I’ve always wanted to have a fish story. You know, a tale of the big one that got away, the story I could inflate to such grand proportions that no one would believe me but everyone would love me for telling such a hilarious and entertaining story. Since I started fly fishing in late July, I still have yet to garner such an achievement, but I figure I’ve got plenty of fishing time left in my life to come up with some masterpieces. For now, I’ll put on my newbie role and muse about some of my experiences in my first 5 months of fishing.
The Big Ones
I did catch some big ones this year. They were huge, fighting monsters that grabbed my beadhead wooly buggers and Howell’s Big Nasty flies and ran to the bottom of the rather large river near my apartment. These monsters, I was sure, were snapping up my imitation crawfish and quickly making a run under some log or giant boulder that was perfect protection from this evil stinging bugger. I fought valiantly with these beasts, pulling and reeling, certain that the fish would finally tire and I’d have a giant pike in hand. One day I fought for 45 minutes with this guy, but never saw him even come to the surface. Hell, I even broke a rod once.
It wasn’t until I hooked and landed my first trout, actually fought the bugger and felt its weight on my rod, that I realized the hearty beasts I’d been fighting throughout August and September were never going to be landed. Such is the nature, I think, of rockfish and treefish.
I did, however, land a monster of a fish on the big river across from my abode. This guy, pictured right, took me by surprise as I was untangling a wind knot I’d somehow managed (through no fault of my own, of course). My fly dangling and bouncing in the film must have gotten his attention, as he slammed the fly hard and made a run for it. This colorful beauty was my first fish caught since I was 8 years old, and my very first caught on a fly rod. Well, fly line, at least.
The First Trout
I became a legitimate fly fisherman the day in October I caught my first trout. It was a fine brookie sporting its beautiful fall colors, caught on a z-wing beadhead nymph that I think I tied myself. I had the beadhead nymph tied on as a dropper to another z-wing caddis nymph, and let the rig dead drift down through the waiting school. As I simultaneously let the flies swing around and began to strip the line in to retrieve, I saw my strike indicator jump. The line pulled taut and I had a fish on! I was so excited I didn’t really know what to do. Thankfully, there were a few other more seasoned fishermen casting in the same pool (“The Aquarium” as it’s known, generally has a few guys fishing right on top of each other, trying mightly to avoid crossed lines and crossed tempers), and they were able to help me figure out how to strip the line, then reel the line, then net the fish. One even offered to take a picture of my first trout. It was a mighty fine day, and although I didn’t land any more fish that day, I was ecstatic with the 12 incher I did catch.
A Few More Pics From The 2010 Season