Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hot Day/Hot Fishing: Fish #3

Contestant #3 was accommodating!
At the point where two channels met, a small eddy had collected a tangle of limbs adorned with moss and river flotsam. A small Russian olive tree leaned precariously out over the eddy. This thorny, pale green tree shaded the eddy and provided protection from any aerial predators for any trout smart enough to choose this spot as his abode. It was the perfect lie from which a big fish could dash out into with channel to dine upon whatever morsels floated by, then slide back into the safety of the limb bundle. 

I spotted Contestant #3 when he chased off a small interloper, then quickly dashed back into his safe cubbyhole. In his attack on the smaller fish, he boiled the soft water of the eddy. This motion attracted my attention. Now it was game on.

I cast my beetle under the olive tree and tight to the tangle of limbs. The resident bully immediately charged my fly. He somehow missed it! He popped my fly three inches off the water's surface. My shoulders slumped. I raised my rod to cast again, then thought better. I lowered my rod, turned around and walked away.

I took the advice I have offered others for many years. I've trained myself to not cast again when a fish strikes and misses. I've actually grabbed the rod of clients when they've tried to cast again after a big fish missed their fly. Why? It rarely works. Prey species just don't magically reappear and fish know this. They smell a rat and act accordingly. The best tactic is to cool it...

So… I sat down on the bank, took a big slug of Gatorade and relaxed for a moment. I changed my fly to an over-engineered, purple foam hopper. I took a very deep breath. While exhaling, I stood up, dusted myself off and waded quietly back to the spot. When settled, I lifted another cast.

The fish attacked my fly the moment it hit the water. The hooked pulled tight, then skipped free. SHIT! Game fricking over! I quickly threw my fly back to the same spot knowing not only that nothing would happen, but that I was also not taking my own advice. But, the fish, after being speared seconds before, ate my fly. Let me repeat myself, after being tagged seconds before, this big brown ate my fly again! Yeah, yeah, I landed the fish... and he was very big, I was happy, but I DID NOT deserve this fish. I'll get over it. 

I took exceptional care handling this fish. I kept him in the water for all the photos except for one quick moment when I snapped the photos above. I wanted to keep his fishermen-friendly DNA in the gene pool. We need these eager-to-eat trout around.. as I said this was one very accommodating big brown trout!

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