A summer late-afternoon wade trip to one of my favorite streams produced an unexpected surprise. The search for smallmouth bass was abandoned after I was distracted by fish activity on a shallow inside bend. Brightly-colored male Longear Sunfish, often misidentified as “pumpkinseeds,” were busy building and defending their nests. Streamers were replaced by black Brim Reapers which were cast to the extreme outer edges of the activity. The longears’ bright orange breasts are flecked with turquoise and they must be considered among nature’s most beautiful fish. Most casts resulted in a hookup and spirited fight before each was released into the deeper pool behind me. As the fish became more curious the action slowed and I waded further upstream to the next spawning site. I lost count of the catch but each brought a smile.