Monday, November 23, 2009

'Pirate Rainbows'

‘Pirate Rainbow' Hunting

I heard there were big rainbows lurking in the waters of the Big N. After checking out the waters Saturday afternoon, in which I caught a couple off guard, I decided to return Sunday for some more swashbuckling.
Sunday morning I met my fish mate Jim at the old grist mill at 8am. Just so be it navigator Harry happened to be there in the lot stringing up. We talked it over and we all got our preferred gear and weapons together and went out on the waters to do some ‘pirate bow’ hunting. With the sun begging to rise in the distance it was still chilly enough that long-johns were appropriate and heavy wool sox for wading the cold waters.
Jim Mate went straight to the short falls. His search brought him a few small rainbow swabbies. Harry and I searched the waters in the most famous part of town for about an hour. I hooked into two brownies this side of the bridge. Harry hooked into a ’bow’ in the deeper part of the waters. After Jim Mate met up with us again we headed downstream where I was sure more notorious big ‘pirate bows’ would be lurking the waters.
The sun never quite opened up into the sunshine we expected so coaxing the ‘bows’ to the surface with dries were not to be. The water below the bridge opened up to shallow riffles that were deep enough to hold hungry pirates before flowing down into darker waters. The pirates would be holding tight to the bottom in the riffles or along the shadows of bank cover. Exposing ourselves to early I was sure going to make them take to the deeper waters. Our movements were to be slow and cautious with long range casts or slow sweeping swings of our tempting offerings. We spotted a few pirate bows docked out from the shoreline, waiting for any pirate hunter to enter the waters from the conspicuous land entries. We stayed among the watery riffles trying to hide our locations.
Soon Jim Mate headed downstream alone to pursue more uncharted waters while Harry and I hunted closely for notorious hidden pirate bows.
Water rumbled, midstream, around the few bigger exposed boulders. The sun was hidden behind gray clouds casting shadows upon the surface waters, the air chilly as we waded among the cold waters. Branchy trees lined the downstream waterway from the main part of town. We searched around each boulder, riffles and waters edge with precise drifts and swings. We came to a small cove overshadowed by long branchy needled pines. Boulders roughened the backdrop banked landscape. Slow smooth water flowed into the dark cover with a natural unhampered flow. A few submerged boulders protected any resting pirates from snaggers or amateurs. We spotted 2 ‘bows’ on sentry this side the entrance of the cove. We snuck up, from the side, and got into position to make a nab.
While Harry worked an olive woolly bugger near the stationary sentries I swung a white bunny leech into a shallow riffle out and downstream from the cove. Wham, a pirate bow tried to steal my offering by surprising me but with my quickness of my weapon I tightened up and sank’r deep. The ‘bow’ splashed water like a double blast of chain shot, shot out of a cannon barrel and falling into the water. I almost lost control from the blinding attack as he stripped off line instantly but I got my composure back and tightened it up and kept him out of the cove from alarming any of the residence in the pirate haven. He battled in the small riffles with his dorsal abruptly showing before turning downstream. I forced him to my right and he followed briefly before quickly turning and heading back towards the tail out of the cove. I kept the rod bent and followed him with the tip letting him fight the current. He finally turned upstream and we sparred shortly before he gave in and I netted him.
Just after releasing the ‘pirate bow’ Harry hooked into one of the sentries. I wasn’t paying attention to the fighting pirate but noticed Harry’s weapon flex for the last time before it straightened and the line went slack. Harry lost the battle and we watched as both sentries entered deeper into the cove.
No pride lost as we weren’t there for the kill, just the fooling and some hearty combat.
We walked away knowing the sparring commotion was a fare warning to our presence outside the pirate haven. We waded to the downstream side of the small grassy island we were on. Harry started to search the riffles of the wide open water. I searched also for a short time then double backed for another try in the pirate cove. I kept my distance with a low profile and side armed my offering far against the rocky cliff under the hanging pine branches. I gave any hungry soul something to think about as the slow swinging bunny leech came into my view just below the tail out of the cove. I moved a little upstream and laid the leech ¾ the way back into the cove. Mending upstream, making sure my presentation would enter the cove first, I lifted the rod tip and jigged the leech towards me and then letting it fall back again. A lighter colored figure darted out from the dark side of the cove and followed my offering. I continued to tease the ‘bow’ by bringing my rod to my left and upstream still jigging the leech. The ‘bow’ couldn’t resist the slow moving target. On a back drift I watched the white leech disappear into the ‘bows’ mouth. I set the hook and the swashbuckling began. After a quick bend of the rod he surfaced with maddening head shakes and body twists. He was like a possessed criminal leashed to a chain. Furiously he bent the rod further and I relentlessly gave him more line for fear of losing him. He turned broadside to the current and the force pushed him downstream even further towards the end of the cove. I lowered the rod and pulled the tip upstream cautiously and he followed momentarily. Turning broadside again he used the current to his favor. We fought like two swashbucklers trying to gain leverage and the upper hand. He threw water, as a distraction, each time he came to the surface. I kept enough tension not to over tension his quick headshakes. Time and again he quickly submerged and the rod flexed with each downstream escape route but I kept my cool and directed him in an opposite direction. With a little finesse of my own I finally convinced him to give in.
Some of the notorious ‘pirate bows’ we had the pleasure of swashbuckling with!

Swashbuckler Broadside

Capt. Hookjaw

Ol' Caudal Fin

Buccaneer Scratch


  1. Nice story, Jerry... Puts trout hunting in an all new perspective! :-)


  2. Gorgeous fishies! Where was the camera girl to catch all the warring? DANG.

    Guess what? Steve's working in North Dakota. He's hoping for a couple of days off so he can go fishing. But man, it's cold there!!

  3. janie, tell your hubby forget N. dakota, the steelhead are running and fishing well. you two need to revisit PA. soon. oh, and bring a coat. lol