Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Bit Cold Out

Every trip begins at the vice trying to anticipate what flies will work and tying up some other patterns just in case the first bit of inspiration doesn't pan out. The trip in question was going to be an over-nighter for the two days after Thanksgiving. I think about a lot of different things when I tie flies and since this session was heavy on Simi-Seal Leeches and a little soft hackle pattern I've been tying for the past 20 years, so I could afford to let my mind wander. Obviously, I have much to be thankful for including the most wonderful wife a guy could ever hope for, two amazing kids, and a life we've created that allows me to run off and spend a couple of days fishing with my Dad and brothers whenever we can wangle it.

Once the flies were tied and the equipment packed I received the call that I was dreading. My dad was on the line explaining how if we went tomorrow my brother Jeff wouldn't be able to come with us. Being the generous types that we undoubtedly are, we decided to postpone for a day so that Jeff would be available. So black Friday saw me hanging around the house until mid-day when I finally headed up to my Dad's for the short night on the couch. Before I turned in I tied everyone up a new leader and replaced a couple of fly lines for my Dad. Of course Jeff texted us in the morning letting us know that he was sick and wouldn't be coming.

Lots of deer acting dumb during the rut

It was a long drive, but with an early start and no surprises we made it just after first light. Getting out of the truck brought the reality of how cold it was. With quickly numbing hands and iced up guides we brought the first fish to hand (which of course made them colder). Whenever we come fishing here it seems like all we catch are rainbows, but once we made that comment the tigers came out in force to prove us wrong. I love catching rainbows, but having another fish in the mix definitely keeps things interesting.

Awesome color on one of Weston's many fish

Cool hooked jaw on this one

Tigers sure can be pretty
After fishing for a short while my Dad told me he was having some trouble with his 5 wt. I built this rod for him a few years ago (looking at it shows how far I've come) so I'm a little protective. Turns out part of the reel seat came off of the main part of the rod. I'm not sure if this has more to do with the weight of the automatic reel he insists on using, the cold, or if I did something wrong on the initial build (I'll let you know how the repair goes). Luckily, this was to be the maiden voyage for the 8 wt I built for him over the summer (check it out here). On only the 2nd cast he'd ever made with the rod he pulled in a decent tiger, talk about a good start.

Should be an easy fix, just wondering why it happened

Pretty good way to break in a new rod

Seems like everywhere we wet a line there were fish willing to eat. At one spot my brother Weston and I probably caught twenty or more small fish before something larger came to play. I instantly knew that the fish that had taken my Simi-Seal Leech was quite a bit bigger than anything else I'd caught that day. After a quick fight I brought the hog to the net for a quick pic and release.

She's a chunk
The cold followed us all day, but the last spot we fished seemed to be slightly warmer and we spotted several nicer fish out cruising. I tried adding a soft-hackle behind my leech but continued to only attract the attention of the smaller fish. On went a chironomid under an indicator which brought some looks and close calls but no better fish. The day was starting to run out and Weston wanted to look for some coyotes before we had to head back home so we packed it up long before I was ready to call it quits. I was sure glad to make it back home the next day but the fish that got away are still keeping me awake at night! Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.
- Kidder

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