Monday, April 7, 2014

Sometimes it all works out just like you'd hoped

Every fishing trip begins with hope. 99 times out 100, that hope isn't realized. But every so often, things work out just the way they're supposed to. Exactly the way you imagined and hoped they would. In my fishing life, this hasn't happened too often, only a few times come to mind.

The first time was in Southern California, on a multiday tuna trip. It was nighttime, we were drifting and there wasn't much happening. Most of the people were inside eating, and a few were standing outside smoking and drinking a beer, and no one was fishing. I caught a glimpse of a fin just outside the floodlights, so I grabbed my rod, hooked a sardine, and cast it out  directly in front of a 5 foot mako. The mako swallowed it with no hesitation, and it was at the boat a short while later, despite the lack of a wire leader. Exactly as I had pictured it.

The second, in Maine. I was visiting my mom, and wanted to get some fishing in. I don't remember how or why I chose to fish for stripers where the Ducktrap river enters Penobscot Bay, but that's where I ended up with high hopes and exactly zero experience in striper fishing. I brought my 8 weight fly rod, but the incoming tide was too strong to get the unweighted fly down, even with a sinking line. Fortunately I also had a saltwater spinning rod and a few frozen mackerel. I threw a chunk on a hook, cast it out, put it in freespool and a had a legal striper on the line in 30 seconds. Exactly as I had pictured it.

Then there was the third time, just a few days ago. I ran into a friend who told how he spotted a huge fish nymphing at the base of a waterfall the previous day, and subsequently hooked it, only to have the fish immediately jump and throw the hook. We walked back to the spot, and saw a few other nice sized trout, but nothing huge. Naturally, as any fisherman would be, I was consumed with thoughts of this fish. The next day, I rushed home after work and collected my gear while muttering a mix of apologies and thanks to my wife. Once I got there, there were some kids chucking rocks down into the pool below the waterfall.  They eventually got bored and moved on, and I cautiously made my way down the rocks to the base of the pool. With a self tied tungsten beaded hare's ear on my Epic 580 (I can't say enough good things about this rod), I cast out, and immediately caught a decent fish of 13 inches or so. Between the kids that had thrown rocks, and the commotion caused by landing this fish, I wasn't too confident about catching anything else. Two casts later, I was happy to be proven wrong. As soon as the indicator stopped, I set the hook and felt a big fish. After a few strong head shakes I saw a shadow, thinking it was a barbel, too big for a trout. I knew I was wrong when a beautiful, fat brown trout jumped and landed back in the water with a much deeper sounding splash than I'm used to. My heart immediately began racing, and I had to figure out a way to get the fish out of the deep channel he was in. My easiest option was the make it to other side of the river where the water was shallower and slower. I headed downstream a bit, and then across the river, my hip waders filling with freezing water as I made my way acrosst the channel. Four more jumps later, and the biggest trout I had ever caught was in my net. Scarred lips, the start of a nice kype, a beautiful, old fish. I never properly measured him, but when he was next to my rod, and curved in the net bag, he substantially exceeded the length from the butt to a wrap at 17 inches, a 20 inch fish for sure. A catch I'll never forget, and a perfect example of why I flyfish.


  1. Great post! Too me, that is why fly fishing is so challenging. You never know from trip to trip what you really might be in for. Only at the end of the day will you really know for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Mel, every day has the potential to be unforgettable, no? :)

  3. My goodness! That is one gorgeous fish! Congratulations on a job well done!