Monday was one of those days. You know, the days when deadlines pile up and every time you near the end of your to-do list, something unexpected rears its ugly head and sets you back again. Add to that the rush-hour traffic, and by the time you pull into the driveway there is only one thing you can do that will help your frazzled nerves.
So I walked in the house, kissed my wife, grabbed my fly rod and walked out the door. Luckily, she understands the medicinal side of fishing.
There wasn't time to drive far and still have time to fish, so I set my course for the local park. The wind was calm, the water smooth and the crowd was small. For the first hour or so, the kid down the shoreline caught and released several bluegill while I flailed unsuccessfully with three or four different fly patterns.
Then with the sun going down and my frustration level rising with each fish the kid caught, I finally found what I was looking for. It was a well-used fly that resembles something in between a Cave Lake Special and a Woolly Bugger. The fly had fooled bluegill elsewhere but matched nothing in the park pond. Conventional wisdom says that fly shouldn't catch fish, but with nothing to lose I thought, why not?
I tied the olive-colored fly about 3 feet below a strike indicator and made a short cast just beyond the edge of the grass bed where the water deepens. Within seconds, the strike indicator moved left and I set the hook. It was a small but plump bluegill. Well, as plump as a small bluegill can be. My second cast was a replay of the first, and during the next 45 minutes I caught and released more than two dozen bluegill. With each fish I thought, "Take that, kid."
Then all of a sudden the bite shut off, almost as if someone signaled the end of a work shift. But that was OK, because the medicine of fishing had done its job. Gone were the frazzled nerves and frustrations of the day. Wonder if I can get my doctor to write a prescription?
■ LEFTOVER BIG GAME TAGS AVAILABLE - The first round of Nevada's big game tag draw is officially over and the tags are in the mail. In fact, by now most applicants probably already know whether they were successful in drawing a tag ... or not.
My luck is so good that I went 4-for-4. Four bonus points - one each for four unsuccessful tag applications.
If you were as "lucky" in the draw as I was, don't count yourself out. Not yet anyway. There are more than a few leftover tags, which means there is going to be a second round to the tag draw. Actually, it has already started, and you can apply at www.huntnevada.com or through the mail with a paper application. The deadline is 5 p.m. June 26. Results will be available July 20.
For resident hunters, there are 1,364 antlered mule deer tags available - 95 for the any-legal-weapon season, 179 muzzleloader tags and 1,090 archery tags. Those who qualify for junior tags can apply for one of 634 remaining either-sex tags. In addition, there are more than 970 antlerless deer tags left.
Also available are 35 archery tags for antelope with horns longer than their ears and 127 antlerless elk tags - 74 archery tags, 47 any-legal-weapon tags and six muzzleloader tags. Nonresidents can participate in the second tag draw as well, but their opportunities are limited.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His "In the Outdoors" column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.