|Rainbow mouse-eater taken later in the night
All of this has happened in a span of about 3 seconds. I wish my brain could have seen it for what it was and reacted sooner - but it wasted time with thoughts like "Great, I struggle to connect with fish that actually want my fly and now I'm going to lose a mouse to a snagged beaver I tried to avoid."
As I look back on various fish in my life I realize there is a common theme of missing hook-ups - particularly with big fish - when the strike is visual.
Overzealous hooksets, buck fever, broken lines, poor timing, etc, etc.
Well, add "wrong animal" to the list.
|My shadow as I leave the truck
The image of that fish on the surface following the mouse is etched into my memory. In my mind's eye, it looked so much like a muskrat or a beaver. Or in different water, like a gator would swim. A few days later Trouts Fly Fishing posted an Instagram video (YouTube version below) of rainbows eating mouse flies on a pond during the daytime. I noticed some rose to the fly in a similar way - basically breaking the surface behind the fly, then surging forward to take it. It's subtle. Nothing spectacular or unusual, but keep in mind that during the night your senses are heightened and your mind tries to fill in the gaps with the clues provided, helping you 'see' what you don't see. I saw the shape rising to eat the mouse as something else, and my brain couldn't get passed the first impression quickly enough.
Live and learn. Why can't these lessons be learned on little fish? It's always the big ones that make you look like a moron - even when you are alone in the dark with no witnesses. At least I didn't come back with a Sasquatch story inspired by my own shadow....