So, yeah. I don't expect you to believe me. I didn't have my camera or even my phone when I stopped by a local stream to see if any fish were rising. First off, I didn't expect to catch anything and even if I did the average fish here usually doesn't break the 10" mark. So no big deal, just an excuse to test the waters.
The water was low and clear with a sputtering midge hatch when I arrived. I worked my way down to my usual starting spot and stopped to watch the water for a few minutes before casting. With the fish not showing their cards I figured I might be able to pick on up on a nymph. I worked over the first hole pretty methodically, keeping my flies as close to the bottom as I could. Stopping only to clean off the green muck that grows in this stream now and covers your flies completely. Nothing. No hits, flashes, follows, anything. So I threw on an olive Woolly Bugger figuring I'd quickly cover the water on the way back to the car and head home. A deeper hole behind a small log jam caught my eye and I tried a few casts but couldn't get a drift without wading to the other side of the stream. Since I didn't bring my waders either, I decided to mount the jam and drop my fly just on the other side. A little jigging action and a slash of gold engulfed my fly. I hardly had to set the hook and the fight was on. Keeping the brute out of the tangles at my feet was no small task, but I managed to work him downstream and into my net (yes, I did grab a net for some reason).
Never thought I'd see a fish over 20" come from this little stream. Let alone this beauty with orange flanked sides and a hooked jaw that was now resting in my net. But who would believe me? I was pretty sure that a few people I know would believe. I also knew that a few people most definitely wouldn't. Do I care? Should I keep the fish to avoid the doubt? Or, should I release the fish and have the chance to catch him again? Aren't I past this? I've released bigger fish. I've also kept some for the table...
The dilemma flashed before my consciousness even as I lowered the front of my net out of his way and his tail slipped from my hand. He brooded for a moment in the shallow pool in front of me before taking off for the shadow of an undercut bank. Hopefully I'll get to meet him again someday, or, better yet, one of my boys.
Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.
|More like what I'm used to from this stream|
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