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 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.
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.
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.