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Ronan's report

Friday 13th September, 2013

I've been told the need to introduce myself is a requirement to start this little diatribe. Well, here it goes… Years fly fishing: 25 ish; Years fly tying: 14 (never mind the years I spent half-asleep listening to my step-father drone on about Tom Thumbs, Guinea Fowl feathers and aught what-evers); Years as a pro-staff with Amundson Rod Company: 5... What exactly does that mean??? In a nutshell, they give me stuff to break. Once in awhile, they even listen to my opinions, mostly not so much. So that's me, Fly Fish Any Weather's girlfriend, fly fishing enthusiast, fly tier and worldwide gypsy wanderer. Sounds like I'll fit in around here as a guest writer.

In amongst my wanderings this summer I found myself on a little creek outside of Grande Cache, Alberta in pursuit of a beautiful fish, which is on the brink of being added to the threatened list. You have to understand, in Southern Alberta, these fish are only stocked in three small lakes; one of which winter killed a few years ago and has not been restocked. These jewels of cold, clear northern water are only native to a few river systems. I added the Arctic Grayling to my bucket list after catching one in 2005, as part of a fish creel survey located at one of these stocked lakes when rumours of grayling spawning naturally where whispered in veils and shrouds of secrecy. Since then I have dreamt of landing an Arctic Grayling on a dry fly, in moving water for what seems like ever and ever. Their beauty has haunted me, their legendary stories of small, sleek, powerful bodies and oversized dorsal fins turned sideways in the current to create resistance has tempted me. Images of sparkling gems in crystal waters, seductive sipping of dries has haunted me.

Years of dreaming turned in to reality when us 2 gypsies and our fishing dogs found ourselves scouting creeks and decided to take a few drifts in the current. The first strike was uneventful and turned out to be a 6 inch white fish, but at least it was a fish (even if worth negative points). The second strike was far more exciting… I precariously perched myself on one side of a rock pile covered in driftwood from our recent flood, Ray on the other but still in view. We were each after different quarry. He found entertainment in teasing baby bulls and harassing Mr. Ed, a log of a fish, in the bottom of the blackened pool. I swear he was having a heart attack or it could have been a teenage girl swooning over some nameless boy band, alas; as it turns out, it was just a glimpse of the "big one".

Myself?!?, I had better fish to fry, so to speak. I drifted different current seams and saw flashes of brilliance now and then, so I knew Mr. Grayling was home, just waiting for me to toss the best looking fly my box had to offer. After several drifts, a beauty rose for my meager offerings. I saw his soft mouthing, felt his gentle tug and FISH ON!! I was shocked and dismayed when Mr. Grayling shook his head, turned sideways and stayed put. I could not make him budge. Seriously, I've landed a 50lbs GT and I can't move a 14 inch trout species???? Mere moments later he won that battle. My moment of bliss ended in much swearing as the hook came loose. I'm sure the campground over yonder could hear my vile cursing. Such a potty mouth this lady has. Now I had had a taste of mini-grayling fury, I was not to be dissuaded by the task at hand: Sort out the drift, toss the right fly and hope like hell he comes back!!

After some flashes of glinting gem swirls and curious looks full of denial and disbelief (from the fish) I finally found the right rock, right drift, right tasty morsel and the right hook set. From the depths launched a grayling, far larger than my stocked lake grayling. No, this was a mighty river grayling, full of fight and spunk. Again, this one also flared his dorsal fin and attempted to stick to the currents but I had the upper hand. His mistake was taking my fly in the slow water, no current to help him out this time. He still fought and tried his best… I was better; this battle was mine. Enter Ray: I didn't need a Net-Man to land this fish but camera assistance would have been nice. I looked over my shoulder to get his attention, assuming he was where I left him, tickling bullys… Um, yeah, nothing but crickets from the rock pile greeted me and my excitement. I was on my own with this one.

For those of you who have had the pleasure of fishing with Ray, you know he has a tendency to get distracted and wander off. So there I was, straddling a rock, in a pink summer dress and sandals (scouting trip, not fishing remember?), camera tucked under my arm, pissed off grayling playing the current and my net guy/camera man had buggered off… “Get the net Ray… You don't understand”…. (thankfully this was not a 5lbs Cutbow on a 3wt who is now known as Fishzilla) The fish was landed and a crappy solo fish-pic was taken and I leave you with an image that could have been far better. (((

Pic Of Day

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