Bighorn Excursion (day 4, last day)
'The Bighorn' Birthday Style
I can talk about the rolling stretch of water we were fishing in. The way the indicator pulled down or the way the big trout grabbed the swinging bi-color worm at the end of the drift. The sudden plunge, the tug, the quick flex of the Cortland 4wt 9’ Big Sky rod. I’m sure you get the picture.
I can try to explain the sudden surge of a big rainbow darting upriver, subsurface, as the tensioned line follows behind him. Water spitting upward off the fast moving line and leader as it cuts through the water surface. But I most likely couldn’t do it justice.
Only those that have held the rod with a heavy fighting trout on the other end can truly feel what I’m trying to say. Your hand tightens around the cork grip, your forearm muscles tighten and your wrist semi-locks, ratcheting in step with each sudden surge or turn of the big fish trying to keep the rod up from the pressure. You can feel his true weight, almost know his size before seeing him, by the way he holds up in a deep undercurrent break and you can’t budge him. Than when he had enough of that the real fight begins when he gets mad. He lunges against the pull and uses the quicken current in his favor. The whole while your heart’s pumping as you keep tension on the big trout. When he doesn’t move towards shore, with a side pull, you force him upstream just to keep him moving. You play him well, letting him fight the flexed rod strength trying not to give him more line. When you can you ever so cleverly reel in line when the trout gives you the chance, drawing him closer.
I’m talking about meaty strong wild trout that live in the constant flow of a tail-water dam. Not a big fish in a small to medium size stream with slow to little current flow to rest in. Big water wild trout active in 39 degree water temps. Wild brown trout that give an alligator roll trying to get loose. Rainbows that shoot out of the water, twisting their bodies, trying to throw the hook. Trout that don’t give up easily and give that one last get-away attempt when seeing the net.
Now for you guys who are non-believers. Those who jokingly, sarcastically comment, “If there are no pictures it didn’t happen.” Ha, I say! We couldn’t take all the pictures of all the trout, excuse me, big trout we caught on my day.
Yes, 16” to 20+”s, thick girthed and some long solid body browns and beautiful rainbows. I’m not talking one caught every so often, I’m talking about fighting one practically one after another.
“Was it that easy?" you may ask
After reading the water and finding the trout lies and right flies! Doing my best with the right drift in those areas. That’s when I got rewarded for my efforts and busted one out, constantly testing my knots, my wit and the rod strength limits. Than sharing the ’honey pot’ with my buds so they get a shot with a big one.
“Let’s just say it was fun!”
Somewhere off the bank of a long stretch of water on the Bighorn there’s a section that holds big trout. I’m not sure if I can even find it again navigating the river. (I did notice the guide consciously marking the area in his guiding journal brain after seeing all the trout we caught there.) I do remember the lone Russian olive tree standing along the bank. It was a nuisance at times and would grab a back-casting fly periodically, but it marks the spot. It’s what we now call the birthday hole. Where I found hungry big trout and where I spent most of my last day of fishing on the Bighorn. Another memorable birthday catching big trout practically one after another with friends and a big stogie between my teeth.
In the pics you’ll see I added the time in the bottom right hand corner of when the pictures were taken on that Thursday the 21st. Here are only 9 I caught but there were a few more before, during and after these ones I took pictures of. Brad caught a few more I haven’t pictures and it was only when Mat finally brought a big one to the net that we agreed to go on and float the rest of the river.