I was at a bass-fishing lodge in Alabama last week with a bunch of other fishing-industry people, which made the actual bass fishing pretty intense. To relax a little, I left the largemouths and plastic worms alone during a long lunch break and took a fly rod down to the end of the dock instead.
Kicking back in a shaded, comfy seat was nice, as I dabbled a small, weighted wet fly in the murky water under one of the fish feeders. There were lots of willing bluegills and once in a while I’d hook a foot-long tilapia–stocked there as bass food with occasional survivors growing to a foot long or more. I’d never caught tilapia before and found they put up a great fight.
Anyway, I was so obviously having such a good time with this laid-back fishing that pretty soon my Indiana-based pal John M. came wandering by.

“Okay,” he said, laughing, “lemme try that.”

Soon there he was, sitting and dipping a fly for bluegills. Finally landing one, he was grinning like a little kid.

We returned to the high-intensity bass fishing later in the day. It was fun, too, but in looking back I miss the end of the dock the most.