Monday, February 4, 2013


My brother and I hit the road late in the afternoon.  We walked to the river managing to avoid the bogs and brush.  The sun was setting quickly. Even our polarized glasses had trouble showing us the fish we knew were there.
 As we learned from the previous trip, a black bugger fly was the flavor of choice.  Although we managed two nice fish from this section last time, we were visibly defeated by numerous others.  I personally love fishing streamers to visible fish.  But in this area most of the fish lies were to deep and swift to get the streamers down to them effectively.  So of course I sought to remedy the situation with some ties of my own.
Que, mohair leech with 2 strands of flashabou and 2 strands of peacock hurl in the marabou tail. Add a peacock hurl collar and a ludicrous amount of lead on the shank.
Tyler hooked up a decent 'bow in short order on the first section. We moved down river.  We stopped to fish a hole which held plenty of meat that we were unable to hook into on the previous trip.
While fishing Tyler's line became entangled and knotted at his feet.  So, line and fly swinging down river in the current, he proceeded to puzzle through the knot.
Just upon completion of  his puzzle the swinging fly found flesh.  Line now tight, this fish had spunk.  Not the largest in his stretch, though he was not aware of it.  He took a good amount of line and also put on a show, leaping multiple times into the air 3-4 ft .

After the battle was won, Tyler stepped down the bank to collect his riches.  The landing of his next step was concealed by aquatic vegetation that had grown to the surface.  Unbeknownst to us, a beaver had also devised a labyrinth of pits and falls both in the river and on the bank to cripple fisherman.  Lucky for Tyler he is 6'3", and water just crept over his chest waders.
After this fish it was plenty dark. We headed down to a stretch that seemed like it might fish mouse patterns well.  We stuck to it until 11pm.
It is amazing we made it back to the truck whole and with no damaged equipment.  I ended up on my face and back more than I cared to.
We threw everything in the truck and then found a dirt road to camp on.  Tyler slept in the bed of the truck with his head slightly down hill.  I slept on the road with my head slightly uphill.  Tyler snored soundly all night and woke in the morning with a slight sore throat, ha!  I didn't sleep so good, some awful chupacabra/herd bull hybrid was making a ruckus all night long.  I don't know who got the better end of that deal.
We were on the water about 20 min after sunrise.  Fished until 11am with nothing to show.  By this point the sun was plenty high, we could see the fish.  They weren't in the least concerned with our offerings.  Outside our relationship with the eager chub population we were struggling.
I don't know about other fisherman, but I can fish for hours and hours if I can see the fish.  We had thrown multiple boxes at them, so it was time to start at the beginning again.  Back to the black bugger patterns.
Standing below a pod of fish, stacked up on the bottom, just downstream of a beaver lodge I lay a cast upstream and began experimenting.  I had a 'bow rocket 10' off the bank to smash my fly on a short fast retrieve.
Amazing that so many casts and techniques can yield nothing then at one particular moment some thing happens in a fish and it swims ten feet, with abandon, and inhales the fly.
This 'bow ended up being a one shot wonder.  The same technique/retrieve on the remaining pod was fruitless.
By this point, I was desperate and a bit frustrated.  I cast straight over the top of them with my leader drifting my fly just over their backs.  Nothing.  The next cast I did the same, only this time I let the fly sink to the river bed.  Which awesomely was rock, with very few permanent snags to be found.
My fly was bouncing along the bottom hanging up on small rocks here and there.  If it hung up on a rock for too long I would lift the rod slightly to continue the bounce.  This proved to be effective on these fish.
It was awesome to be able to work the fly along the bottom so slowly, and watch the fish react.  Some of the fish would swim over to the fly and take it casually with no hesitation.  My favorite was a fish that swam over to the bugger while it was hanging on a rock and pinned it to its bed.  Fantastic!  I took 4 fish from this pod with this new bounce/hangup, Awesome!
After pestering this pod to the point were I was certain they had seen everything in my book, I moved downriver to another good pod that did not contain any participants previously.  I was excited to try these fish which had been witness to my failures earlier in the day.  Walking downstream and out of visibility I moved in on them.  I settled just with in reach and sure enough my naysayers were all present.  Curious, one large dark fish had broken away from the mass and moved slightly downstream. Even stranger, this fish was facing downstream casually lying on the bottom.  Its size, coloration, and orientation made me doubt it as a trout. But its shape was NO DOUBT TROUT.
I cast upstream and let the fly drift down stream as it sunk. The fish was in 4-5 ft of water.  The fly came to rest 10-12 inches downstream of him against a weed bed.  The fish had yet to move.  A slight movement of the fly and he pounced!  Not quite as quickly as the rocket from 10 feet away, earlier in the day.  But surely and with intent! He ATE!
I lifted my rod and we were connected.  I was aware it was a larger fish but because of the weed bed that I was fishing beyond and the depth of water that he was relaxing in, I was unaware of his true proportions.
This guy turned into more of a weed hog than a bull dog.
After coming 2 feet into the wall of weeds separating us he sounded to the bottom and swam back out to open water.  Now he's braided me into the weeds and out again.  I thought it best to pull him back into the weeds and let him work against their resistance, than to try and fight him down through the weeds and clear out into the open river.  It worked and quickly.  He settled down just below the surface of the weed bed.
I waded out to find not only my fish but excessive excitement as well!  I saw his true proportions, then I yelled to my brother across the river, "I think this one needs the Camera!"  Awesome!

Although I enjoy the solitude of fishing solo, it doesn't get much better than sharing days like this with your brother!


  1. What a HOG of a fish! And it's always awesome to hear about fisherman using flexibility and creativity to overcome adverse fish conditions. Well played sir!

  2. Austin Orr, thanks for the kudos, truly appreciated!

  3. I caught one of my biggest fish this Dec using the same technique. These fish had been hammered. They were hold overs from previous stockings. They had seen every fly on earth. I noticed though if the fly dragged or paused on the ground they'd show interest. I ended up using a size 4 pink and white clouser and dragged it stopping now and then on the bottom. One of the biggest fish in the pool came over and ate it up. I have a post on it. The pic turned out horrible but your experience was very similar. That one part about the fish rocketing up and then getting nothing afterwards. I've seen that a ton of times. I wonder if those are aggression strikes. The fish is just tired of seeing your fly go by and decides to take matters into its own fins.

    1. There is something truly satisfying in thinking we've figured it out.