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Archive for the ‘Fishing’ Category

I’m a week into being plugged back into the “real” world. I have to tell you the transition has been rather difficult. Inundated with alerts, messages, ring tones, and other artificial things is causing my animal spirit to bury deep back into the hiding place it was before the trip. It’s been a struggle but not entirely unexpected.

Five days on the water with the cell phone quitting after river mile 0.13 enabled me to tap into something everyone has but probably never gets the opportunity to let breath. I was on river time with nothing but a beginning and an end to help guide me through the day. Never a wasted moment…everything…including the catnap…full of purpose.

It all started with a 4+ hour drive toward Canada with a strategic left at the end to keep us out of their backyard…eh. Add to that a pleasant midnight cruise across the lake and the trip was well underway.

Routine was simple. Breakdown camp…float to next camp…setup camp. Add a little sprinkling of food, beer, fishing, beer, napping, beer, ladder ball, beer, lounging, beer…you get the idea.

It’s hard to capture the entire 5 days in a post and frankly I don’t think I want to. I’m sure I’d lose most folks at about page 2 and a lot of it you “just had to be there”. So in a nutshell…

Covered 50+ river miles in 4 rafts with 13 dudes and caught enough grayling to last a lifetime. Lived in the moment and missed being home with the family. Ate good and slept good. Laughed a lot and smiled a lot. Lost a few things and found a few more. Shared a few things and learned a few things. Rested a little and fished a lot. Caught the big one and lost the big one. Got dirty and lived like a bear.

Good trip.

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Arrrrgh!!!!!

That’s not what came out of my mouth after I blew it on the hookset but you get the idea. By my count I wasn’t quite to my thousandth cast which may explain why I fumbled this one. It wasn’t supposed to happen that soon. Fish of a thousand casts right?

The morning produced nothing for Jay and me, so when we came back in the afternoon I was feeling anxious knowing that in a few hours we had to start making our way back home. Earlier we had worked a sweet piece of water with all the elements for a happy ending. Deep…but not too deep. Fast…but not too fast. Choppy…but not too choppy.

Just right if you know what I mean.

I remember calling it as we walked along the snowy bank that one of use was going to hook up on this stretch. What I should have said is that one of us was going to bring a fish to hand. In hindsight I jinxed it from the start.

First pass through this long stretch, from tip to tail, produced nothing. Not a bump, a tug or a grab. No need to get discouraged. By my count I was at about cast 420 of 1000. No sweat. Just keep grooving those casts out there. No need to get too excited until we get around cast 999. Until then just sit back and enjoy the nature around you.

Before the second pass I decided to change flies to something a bit more flashy. The sun had been out all day and the water seemed to be getting a bit dirty. I figured the fish needed a little help locating the goods. I worked my way down about halfway to around cast 447 when it happened.

At that sweet spot just down and across, the bastard fish grabbed a hold of my fly and tugged back firmly twice. Hindsight once again…I suspect this is when the fish decided to take my fly down and once it felt some resistance or the Owner Sz 2 began to shake it’s head. Only being at 447 of 1000, I was obviously in La La Land, enjoying the flora and fauna around me and thinking to myself how bright the sun is and how the wind has picked up and is now coming upriver and how I should probably avoid the double spey and go with a Snap T and on the next pass I should go with something completely different or stay with this fly because the sun is still out.

La La Land is right because once I felt the tug I hauled back immediately (damn fast twitch muscles), felt the weight of the fish, watched it roll on the surface and saw the fat skagit head go limp.

Seriously!?!? WTF! Arrrrgh!!!!!!!

I should have paid better attention. I should have let that bastard fish turn and take the fly back to it’s hidey hole. I should have waited for the reel to start clicking a bit. I should have…

My only takeaway from the trip was a banged up knee after jumping off some shore ice, stumbling on the landing and going down on my right knee onto the rocks to save me from going swimming. That’s not entirely true. I did takeaway that the fish don’t give a crap what cast you’re on. I need to be ready at all times. Only throw it out there if I’m ready to set the hook. Not at first though…wait until that bastard turns with it.

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I spent two days with the 4 weight on a small creek casting between bright red fire trucks. Trying hard not to hook one of the bright red beasties and trying even harder not to break off and re-rig. When they’re fresh and chrome they’re worth the fight, now they’re just a nuisance keeping me from the real prize.

My timing was good. Found them everywhere I thought they would be. Tucked in behind the spawners they were easy to spot. Most were scrappy but a few made the old Hardy sing a little tune.

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I’m beginning to think you can’t catch humpies when it’s sunny outside. For me it has to be pissing down rain before I even think about casting a fly to humpies. I know when the run is peaking in this particular creek when the weather forecast shows 5 straight days of downpour.

Great way to spend the day on light gear and a good opportunity to put those junker flies to good use. You know the flies I’m talking about. Something went awry in the construction or you just don’t like the way it turned out and now it isn’t worthy to take up space in your fly box but you don’t have the heart to throw it out or the motivation to salvage the hook. You know…this fly.

Lucky for me, humpies really don’t give a darn what the thing looks like. They only care that it’s violating its personal bubble.

One of a bazillion that force their way up into every flowing piece of water about this time every year. This one I happened to nab in one of those small windows when it isn’t pouring down rain.

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Just a small sample of what Alaska has to offer. Razor clams and sockeye salmon. Next month we’ll try to grab some coho salmon and wild mushrooms.

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Fly Fishing Film Tour is rolling back into town. About time someone brought this thing to the Bear Tooth.

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