Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Big Fish Story

I caught a monster fish this last weekend. I'd like to say that the act of sticking this toad was due to sheer talent or skill, but I know that isn't entirely true. I could also say that I was simply lucky, which I was to some extent, but that wasn't entirely true either. I think what it boiled down to was a combination of being at the right place and time (luck) and having an adequate fly presentation acceptable for old uncle Walter (skill).  Personally, I believe that luck favors the prepared. 

It had already been a fantastic fishing trip because earlier that afternoon the bite had turned on in a BIG BIG way. It was quite possibly the best afternoon of trout fishing I have ever had as every 5th or 6th cast produced a slam on the end of my flyline. Each fish was not just the average fish, which for this lake is big in its own right, but the were big chunky trout. The afternoon produced 6 fish between 7 and 10 lbs. Unbelievable fishing. When the action finally died, we celebrated with numerous cheeseburgers and beers while lauding our afternoon's piscatorial conquests.

Even then with a full belly, a beer buzz, and the knowledge that I should be satisfied with the days fishing I found that I was still unsatisfied. The urge inside of me beckoned me back to the water to continue fishing.  As the sun began it's evening decent into the horizon so did I launch from shore in my pontoon boat.

By this point in the trip my path around the lake was well grooved. I had made the same casts over the same water dozens of times over the weekend. As my attention was diverted to the next positioning of my boat, my line went tight. This wasn't the same slam I had gotten all afternoon, but rather a more delicate pull on the line. The fish's initial response wasn't typical for a big fish as I was given a few quick head shakes usually indicative of a smaller fish. The secondary response of a blistering run into my backing and towards the nearest weed patch slapped the beer buzz away with a new found focus on this particular fish.

I had to pull my anchor up with my non casting hand (an awkward process at best let alone with only one hand) and then I was able to give chase. Paddling after the fish, I had to get my backing back and get some fly line on the reel so that I could put some semblance of side pressure on the fish and steer him out of the weeds. The fish still made it into the weed bed, but (luckily or purposefully?) I had been fishing heavier tippet all weekend and it held the fish as it shook through the vegetation. After a lengthy tug of war, the fish was finally tired enough to come to the net and I had a new personal record. A 31" and 16lbs rainbow trout.  Now, I was completely satisfied.