North Carolina. I rose early, putting a premium on being first to the trailhead. This lead to an encounter with several webs on my hike in and amblings about the stream. I always enjoy seeing these marvels of nature, because it means I'm the first outsider to intrude today, the fish (and spiders) haven't been pestered yet, and should be eager to bite..
On this day, said eagerness was confirmed. It had rained the week leading up to this visit and the waters were high, the trails muddy, and spiderwebs thick. But it didn't matter, onward I pushed and found just enough soft spots in the rushing currents to locate the wild rainbows that call this tributary home.
Tightlining small nymphs seemed to be the best tactic to bring a trout to hand. The tenkara rod I was using was perfect for this presentation. With the waters so generally swift, I did manage a trick a few fish with unweighted kebari, but they were the outliers. Had it been a nicer day conditions wise, I probably would have fished my 3-weight and dries, but it didn't look like rises were going to be a common occurance.
After several hours of fishing upstream, I found the remains of a primitive streamside campsite and used that as a point of exit, hiking the hour or so back down to the trailhead. It's amazing how much slower one moves while in the water, consumed with prospecting each pool, riffle, and eddy.