It gets too dark to fish, so I head back towards the lot; content with the night's effort. On the way back, we meet up again. Unintentional on my part, and I am pretty sure it was accidental on his too. The rest of the walk back is filled with resumed pleasantries. We both agreed that the fish were hard to find. There just wasn't an obvious hatch, the usual BWOs had stayed home tonight. Neither of us caught them all, but both of us were happy with what we did catch. And neither of us lie about the size of our fish.
As we walk, the talk turns to which fly was working. I had luck on a CDC Caddis pattern that a friend made (Thanks Tim!) Fist I fished it dry, then downstream and wet. The latter was productive. My acquaintance had done something similar.
As it sometimes will, the conversation turned to tying flies.
The fisherman and I discussed our knowledge of the stream and the small bugs it produces. I showed him the patterns I usually use, and he showed me the patterns he usually ties and fishes.
Standing at the back of his van, as he examines one of my smallest flies I've ever tied he matter of factually said "this works? I like it, but it is kind of bushy for this stream". He wasn't being rude, he was being honest and I took it as such. It was when he showed me the flies he usually ties fishes that it hit me.
I've HEARD of this guy.
His style of fishing tiny flies has been the stuff that other fishermen on the stream have whispered of. I've heard it many times: "There is a guy who fishes here regularly that uses these microscopic flies and catches fish like a maniac". Others have mentioned him with the same reverence as Sasquatch: "He stalks the stream, slips into the water like a heron and picks fish out of places the rest of us overlook". Others have just said it outright--they think he is a legend.
I play it cool. I don't want to embarrass him and tell him I've heard of him. He gives the impression of a guy who quietly goes about his way, bamboo in hand, and fishes like a fiend. Not unfriendly, but solitary. I feel like I have just met a celebrity, but I don't even know his name. Never came up in the conversation.
We wish each other well, and go our separate ways.
As I drive home, I am obsessed about other legends that I have heard but never confirmed. But in my obsession, I am also a bit relieved. This guy lived up to his reputation. The fisherman was every bit of what I had imagined him to be.
Legends sure are fun.