A natural fly

One vampire's bite brings another one's birth ... Victoria Boatwright

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We have horseflies. You know the things I mean. Big, ugly, flat bodied critters with fangs that with one bite have been known to transform people into werewolves. Like all blood-sucking insects only the female bites, and when she does it'll knock your socks off. Horseflies are crafty; and persistent. They zipzip in front of your eyes for what feels like an eternity; then all is quiet. The silence is a danger signal. The beast has settled so lightly on exposed skin that you haven't felt it. Be prepared to lose your proverbial 'pound of flesh.'

Years ago, when I was young, I biked down a logging road to one of my favourite summer fishing spots. I hid the bike under some brush, where the river meets the road, and struggled across fallen logs left by the clearcutters until I picked up the old trail. My destination was a point of land where the river enters the lake. The trout gathered there to enjoy the cool water and the food that was delivered to their doorstep. It was a warm day, so I'd left my bug-hat at home, and was relying on a little fly dope to keep me safe.

I put my gear together under a large spruce that overhung the incoming river. Looking upward I could see a couple of my flies amongst its out-of-reach branches. I tied on a Pickett Pin and flicked it into the outflow. I'd just made a couple more casts when the first horsefly started to flash before my eyes. It took a minute or so of dive-bombing before she found my wrist. She licked the fly dope like it was her last meal (which it was). Splattt. I flicked the remains off my wrist into the stream and watched a trout rise to the feast. I looked in my box for an imitation. While looking I experienced another kamikaze attack, with the same messy result. And then along came the third.
As Yogi Berra once said, "It was like deja vu all over again." I heaved a long sigh, and it brought to mind another old saying, about blackflies; kill one and thousands will come to its funeral. My frustration was beginning to get the better of me. It is impossible to fish when one of these creatures threatens your very existence, and I couldn't seem to encourage this one to meet her maker. I took this as a sign that I was meant to leave and packed my gear while the vampire buzzed around my head.

She followed me as I beat my way back to my bike. I jumped in the saddle and started to peddle like the devil was on my tail. The wind flew past my ears, tears slid from my eyes. I'd escaped the torture, I thought. I looked down at the handlebars to check what gear I was in, and there she was, hunkered down on the changer, ogling me with her compound eyes. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and without thinking, took a swipe at her. My hand hit the handlebars. The front wheel whipped ninety degrees and I performed a perfect Olympian triple somersault in the pike position.

Through blurry eyes I watched her fly away. And to this day, I'd swear she was holding up two white cards showing I'd scored a perfect ten.

Tales Casting contest I Tangier River I Boyhood memories I Newfie salmon I Muddler's memories I Does a bear? I First ever salmon I The Tickmobile
U-Fish I 4 a.m. I Lyin seasun I Anecdotes I Fishgirl salmon I A natural fly I Main Event I Honeymoon I Vernon I Leslie I Coyote? I Newfie trout I Fantasy

Pat Donoghue, Canada, ©1997