Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Took the Long Way Home

Took the Long Way Home

I was on my way to a new creek I always wanted to fish but never found myself near enough to give it a go. After leaving the guys in Cameron County, where they were going to return to camp, I was heading home…eventually. Skip and Brian told me where I could go to fish a project area on my way home. I checked out the distance and though it was the longer way home I had a few hours before dark so I decided to give it a try since I was up this way. After finding my way to the stream, I parked, got my fly fishing gear together and it went something like this.

  The long pool was water clear and glass smooth other than a few loose leaves. Most of what I could see it wasn’t more than a few feet deep. It was wide enough to cast to the other side without too much effort if there were less brush along the bank. I didn’t want to wade the middle of the creek solely because of the clarity of the water.
  As I continued to walk up the trail and looked over the bank I could see a couple of trout loitering about along the edge of the slow current pool. I moved up stream before I entered the water. I was dry fly fishing earlier with the camp guys and had on a section of 6X tippet. Seeing no surface activity I decided to use a trusty Olive Bugger. It didn’t take long for a few bumps at the bugger, without hookups, that told me they were interested. I trimmed the tail shorter but still enough for good tail movement. A couple of casts later a rainbow came to hand…and another…and another. The fourth strike was so forceful it snapped my 6x tippet. I knew better but was too lazy to change it right off.

 I clipped off the knot and tied on a long section of 5X. I took the time to light up a Sinclair Bohemian Brazilian Maduro. The darker outer leaf was a bit on the oily side which, I believed, caused a lot of the smoke. The draw was clean with a robust flavor. I settled it between my teeth and went back to fishing. I tried a couple different color buggers and a few different kinds of streamers just to see if they were interested in something else. They didn’t seem to stir any aggressive strikes so I went back to the Olive Bugger.
 Along the bank I tried to keep my presence unnoticed as much as possible. My olive Bonehead shirt and tan vest camouflaged me against the green and autumn leaf background. I waded slowly as to cause as little surface ripple as possible. The trout were active at first taking the bugger but after all the battling commotion the others were more cautious.
  I had to work the bugger with a little more finesse without stripping in too fast. There was hardly much of an undercurrent so with the weighted bugger and shallow depth, I had to keep the bugger from dragging the bottom.
As time went on I continued to enjoy a cigar and continued coaxing trout now and than to take the bugger. As the evening approached the sun settled behind the mountains and cast a shadow upon the slow moving water. The air turned cooler and light was slowly fading.
 “One more cast” I thought but after not catching anything I decided one more fish. With a long backcast I whipped the bugger downstream and it plopped into the water followed by the leader and line. A long strip, two short and another semi-long strip produced a swiping take as I watched my fly line sweep to my left in an instant. I pulled on the line quickly and set the hook. It wasn’t long before I knew this trout wasn’t the 10" to 12” bucket stockies I’ve been catching. It turned away from me and swam midstream. I had to give him line as the 4 weight rod flexed a little deeper into the middle. Line unrolled off my tensioned spool with a long tug. When the trout turned I was prepared to give him more resistance and restrictions. He tugged and fought cross creek before turning back midstream and then headed up creek towards my direction. Within sight he rose to the surface. He tried to release himself with headshakes as his back skimmed the top of the water as he continued upstream. When he was parallel, from where I stood, I seen his length and overall size. He had enough energy for a little squabble as I got him nearer to me. This was one of those fish one always hopes of getting on the last cast of the day. After releasing him I thought “Maybe, just maybe there would be another.”

 With the shadows growing long and the evening chilling I proceeded to cast out and even caught two more eager trout. Both trout not as big as my last but frisky no less.
 Standing a few feet from the bank, in knee high water, I presented my last cast. Pulling the line down on my back cast and letting more line out on my forward cast, I got a couple of good false casts before letting the long length of line loop forward down and across creek. The bugger plopped onto the water with a couple of ‘S’ bends in the leader and fly line. I pulled line towards me till it straightened out as the bugger sank. I let the bugger settle just a bit before a couple of short twitches and longer strips. In between a twitch and a long strip the line tightened momentarily as if I had caught the stony bottom. Without time to think I pulled back on the rod tip with the tension line between my fingers. The hooked item sluggishly came towards me, as if being drug, and then all of a sudden shot down creek near my side of the bank. I held the rod up and moved the tip towards the far bank forcing him towards the middle of the creek. The fish felt heavier than the last but swam without the bulk. He twitched the 4 weight rod tip with impulsive jerks and pulled away with force. I let line slip through my fingers as the drag gradually slowed him down. He turned away twice before I got him coming closer towards me. He rose to the surface angrily and lunged, splashing water about, but was unable to gain any ground. I kept his head upward so my line wouldn’t get caught in his fins. I had a hard time getting him to settle for a picture as he wanted no part of being held. After the flash I released him and he took off like a wild cat.

  Hooking the bugger, in the hook keeper, I called it a night and climbed out of the water.
  Back at the van my stomach growled the whole time I changed clothes. I hadn’t eaten since a 9:00am breakfast back at camp. I stopped at a Food Mart fuel station in Emporium for something to keep my stomach at bay. I had an over 2 hour drive, in darkness, to get home. In Ridgeway I took out an Ashton Churchill James handed me earlier at camp. The pale brown outer wrap and elegant construction told me instantly this will be a pleasing smoke. A little milder than what I prefer but the high end cigar lasted a good hour or so during my long way home.




No comments:

Post a Comment