If nothing else, fishing is about patterns. We obsessed anglers spend serious amounts of time seeking to figure out movement patterns, feeding patterns, breeding patterns and behavioral patterns. We watch and try to understand weather patterns, and lunar patterns and tidal patterns. We pour over articles on hydrological flow patterns and sedimentation patterns. We follow trends in equipment and materials to better grasp those patterns. We study solar patterns and wind patterns and insect life cycle patterns.
If we are smart, we establish a pattern of making notes and keeping records and filing away bits and pieces of information in the recesses of our minds. And if we are careful, we acquire a pattern of consistently catching fish. Otherwise, we just establish a pattern for wasting time while beating the surface of water.
In this regard, we are very much like any other predator in pursuit of prey: the Mountain Lion waiting silently along the well-worn deer trail leading down to the stream, the spider sitting in the middle of its web carefully placed to intersect hapless moths as they shuttle along well established flight paths just beneath the canopy, the red-tailed hawk circling the open areas between buildings where they have the best opportunity to catch the field mice scurrying along their trails from burrow to burrow.
Likewise, it is no secret that in the urban fishing environment, the objects of our obsession living in these heavily pressured lakes and streams quickly learn our patterns and respond accordingly. Normally voracious Bass will seriously slow down their normal eating habits and watch hundreds of dollars worth of lures pass by every weekend.
Carp at many SoCal urban lakes will practically go into some Zen-like state and sit tight all day Saturday and Sunday only to cautiously go active again on Monday.
The long and short of it is we are all trying to figure out the other guy’s patterns so we can claim a pattern of success.
Now of all the patterns I try to monitor, the one pattern I rather dislike is the annual change from Daylight Savings Time. Perhaps if I had a herd of cows that I needed to milk at some sick hour of the morning and needed the light or if my field plow didn’t have headlights I might feel differently but this time change nonsense really bugs me. It disrupts my pattern…or as one of our formerly hippie clients likes to say, “it harshes my mellow”.
Apparently, I am not alone in this irritation.
This year the time change falls on Halloween. I haven’t looked far enough ahead to know if that is how it is going to stay or if it is going to move around yet again but for now it falls on Halloween. Not that I’m big into the Halloween thing but our church hosts an alternative event to trick or treating every year so I will be busy most of Saturday afternoon and evening.
Anyway, my fishin’ buddy, Sean must have felt the same sense of annoyance with the time change as he text messaged yesterday to ask if I wanted to get in one last late afternoon of fishing before the time change. The annoyance part was communicated with the closing comment, “stinkin’ time change”.
Since both of our lovely brides were going to be attending an all girl event with singing and squealing and hugging and such, I was only too happy to respond with a yes.
We headed over to Cerritos Regional Park where we knew we wouldn’t get chased out at sunset and where the path around the lake is actually lighted – in case the fishing turned out to be really good and we ended up staying past dark.
The sun was sinking fast so we wasted no time in getting on the water. We were rewarded with immediate hits by some young-of-the-year bass and some bluegill. We quickly figured out that the most productive pattern was to cast parallel to the edge of the pond and strip in line fairly quickly.
I headed off to the left and Sean headed to the right. I had a few more hits but Sean seemed to have found the pocket and got several hits on his dropper nymph.
As it got darker, we both switched over to krystal buggers. Sean again found the ball of fish and pulled in quite a few decent panfish. Again, he figured out that the pattern for these particular fish was for them to hit hard and then move, en masse, along the bank. He was able to follow them as they moved and scored many more strikes.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of fly fishin’ in the dark – I can barely see the hook eye as it is, and my pattern has been to pack up and go home when I can’t see my hands anymore but this was a great way to send off the last remaining afternoon of DST. We both concluded that having a lighted park relatively close to home was the perfect remedy to the “dark by 5:00 blues”.
We decided on the spot that we will make it our pattern to return to this little park during the short days of winter and count our blessings that we don’t have to hang up the fly rods until the Spring thaw.
I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.
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