Friday, February 5, 2010

Pyramid Monotony

Cast, wait, strip.  Cast, wait, strip.  Cast, wait, strip.  After monotonously casting continuously from sunrise to sunset while standing on a ladder casting becomes more of a compulsion than a conscious activity.  The corresponding obsession is the potential for the next cast to produce the fish of a lifetime in the form of a double digit pound Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) from Pyramid lake.

The most commonly accepted technique for fishing Pyramid lake is through the use of a step ladder [see photo to the upper left] which is carried out into chest deep water and planted in the sand.  This allows the caster to extend his cast further into the lake and ideally over a drop-off, which these predacious LCT's are well known to cruise along.   The idea is to let the fish come to your fly.  This is completely bass-ackwards from normal fishing conditions where the fisherman stalks the fish in its territory.  The mental strain of have to wait for the fish can sometime be unbearable.  You start to question your pattern, leader, ladder position, presentation, sexual orientation, OK may not the last one, but if there is too much time between bites you never know.

When the bite does finally come it is usually anything but obvious.  When Mr LCT inhales the fly and keeps swimming there isn't a sharp "bite" to feel on the line, just an increased tension and when the next strip comes it catches on the inside of the fish's mouth.  A bite on the line feels just like a snag.  Because Pyramid consists primarily of a sand based substrate (utterly devoid of obstacles) the odds are that you would have hooked that snag a dozen times before now on one of the preceding thousand casts. The coolest sensation is to set steel into a "snag" and feel the rod come alive with spirited fish.  The real difficulty is keeping the mental acuity after thousands of casts to realize that a snag is really a fish and to set the hook immediately. 

The fight is generally anti-climatic unless the fish is above the average size in which case things can get very interesting.  The full body flop of an average fish is evidence that the fish is just a "little" guy (little here is a respectable 18-20" though).  The bigger guys [like the hog to the right] pull much harder and give a lot of shoulder into the fight drawing it out.  I have yet to hook one of the true double digit monsters of the lake,which is the sole reason for which I will continue to return for some boring ladder fishing.