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Ronan's report


Wednesday 9th April, 2008

The moment just after the line goes limp is the worst moment in flyfishing. Especially when you were just hooked to an anadromous dream with a name like steelhead or sea-trout, and you know that the next fish might not come for a long, long time. It's that brief moment, filled only with feelings of helplessness and disbelief, that precludes hours or days of "what if's". But it's memories of that moment that make other hookups that end with a clean release that much better.

Today's FP features two recent accounts of heartbreak and reconciliation. A tale from each hemisphere.

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Fished through five runs this past Sunday [in Oregon] looking for steelhead - the long bend, the run below camp, two near the picnic area, and tree hole. Got there around 7am (even without coffee). I made it happen in the tailout of the 3rd run. Great fish. Big grab on a big fly. Its take and fighting style were very quick, jerky, and erratic. I was nervous from the moment I hooked up. Bad sign. The fish was bucking and twisting a lot and not making long smooth runs. Line was leaving the reel in fits and the rod was bucking. I know that it had me momentarily tangled on a submerged rock or branch at some point. I had a few decent looks at the fish when it ran into some very shallow water and turned broadside with the sun at my back. Looked about 10-12 pounds. Perfect dorsal, but I couldn't confirm presence of an adipose (the sign of a wild fish). Bright fish, with nice pink cheeks. Bigger than what I've been seeing this winter. I wanted to release the fish badly, on my terms. But after about 5 minutes the hook came away. Those 5 minutes replayed in my thoughts for the next few hours as I searched for an explanation. I've since reconciled with the fact that losing the fish wasn't my fault. I think the fish twisted itself in the leader and the hook came free. I've seen it happen before. Sometimes it's just not in the cards. Aside from that, spring was evident on the river. Lots of pairs of geese and mergansers. New leaves popping out everywhere. Good fishing to you. - Matt

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Haven't heard from you in a while. Hope all is going well for you. The weather is starting to turn down here [in Patagonia] now. Lots of wind and the temps dropped along with some rain. That should get those fall fish to start believing it is fall. I hooked a monster sea trout on one of your string flies. It was almost dark on our last day on the Rio X (Argentina) so I thought, "I am putting on a big fly and stripping the heck out of it." Sure enough the surface of the river exploded and the fish went straight for the ocean. On his way he jumped about 4 times and on the final jump threw the fly. It was the first fish I have lost on that style of pattern. I thought it was great, the fish was really big!! Would have been fun to see him in hand, but seeing his silhouette and hearing the splashes was enough. Wish you were down here. - Travis

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Until next week. May your line stay tight until your prize is in hand.

Cheers,
Matt


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