Friday, January 11, 2013

Old Wading Grounds

The other day I found myself fishing one of my old stomping grounds that I have not fished in years. With life changes, work, responsibilities and many other excuses, it took me eight years to get back to this river. I honestly cannot say why I stopped fishing this one, especially so because the last time I fished it many years ago, I landed a nice steelhead. I can still remember like it was yesterday, casting into a far seam beneath some overhanging trees deep in a tailout and having my rod almost yanked from my arm as the fish took a purple leech. Hell that was the winter before I got my first spey rod.

So with vivid memories of that last day on the river, a good buddy of mine headed out to swing some water. After fishing for only a few minutes and half way through a run my line stopped,  stalled and a slow pull was missed on a half hazard hook set.  Having the river at 40 degrees and heading into the tailout, I thought it could have been a rock. No matter what I did I could not get the rock or fish to grab again. Then suddenly upstream my buddy connected. A few minutes later he landed a large dark hatchery buck.

Fishing with this vacuum cleaner, I figured he not only picked my pocket, but also picked up the fish I missed. Something I get used to and learned not to mind over the years. Not too long after and while talking to a creel surveyor that was checking our score, I started to swing the run again and it happened. Right where I missed the first fish, wading slightly deeper and almost on the hangdown my line stopped again. This time I set and at first thought I got the rock, then set harder and the rock started head shaking.  I literally was staring at my rod bend for several second before the fish started to move. Then the fish decided to take off.

After a long fight in some fast water in the tail of the run I brought her into the shallows below me. After arguing with this chrome hen, she ran off exposing her body as she darted back into the faster, deeper water.  A beautiful hen probably just under ten pounds and bright as day. Minutes later and close to the end of the battle she was again in the shallows and about to get tailed when my fly flew back at me. A loss yet again this season but the beginning of a win in other ways. I regained some knowledge and confidence in an old familiar stream that I will venture to again in the future. Next time I hope it only takes ten days and not ten years to make it back.

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