Posted in Fishing, General, Steelhead, Two-hander, tagged beads, bobbers, deuce, fast twitch muscles, indicators, rusty, thousand casts on May 11, 2012|
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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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Days between fish ain’t so bad when the only reason you haven’t tailed one is because you just haven’t been out. Alaskans routinely go through this…it’s called winter. Yeah it sucks but the reason is clear. You accept it and move on.
There is a whole new level of suck when you’ve been out there and things aren’t really turning out the way you expected. Several trips in and not a tug or a pull or one tailed. Didn’t help that the wind was always blowing in the wrong direction and strong enough to knock down trees. Seriously. One trip I heard a tree across the river snap and come crashing to the ground. From now on I am listening to those “winter storm warnings”.
A lot goes through your mind as fishless day adds to fishless day. You begin to wonder if it’s going to happen. You keep telling yourself that it’s just a matter of time and to keep making the casts and taking the steps. You wonder if you didn’t make a mistake by not fishing the usual spots and instead opting to explore new water. You begin to second guess your new fly theory and wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just go back to what worked before. You think to yourself are the fish even here? Maybe they’re over there or over there? Maybe I should have run through one more time? Is five feet of 10# enough? Should I go shorter…longer? Do I have the right sinktip on?
A lot of questions and not a lot of answers.
Then on the last trip of the season it all falls into place. A person who shall go unnamed had started things rolling by getting three solid grabs. Two were teasers to get his attention. The third was solid and would have been the fisher’s first of the year if it weren’t for him fumbling his new clicker reel. Cold fingers make it tough to pinch the running line between your fingers during the hookset. Add to this a reel with just enough “drag” to keep it from free-spooling and a newbie in the clicker reel plus big fish department and you end up with tug tug…ZZZT…ZZZT…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! It was tragic and made him think real long and hard about switching that Hardy clicker for the Nautilus in his pack.
So when someone in your group hooks up on the first fish of day it sets off something within the rest of the group. You focus a bit more and you pay attention to each little pull, bump, and nudge. You just know that any minute now it’s going to happen to you. My first fish picked up the fly and just ran with it. I had gained enough line to bring the back of the head to the reel when the fish just seemed to let go. I blame it on a weak hookset. I don’t think the hook ever really got settled in.
The next fish came a bit later. The hookup was aggressive. Quick set and the fish made two big jumps. A few long runs and I was able to tail my first fish of the year. My new super, secret fly pinned right in the corner.
I know the photo is a bit blurry. The guy behind the camera helped tail the fish and the water was super cold. As for all that wind this Spring. It was without a doubt the worst wind I’ve ever fished in. Hands and face hurt like a mudderfukker. One of the guys in the crew suggested this.
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Posted in Fishing, Gear, General, salmon, Two-hander, tagged 7130, Alaska, chinook, king, springer, ummm are you sure this is a good idea, vt2, worry about it later on April 6, 2010|
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Picked this up used just recently. A lot of good press on this stick. Folks say it is more an 8 than a 7. I’m hoping that is the case. I got a 600 compact skagit that hasn’t gotten a lot of airtime. I’m thinking it will handle it just fine.
The plan is to string this up for kings. I know it isn’t the “right” stick to go after kings but I figure I won’t feel so bad if this thing explodes on me if and when I get lucky enough to tie into one. I suppose I could have picked up a 9wt. Another time perhaps. For now the 7130 fits nicely. A good backup for my primary 7wt and a loaner for my brother when he visits.
The water I plan to fish isn’t all that big and the fish aren’t HUGE. The big kings are tough no matter what weight rod you are using. I’ve caught a few on the ol’ singlehanders…8wts, 9wts, and 10wts. Exploded a 9wt trying to keep a king from turning back into the current. Should be fun.
The VT2 7130 seems like it has some meat down low. No sense worrying about it now…I’ll just figure out what to do when the time comes.
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