There floated my medium sized yellow stimulator on the clear waters of the Columbia river in the beautiful fall sunshine. Like a sitting duck the fly floats still in the calm of that magical dead spot in the V that is created between the downward current and the back eddy current. the fly is only about fifteen feet from shore and it sits there for about 30 seconds and then I see this nose come up to about foot underneath the fly. I have about one second for my mind to say “is that what I think it is” and then in an instant my fly is completely devoured by this fish that makes me whisper to myself “that is the fish I have been waiting my whole life for”. The battle has begun. That fish goes straight to the bottom and just sits there. No jerking, no running, no nothing. Just a steady strong pull that keeps my rod very bowed. The thoughts run through my head-don’t get him on the reel, this one I am going to keep, how big is it, my tippet is going to break for sure, gentle, gentle. I start to ease line in. The fish comes up a bit and then with a fast powerful jerk down to the bottom agian. My wrist is starting to burn from the steady tug of war. Little by little I strip line in and little by little the fish complies. The fish is now about ten feet from me and it gives an airshow. Completely out of water a beautiful red striped rainbow at least 24 inches and oh so fat(5-6 pounds). My heart skips a beat and down to the bottom that fish goes again for more tug of war. Thank god it didn’t throw the hook. Back to easing it up. This time the fish is getting within netting distance. Is this fish ready or is there stiill a bunch of battle in him. “It is too early Clint” I say to myself “that fish is not tired yet”. But it is so close and I don’t want to lose it. I get the leader in my hand and with a quick jerk of its tail it goes down again. I ease the fish back in again and once again the leader is my hand. How quickly I feel the leader loop around my finger. How quickly I feel a tug. And how quickly I feel that all too familiar snapping of line and that fish is instantly gone. 😳 How quickly I find myself sitting on a rock beside the mighty Columbia, in the beautiful sunlight with my head between my hands and my heart in my stomach. :'( What a feeling-elation and loss all wrapped up into one. A moment one remembers always. what a thrill!
Fortunately I did manage to land a 20 inch gerrard rainbow earlier in the day. I have never caught one before. I heard they had big
eyes-they ain’t kidding about that one. Big eyes, huge mouth, different color, different shape, and it played real slow. Beautiful fish and I didn’t have the heart to keep it. It was perfectly hooked for releasing. I did also have a couple of other hits-one instanly snapped my line.
Do I need to get some bigger tippet or do I need a softer touch and more patience? Also when you are by yourself it is so hard to land these big fish. I am always scared of reeling in past the leader in case the fish runs again and a knot gets stuck in the eyes of the rod. My leader is at least 15 feet so it is hard to get close enough to dipnet. I guess I just need to tire the fish out more. What do you think?
Anyways sorry for the long e-mail Rod. Just wanted to let you know how my afternoon on the Columbia was-absolutely amazing. Those big stimulators work so well. what a great place to live. 😀
See you soon.