Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Was Wrong...

We all know how admiting our failures is liberating. It is good for the soul.

I was wrong when I thought I had caught the big fish in the pool on Tuesday.

I was wrong when I told Tracy that there was enough daylight left. (we all know there is never enough daylight for those struck with OCF)

I was wrong to give Paul grief for not having a net when he lost a flounder at the boat.

I was wrong when I thought I wouldn't need to bring a net to Utah.

And mostly I was wrong when I thought I would just bend down and scoop the big fish up onto the bank.

OK here goes:

I left the city a full thirty minutes later than I had on Tuesday thinking I had enough time to drive to Snake Creek in time for an hour or so of fishing. The clear weather had faded into a cold overcast evening with a chance of rain threatening. I made good time on the trip up and the sun was behind the mountain which, on a clear day, wouldn't be a big problem.

I still thought I had enough time to hit the big swirley pool and maybe even scoot down below the trestle for a shot at a big brown or two. I did remember to tie on a mono leader and slipped into my hip boots before heading to the pool. I tied on the standard 1/8th oz WRT and ducked down in the tall grass as I approached the pool from the downstream end.

There were no fish rising as I began to cast. I didn't get the immediate strike I had anticipated and when I did finally get a fish to move it was a small one and he didn't totally commit to the spinner but turned away just short of a strike.

I swapped out the 1/8th oz for the little 1/16th oz version that had saved my bacon on Tuesday and began working the eddy currents. I had two solid strikes but was unable to get a hookset. I couldn't believe that a fish could hit a moving spinner that hard and not make contact with the treble hook!

After several casts I was about to resign myself to getting skunked when after a long cast, I got tangled up in the weeds and stopped reeling long enough to free my line. When I resumed reeling I was met with some serious pressure and I set the hook.

What happened next was by far the best fight I have ever experienced in the big swirley pool. The fish was strong and took me end to end and side to side at will. I had the drag set light to protect the tiny leader and he made two full body leaps over the pool. This was surely the big fish I had seen on Tuesday and he was full of it.

He was a wiley bugger and took full advantage of the currents, grass, eddys, and shallows in his attempts to escape. No matter where he turned it seemed I was able to block him or slow his charge just enough to make him change his mind about where to go for safety.

I was more than impressed by the stamina and strength of this fish when I finally realized that I had hooked him square in the dorsal fin! No wonder I was unable to turn or guide this big brown.

I basically hung on until the fury subsided and slowly guided the bruiser to the shallow water near the bank. I stepped into the water and as I bent down to cup my hand under him to cradle him to the bank I lifted up on the rod to bring him to the surface. It pains me to tell what happened next.

I had to put some extra pressure on the fish to overcome the current and grass at the tail end of the pool where he had ended up after the great battle. My hand was inches away from the fish when the hook pulled loose and he disappeared into the inky water before my eyes.

I won't attempt to try to put a measurement on this fine fish but sufice it to say that he made the 18 incher I caught earlier in the week look like bait.

I will always have the memory of the fight and the sight of the early C&R and I'm sure that this story will improve with the telling.

I will always be thankful for the beautiful creatures that God has provided and the time to pursue them.

And, I will hopefully learn to apply the wise words of M. H. B.:



Bawana said...

That picture is priceless! You didn't want that old fish anyway, he was probably full of little green worms!

Paul Batchelder said...

Well now you have added to the education of that old if you do catch him you will have to really fool him next time!