8 hours ago
Monday, March 7, 2011
The Winter Comeback
You ever wonder if that was really a grab on the end of your line? Seriously, regardless of time of year there are always doubts weather that pull on the end of your line was a fish. At times of the year it becomes more obvious and the type of take can make things more obvious. Still there is always doubt in my mind. Being pessimistic in nature, I doubt most if all takes, especially in the spring when the smolts are on their migration down river. After braining a couple hundred fish over the years setting on smolts, you get to really wonder what the heck hit your fly. Was it a smolt, a steelhead, a branch floating down river, a rock or some fishing gear stuck on a rock? It all happens and every take on the end of your line is different depending on water flow, location, structure and off course how aggressive that fish is on the other end of your line. Having salmon and smallmouth swimming in the same water also leads to some interesting encounters.
The other day I finally was able to get my fat ass out on the river for a float with one of the old homies. After playing bumper boat with a half dozen other boats we finally found one of our favorite pools without a fishermen. Set up at the middle of the run I started stepping. After about a half dozen swings my line stops then a tug, stop, then pull of an inch or two of line out my fingers. For some reason weather it be experience or just keeping the faith, I thought this was a fish. Instead of changing flies I went after it again, casting short then working back into the zone with nothing. Against better judgment on this cold dark winter morning with four to five feet of clarity I decided to not switch to another dark pattern, instead I put on something something bright and nasty on the end of my line, a tequila sunrise MOAL. I didn't even move back upstream, instead just starting casting short. After stretching the line out again I started to doubt that this was a fish and worked down the run. Within a few feet I felt a similar grab, but with this one the pull stuck and my Marquis starting melting.
Keeping the faith is a big deal in this game of swinging flies for steelhead, especially in the winter. Patience and persistence pays when all the cards are aligned right. Changing flies to a color against the grain of what I would think is perfect to that situation only goes to show me that there is always more to learn in this game.