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Posts Tagged ‘beads’

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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The Neil Creek Estate is now $20 richer and I’m out one lunch at Charlie’s. Halfway into the trip I caved and threaded onto the end of my leader a bead. That’s right kids…it’s over. I can go into all sorts of philosophical discussions on what eventually unfolded but in the end the decision was mine.

A couple of days earlier I had arranged to meet up with Savoy of Mostly Right, Usually who was in the state on a month and a half fishing safari. A couple of quick emails and a phone call or two and things were set. Jay and I met up with Savoy at the take out. What a relief when we saw Savoy finally. A conversation just prior to this moment had Jay and I on guard. One of us was making it out alive if things went bad. Sorry Jay but you weren’t the one.

With introductions out of the way we made our way to the launch. It started out great. Within the first few hours I had racked up 3 fish, one being a good sized rainbow on a glo bug. Good, considering the handicap.

At this point, I thought all was well. | Photo by J. Kim

Jay hadn’t posted a score yet drifting flesh and glo bugs. He was definitely getting a little twitchy. Savoy on the other hand was hooking into fish after fish. It was obvious he could handle himself on the water and armed with beads and a green balloon, he was catching fish at a steady pace, which didn’t help the situation.

Lost count. | Photo by D. Yi

Jay and I both packed along beads just in case Savoy wasn’t loaded up with the hottest colors. I figured this was his first time and it would be a shame if he went home without hooking a crap load of fish. That right there was my first mistake. I should have asked. A short while into the trip, Savoy pulled out a guide box of beads. If you don’t know what that is let me explain. A guide box is about the size of a small briefcase, clear, with a shit load of compartments stuffed with every color and size bead imaginable in it’s own cozy little spot. It’s what every guide carries on their boat. If you’ve ever seen a display of beads in a fly shop, imagine that with a lid.

Jay and I debated back and forth whether we would string one up. For a while there we held out telling each other if we didn’t hook a fish in this run we were beading on the next. Our luck eventually ran out and that time finally came as we watched Savoy hook into another. We were running a blank on this particular run after working it hard for some time. I’d fish a spot only to have Savoy pick my pocket with a bead.

I remember looking at Jay and mumbling something about a bead not changing the way I’m fishing. I mean come on…I’d fish the bead just like I was fishing this lame ass glo bug. At the same time we both reached into the bottom of our packs and pulled out our case of beads. There was no turning back now. We knew what we were about to do.

Beginning of the end. | Photo by D. Yi

The decision didn’t come easy. I mean, up until that point I had thrown everything. Glo bugs, leeches, buggers, flesh, steak & eggs, poached eggs, scrambled, sunny side up, sunny side down, intruders, sculpins, and some messed up shit I tied up the night before. Oh sure, I caught a few fish but it wasn’t enough. I knew what the fish wanted and it wasn’t what I was serving. I could have easily avoided the spawn and not fished during the next few weeks. What would that have proved? You know what though…facing things head on is the only way you get answers. I got my answer and I’m okay with that. I’ll keep testing the water though…trying to find what else works.

After stringing up that bead…next cast…and BAM…it was on. For the rest of day we pulled out fish from every fishy looking spot. I handled the sticks the whole time and Savoy and Jay…what can I say. I took them through the drift and they hooked one after another.

Nice feesh. | Photo by D. Yi

Warming up. | Photo by D. Yi

Back in the bag of tricks go the beads. Can’t deny their effectiveness and on fish that have honed in on the spawn, it is the only thing that works well. On the day we drifted, there were too many boats to count. You can imagine the number of presentations the fish see on any given day. They grow wise to the game and that is good. Unfortunately for the fish the bead is about as perfect as you can get just short of using the real thing.

Spoke with a lot of people that day and they reported fair success…a dozen or so fish. When one group asked us how we were doing we told them we were having a pretty good day and hooked seven in this run alone. They were amazed. Just goes to show you that the bead isn’t the silver bullet. A little bit of skills goes a long way.

So for now, I will be throwing beads until later in the Fall. I’ll continue to mix it up a bit to see if I can’t find another way. Not much longer and I’ll be able to swing flies again. A few more weeks of the elements and this will bring out the big boys.

Circle of life. | Photo by D. Yi

Savoy my man…it was good fishing with you. If you make it up again next year give me a shout. Plan for a month later the next time and bring the 8 weight. The fish are much bigger later in the fall.

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Around the corner

Late summer 2004 | Photo by D. Yi

Pulling into the middle of August and the salmon are beginning to spawn. The activity is light at this point with the kings kicking things off first, but any day now the sockeye are going to drop and all hell will break loose. At the height of the spawn there are loose eggs everywhere and you can find them stacked in every place imaginable.

In the midst of the drop, the rainbows and dollies go crazy snatching up any loose egg not secured in the river bottom. The buffet line is huge and more than enough to go around. At this point, the fish have one thing on their mind and that is to stuff themselves full of egg chow.

Although in the past I’ve never fished anything but a bead, I imagine throwing anything but would be futile at best. At least that is what folks have been telling me.

Fish on every cast ain’t a myth and at times, like last year for example, it can get a little stale.

Fell for the bead | Photo by T. Satake.

I’m still holding firm to my commitment of not using beads. Now it’s put up or shut up time. I’m planning to fish throughout the spawn when I can and am coming armed with what I hope will pull those fish away from the bead.

We’ll see how this goes down.

The positive side of all this is that I carry much less gear than I used to. No more multiple boxes of beads, along with split shot, rubber bands, toothpicks, and indicators. I used to rattle when I walked. Now I just carry a box of streamers, a few sink tips, hand tied leaders, and tippet. I gotta say it’s kind of nice!

Folks around town are stocking up on beads and the chit chat is centered around when the big drop is going to happen. At the fly shops it is non-stop talk about bead size, bead color, and where to throw a bead.

And then there were two. Collectively the crew decided to pull beads out of the bag of tricks. I seem to recall some bold statements by a few members. It seems as though a few of us have decided to use again. In the face of adversity it was just too much to handle.

No doubt about it...these things work well...too well. | Photo by D. Yi

Story goes that some rather large trout in a small stream up North refused every offering. It’s not surprising since the salmon are spawning and are keying in on eggs. Why they were carrying beads in the first place surprises me. In the end these boys decided to rig up beads and proceeded to hook one fish after another. These boys will go nameless until I can get the story straight from the fisher’s mouth.

Jay on the other hand is fishing this weekend and without hesitation said he was going to throw beads. Damn fool…after all that talk.

Well Tuber…looks like it is just you and me.

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