Lately I’ve been getting myself in the mode of walking more than fishing. I never really have any preconceived plan to walk in far. It just kind of happens. I think it is the allure of knowing that the further I walk in, the less chance I have of seeing other guys on the water. So I just start walking and see where I end up. The problem is you can’t walk for half an hour without breaking a good sweat. So I usually end up with layer upon layer, stripped off and attached to the back of my pack with carabiners.
Today the long walk was largely unnecessary because there were no other cars in the parking lot but mine. I guess it’s just a habit though because I ended up a long distance from my vehicle. Unfortunately, I walked so far this time that I ended up running into another fisherman coming up from the lower access. So I basically left a prime spot next to an empty parking lot, to walk a few miles, sweat my ass off, and end up getting sloppy seconds all afternoon. Yep, I botched that one. Luckily the fishing was so good that it didn’t seem to matter that I was fishing behind someone else.
The first spot I dropped into is one that is about as good as they get for winter holding lies. There is a fast shallow riffle that drops off quickly and rolls into an endlessly deep green, slow moving depression. It gave up a half dozen miniatures very quickly before I finally felt the rod double over under the weight of a good fish.
Unlike the first group I caught, this fish stayed down. That’s usually the infallible sign of a good brown. Those fish are the ones that bury themselves deep and move slowly, lumbering around the hole as if they know they are unstoppable. The fight lasted about 3 or 4 minutes before I got the first look at the fish. It was a definitely a good one. Maybe good enough that the Jameson would be coming out.
When it comes to fighting big fish, I’m of the belief that you have to stay on them and apply constant pressure. I don’t normally back off and fight them gingerly. I feel the longer you’re fighting the fish, the greater the chance of something going terribly wrong. I noticed this fish was hooked on the tiny insignificant WD40 though. So I made the mistake of loosening up a bit, mostly because I was worried that the tiny hook would pop out. The fish seemed to be licked though. What could go wrong now? Another 30 seconds and he was mine.
I was already picturing the flask coming out for the victory drink when the unexpected happened. An 8 inch long kamikaze came flying out of nowhere and took my lead fly, the egg! I’m not sure what possessed this fish to take the moving egg, but I now had myself in a predicament. Normally I’d welcome a double, but not when one of the fish was picture worthy. That bottom fish was too big to be playing tag team with the apoplectic miniature who was now angrily shaking erratically.
It was over before I could do anything. My shit snapped right above the top fly. I stood there, incredulous at what just happened. That little bastard jumped in there, trying to play hero, and ruined the upcoming photo op I had with his buddy. Normally I don’t curse, but four-letter words flowed from my mouth the entire time it took me to rig up again. It was a great fish lost, partially because I played it safe, and mostly because of the heroics of his compadre. Simply unbelievable.
Well that ended up being the best fish of the day. Action was great and I picked up a few solid mid to upper teens fish. Nothing like the fish I lost though. Lesson learned.