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Photo contributed by Larry Case / A cool spot by a mountain stream is a great place to be in the heat of high summer, and it's worth the early morning hike even if you can't find all of your fly fishing equipment.

I know, buddy, it's been hot here, too.

Two dogs and I were sitting on the front porch the other evening. It is entirely possible that a couple of us were dozing, but I won't say who. Cur dogs, you see, can be very sensitive, and I don't want to upset anybody. I mean, squirrel season is not that far off (and like the elephant, their memory is phenomenal).

Anyway, I was listening to the cicada (we called them jar flies when I was a kid) across the road in the maple trees singing his buzzing, droning song. The jar fly knows only one song, but he is pretty good at singing it, and I enjoy hearing it for some reason.

It could be because his whirring refrain reminds me that we are in high summer and fall cannot be too far away. Or is it because when I hear that song it is easier for me to imagine myself in a secluded, secret place with nobody around? With my warped and overactive imagination, I can easily leave the porch and two snoring dogs, and just like that, I am there.

There doesn't have to be a particular place, but it is usually somewhere I have been before. This time of year, in the heat, it is not hard to think about being on a trout stream.

This would not be your normal springtime trout fishing, you understand. This is summer trout fishing. In summer trout fishing, you hike into a back area when it is way too hot and brave the bugs, the spider webs and the odd copperhead now and then. This is not the spring, when you might partake in the combat fishing of stocking trucks, crowds, falling in the creek with long underwear on and other niceties. It's summer, and those who packed the streams three months ago are not here.

And if you want to do it right, this is the time to be a fly fisherman.

Fly fishing? You know about that, don't you? That thing you said you were going to do all spring, and now it's deep into summer but you never did. The main difference in fly fishing from, say, spin fishing is the manner in which the lure or the fly is casted and presented to the fish.

Well, shoot, I guess I need to explain about the flies first. In fly fishing, the lure you cast to catch a fish on is called a fly. These lures are usually quite small and made of any combination of different feathers, sometimes animal hair or fur and sometimes synthetic material. All of this is held on the hook by strands of thread wrapped by the angler in a process known as tying flies. This process is not to be confused with capturing small house pest insects and binding them in thread, prompting those who know nothing about fly tying to ask "Tying flies? How do you get them to hold still?"

The completed lure, the fly, has almost no weight and cannot be casted any distance with conventional fishing tackle such as spinning or bait casting equipment. This is where the fly-fishing gear comes in: The fly rod is long and flexible, and the fishing line on the reel of a fly-fishing rig may be slightly weighted. The fly fisherman is actually casting the line, not the lure, for distance.

This is much easier said than done. Good fly casting is an art. It is difficult at times but can be learned, and once learned is very satisfying to the angler. (You saw the movie "A River Runs Through It," didn't you?)

OK, I'm trying to help you here. Just do it. One evening, get out all your fly fishing gear and put it in the truck. I know you won't be able to find it all; it'll be all right. Early in the morning, way early — before the first cardinal or any other songbird has got up and had his coffee — get in the truck and go. You are going way early because you want to get on the creek early and you have a ways to walk in. This will mean some walking up the creek in the dark. That is OK, too. It will kind of remind you of turkey season.

Walking in the dark when you have the unsure footing of a trout stream is very beneficial. You will clear your mind because you have to. You have to concentrate about the real things around you, the important things. The unimportant distractions of our modern lives melt away. There is no Facebook, water bills or some new report at work you have to do.

It's just you and the creek, the spider webs and the occasional copperhead.

As usual, when I started this little sermon there were at least three other things I was going to talk about that you needed to be doing this summer.

Like most of us, you haven't been shooting enough and are getting pretty rusty. It's not too early to be checking on some deer stands — and you were going to do a little fall food plot at two of them, remember? And even though it has been hotter than a $2 pistol, the dogs are getting fat, a little surly, and an early morning run will take them down a peg or two.

That's just the stuff I can think of right now.

I know it's hot, buddy. Many of us are out of sorts during this weather. Slow down, have another sip of sweet tea and be kind to someone you don't know this week. Sit on the porch, listen to the cicadas sing and let the dogs sleep.

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Contributed photo / Larry Case

"Guns & Cornbread" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at larryocase3@gmail.com.

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