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Posts Tagged ‘local flow’

dloop

Tuber and I have been at this two-hander thing for little over two years now. Since early 2007 to be more precise. We both started out picking up more rod than we needed for the waters we fished. Back then we didn’t know better but we didn’t care. We had to get out there and see what it was all about.

We both came at it from different angles. I stumbled upon two-handers on the internet and he was lucky enough to have two buddies who were a year ahead. Now it consumes us and we can’t stop talking about it.

We are probably the only two people who have ever thrown a two-hander on the Anchor, Bird, and Ship. I know I am probably the only person who has worked the two-hander at the peak of sockeye season in Southcentral. Not exactly the proper stage but it’s water and it was what we had to work with. If you’ve ever fished those waters you know it doesn’t take much more than a nine footer to cover every inch of water and then some. To say the two-hander was overkill would be an understatement. The Anchor was probably the worst place to apply the art. Most of the time we just flipped the tip. Bird and Ship weren’t much better but at least you could stretch one out there once and a while when the tide was in. We usually ended up fishing water others wouldn’t or couldn’t.

We got some stares and some funny looks for sure. Thirteen feet of rod and fly line thick enough to winch a jeep out of the mud flats is strange if you didn’t know any better. It was fun and we felt like pioneers.

Lucky for us we’ve been able to find some proper water to apply the down and across. Like the stretch of water we go back to every spring and the new piece I discovered this year. And the old water that’s new water because we can now look at things from an entirely different angle.

This two-hander business has changed everything. I find myself fishing the single-hander and throwing spey casts about half the time now. It’s opened up new water and has made those tough spots easier to fish. Now it seems as though there is no piece of water we can’t fish.

At first we knew very few people who ever used a two-hander on the waters we fished. We never saw another person swinging the big stick. Now it seems more and more folks are toting along a two-hander. There aren’t many but it’s growing. I’ve never actually seen someone outside of our crew making the casts and taking the steps. It’s equivalent to a big foot sighting I suppose. I’ve seen a few pictures but have yet to run into someone on the water working the two-hander.

I think that is cool.

A little over two years into it and I’ve managed to collect a few things. A lot of it is gear but a big chunk has been knowledge and experience. I started out barely chucking the head of a Rio Skagit 450, a 10 foot cheater, and a 10 foot T-14 tip on a Sage 7136 Z. I now know why the 450 wasn’t cutting it for me on the 7136 and what it takes to chuck a giant bunny leech (if you don’t know yet I’ll give you a clue – short, fat and more grains per foot). Now I’ve got the 7136 loaded with Airflo Ridge, Compact Skagits heavy enough to launch a dead chicken, and a shit ton of zip lock bags of custom made sinktips. I’ve also managed to pick up two more sticks more appropriate for the waters I fish. The 6126 Z helps bring some smaller water in to play and makes tangling with the everyday fish that much more fun. A new addition, the 6110 Z, makes brushy bank channels and brushy freestones where trout like to hide accessible and a blast for swinging sculpins and leeches.

A few thousand casts later and I can now make the cast more often to get me fishing. I know a little more about how to fish a swinging fly and not just leave it up to chance.  What keeps me truck’n along is  looking for more pieces of water and opportunities close to home to swing up more rainbows, more steelhead and that first king on the two-hander.

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The days leading up to last Tuesday weren’t painting the best picture for a day on the local flow. Temperatures were pushing 80 and the intel coming in was that the local was low, very clear and the fish were super wary (that is if you could find them). With my brother riding shotgun again this time, I was determined to bring a few to the net. The last time we fished together we were the visitors and we got worked by the home team. New game…home court advantage this time.

This time of year you have to pay close attention to the clues around you if you hope to find a fish or two. There aren’t as many fish around and the conditions are not in your favor. There is no chuck it and hope. All that’ll get you is hours and hours of casting practice.

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Immediately after the launch the reports were confirmed…clear as a glass of water. I can’t remember ever being able to see the bottom midstream. The program for today was to try and get my brother into as many fish as I could and then one more. I was playing guide today.

A few of the real guides were out today and not much other traffic. Made for a pleasant float. The fact that it was a weekday helped out as well.

The low and clear conditions brought out all of the stealth moves. Super long leaders, small flies, and slow, deliberate approaches. Fish were around. They were where you would expect them to be on any other hot summer day…undercover and using every bit of their surroundings to keep it that way.

Tough day but a good day.

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It’s no secret that by the end of next month, those peaks will be covered with snow. At this point it is a little overwhelming because it doesn’t seem like we ever had summer. The end of the season is drawing near and like the fish, I’m rushing to get in one more bite. I’m doing whatever it takes to stretch it out even further.

The forecast for the rest of the season seems good. This week we are hosting The Neil Creek CEO on some of our home waters. Next month will be devoted to the two-hander swinging flies for big rainbows and steelhead. That will most likely cap off the season here in Alaska as winter will force most everyone off the water.

On deck for November is a trip outside to chase ghosts in the Pacific Northwest. If all goes well, that will undoubtedly be the highlight of the season.

Winter is on it’s way. No doubt about that. This afternoon I watched as geese flew in formation across the gray, cloud filled sky. They pointed south. Obvious indication that change is in the air.

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