why is it that some of the best days of fishing get called into existence by that croaky voice only attainable through a few hours of drunken sleep?
"time to get up and go fishing" croaked robbins as my mind followed suit with one word of encouragment to my lagging body. coffee. a few minutes later we were on our way. breakfast sandwitches and gatorades ushered us to the meeting spot. we shook hands, rigged up, hopped into EDITED truck and headed off to the destination. the temps were in the 50's with the sky a sprinkling overcast and threatening heaveir rain. when it rains it rains. we were going fli-fyshing.
the encouraging reports proved correct. there was 7-10 feet of clear moving water working EDITED, the depths readily visible from an extensive and comfortable vantage point. a quick glance down confirmed the presence of a fish. then another, and another and another. there they sat, holding in the current. hanging out. some of the more rambunctious ones were moving about upstream. occasionally a fish would rise and break the surface.
while the others began to cast for these fish, with old man rivers quickly sticking and promptly dumping one of them, i began to explore the other potentials available from EDITED. EDITED faced the swaying tails of 8-10 nice looking fish.
robbins had told me to tie up something "big and nasty" for the landloced salmon we were to be seeking. the last big and nasty i had tied was 12+ inches of body fitted on a 7/0 hook. its a different game in the fresh water. but being the stubborn striper fisherman i have become, i wanted to see if these salmon would take the flatwing style fly which had produced so well for me in the salt. these flatwing flies were after all based off of old school salmon flies.
a 4 inch size 6 flatwing tied in what grey ghost colors i could muster found its way into the current and sat there in anticipation as nearly all of the visible fish rose to its drift. i managed to get an instant of tight line before the hook came loose. the following drift was taken but missed as well. after that the fish paid the fly no mind.
EDITED sat in the same spot, overlooking a clear bottom with moderate current and dilligently worked his flies repeatedly through the immediate water. he could see every fish presented to, and 45 minutes after his appointed departure time, paul's patience paid off. i had the good fortune of performing my first netting meneuver on a nice long slippery salmon who would dart frantically from the net and slip easily from its imposing grasp. it was a beautiful fish set from head to tail with many rich colors.
EDITED dropped us off at our car and we drove it right back to the fish. it was time to get after it. with one fisherman working the rod and another fisherman acting as eyes and net, we felt as though we could could offer these salmon a pretty good go. as a unit we warmed up with a few casts and scrutinized drifts through some yet untouched water. as the current rod weilder, jesse then made his way around to the now rested first spot, tied on a olive beadhead bugger and took up position. we designed the cast and drift that would put the fly easily within my sight and in front of fish. jesse put it on the money and a ways through the drft several fish readily rose to the fly. "fish on...i mean set!" my directions excitedly got ahead of themselves but worked none the less. we were hooked up, and another nice long salmon eventually tired of its running and jumping and succombed to the net. it was the largest salmon jesse had yet taken from any water. he reported feeling no strike from the fish and upon setting the hook found himself tight!
the fishing unit switched appendages. as jesse surveyed the scene from above i made the same cast as before. mend, drift, swiiinnng... robbins anxiously squirmed for a moment before yelping out the one word i wanted to hear. SET! again there was no detected take, but fish on nonetheless. this was the first salmon i had ever hooked, and certainly the first fish to intermittingly propel its entire flopping body out of water less than a rods length away. not knowing the strength of 4x mono i gingerly played the fish until it could no longer eldude the net. it felt delicate to the touch and begged to be handled with care. in my experience, fresh water fish have a different feel than those of the ocean. but they have a certain asthetic quality not to be found in the salt. this fish was full of subtle and intreguing nuances. it revived easily and left us with smiles and confidence.
again we took up our respective stations, surveyed the water, made the one cast, drift, shouted out SET and landed another nice landlocked salmon. oh the olive beadhead bugger! this fish fought jesse stubbornly, setting the hook so well that its removal left the sticky end of the bugger broken off in the fishes mouth. this fish was released with a piercing and our producing fly had picked up the bill.
i tied on another flatwing, the "nine three", and again we took up stations. cast and mend and drift.....SET! fish not on. neither was the fly. (i believe that this little turn of events is pictured at the end of the video "fli-fyshing"). four for four on first drift takes? man, i'll take it. it was also quite satisfying to find out that my flatwings were well recieved.
the action invariably slowed for nearly an hour before we decided to improvise. we were still fishing with confidence, but we needed to get the fly down and we had no split shot. what did we have? along with the knowleadge that we could solve this puzzle we had one bead head bugger body, complete with bead. a lack of other promising leads prompted us to give it a shot. the bead came off the hook and onto the leader. from his perch jesse reported favorable drifts before noticing that the bead had worked its way down near the fly. on its way it had marred the mono. i moved it a little ways away from the fly and began casting again. SET! this time i had felt a slight take and setting the hook felt the pressure come to and immediately vanish. another effective fly and our only split shot were lost to the waters.
the rain had been steadily building for some time now, and hours in the water had brought on a chill. we continued fishing for a while longer, jesse landing a nice male salmon complete with its own unique coloration. but eventually our day with the salmon came to an end.
we drove off wet, cold, tired and filled with a confidence in our fishing unit. it was just as much fun to spot and watch a fish move to a fly than it was to hook and land one. and with the mobility of the seperate apendages this method promises to be full of potential. it caught fish that a lone fisherman may not have been able to take. old man rivers and i had been making plans and this outing served to stoke our fire and strengthen our resolve. it felt great to come together and effectively fish as one unit. and the best part is that there is much more to come!