Sunday, December 13, 2009

Freak Out

The drift started uneventfully, worked my way down river stopping and swinging through one run in the cold morning shade.  That was interesting.  The rod, guides, and reel froze up quickly making working a good length of line with a short head pretty difficult.  No fish, so I kept moving downstream.  As I approached a drift boat plugging a tailout I saw them jump up as a steelhead took their plug.  "Not a bad sign," I thought as a drifted past into the next run.

The next run already had anglers from boats in it, but they were focused on the lower end and drift fishing.  I walked down to one of the anglers and asked if I could work the head of the run, further upstream.  "No problem," was the response I was hoping for so I walked back to the raft, grabbed my rod and stepped into the water.  I flipped my line out and thought my fly looked funny.  I grabbed it and realized it was frozen solid... it was more number 2 pencil than a fluffy intruder-ish type fly.  I warmed it up and started working my line out swinging the fly through the water.  I was about to start stepping downstream after working my line out when I felt that pull.  The cold probably slowed my reactions down as line started coming off the reel... but quickly the frozen thoughts warmed up and I went crazy.  I lurched back on the rod like I was going to set the hook on a tarpon.  I picture myself with my back angled 45 degrees from my hips pulling the rod backwards.  Of course, I'm gonna blame the loss of the fish on a dull hook, a grab closer to the hangdown, or something other than the fact that I went beserk after months away from steelheading and then a massive slump since moving back to the Northwest fishing interior rivers enjoying record runs of steelhead.  I'm sure a muttered a foul word or two before getting back to business and working this run twice before drifting further downstream.

I didn't encounter any other fish that day, but I swung some beautiful water and tried some water types I might have passed over on previous trips with the hope that come warmer temps and warmer seasons (spring) some native fish might be resting just primed to jump all over a swung fly.

Hope to get back soon and find my steelhead slump-buster.  Hope these pictures get you thinking about swinging flies through emerald green glacial streams for your slump-buster, however long or short the slump is.

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