Wednesday 12th March, 2008
A wild week & weekend at work has me feeling tired and desperate to fish, but deadlines are keeping me from the river. It's painful. As I often do when I can't get to the river, I looked to my journal and my photos for a jump start.
This one put a smile on my face. The names may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent.
October 13th - Steelhead River X
Weather - Bright, sunny, and warm.
Water - Clear, 6+ feet visibility, 52 degrees F.
After a stop in to see Jeff we fished the afternoon session on River X.
No luck for us at the nice run and tailout at mile marker 13.
Next I showed Niall a spot that I discovered last fall while fishing up here with Kim. It's a great little area. You've got to park up the road, at the top of the hill and sneak down through the trees to get to the spot. This is a very cool spot that only a handful of people fish. I'm always careful to not leave an obvious trail. The first wading stance is precarious, on the small, slippery bedrock outcrop that defines the head of the run. You balance, and work consecutive cast out from there, swinging your fly through the water and maxing out on distance casts before dropping back in to shore and wading down the bar to cover the rest of the water.
I let Niall fish through first. He has the hot hand this week and I was hoping to see some fireworks. He didn't move a fish. Not a good sign since he's a very fine steelheader. I watched him fish, and altered my presentations in an attempt to cover the water differently, changing up swing speeds and covering certain lies from different wading positions. I was challenged, to say the least. From the beginning I'd had my eye on a great looking lie against the far bank, where a group of large boulders forms a bit of a tailout. It was also the only spot in the run that was in the shade. Niall covered the rest of the run beautifully. I had a feeling that the far off lie would be my only shot.
This is where I hooked a fish on a perfect cast - a LONG (110?) single spey, well down and across, with the leader turning over dead straight, delivering the fly to the far side of the lie, just upstream of the tailout boulder. I set up my drop loop and only a few feet into the swing the steelhead slammed my sparsely dressed Muddler as it fished just below the surface. It ran hard down and into the middle of the run and jumped unbelievably high - perfectly bright and pushing 10 pounds. Another hot upstream run put slack in the line, but I reeled like hell and came back tight to the fish. 30 seconds later, as I began to get the fish under control, the hook just pulled out. I was left stunned and shaking with adrenaline.
What an experience. I feel like this hookup defined this summer steelhead season for me. This was my reward for hundreds of hours on the water. This was my A+ grade on the final exam. What a feeling. What a reward. It was a cast that I could have never executed back in July, with a fly that I wouldn't have fished confidently. I learned the presentation, and strategy that I brought to the run today this summer. It was just one of those perfect moments in flyfishing that come along only once in a while.
Good fishing to you, wherever in the world you are. This is Sexyloops.
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