Thursday, July 10, 2014

Montana, day 4. Sweetgrass and the Beaverhead

My idle days are behind me, and I'm looking forward to starting my week at Sweetgrass. I wasn't sure what time to show up, and seeing as how I'm still jet lagged enough to wake up every morning around 5AM, I pulled into the parking lot at Twin Bridges around 8:30AM, just in time to meet Dave, the first person on the job. We chatted for a bit, talked about mutual acquaintances, and I got started with sanding a blank. I met Glenn Brackett and the rest of the crew, and got to work on the first day with lots of rough miilling of bamboo strips and gluing of blanks. Dave handed me a loaner rod that I could use for the week I was there, and my day was over at 3pm, plenty of time to put it to use. I threw on an english-made Battenkill and was off.

I decided to enter the Beaverhead at a bridge between Dillon and Twin Bridges, but I found it difficult to wade. Just downstream from the bridge, I noticed multiple large carp cruising back and forth through the deep pool, and I figured now was a good time as any to try to catch one for the first time. I switched out the Sweetgrass 4/5 weight for my Epic 580 as I didn't want to damage the bamboo loaner rod. I tied on one of the Trouser Worms from McTage that I tied a few months ago. It took a while, but I finally dialed in the action and hooked a carp, which immediately broke off. Now I was determined. Next, I landed a foot long suckerfish. Twenty minutes or so later, I hooked into another one. He ran me around a log, got loose, and left me snagged. Now I was really determined. Another 15 minutes or so of trying, and I hooked another carp, firmly this time. He ran downriver to the backing almost immediately. I tried my best to keep him away from the brushy banks. I moved slowly upriver as far as I could, gaining line all the while. As soon as the leader came within a few feet, he took off on anoter strong run back downstream. It took way too long to land him, but it was a great feeling to finally land my first carp on the fly. I can see why people call them "The Poor Man's Bonefish". They're a selective and determined fish that doesn't get the respect it deserves.

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