When I clipped that sucker off my line, I had no idea that a few hours later I would be begging Duane to dig that fly out of his fly box.
Instead of slinging lead and hunting solitary bows...we took it easy. We boated up to a little pocket of water and pulled over. My dad and Duane sat in the boat and chatted about railroading etc...me...I caught a coho.
This prompted my dad to get out his rod and start throwing some flies around, but by the time he did, I landed another. Then another...in short order my dad got in on the action with a fish...I promptly hooked up for the double shot.
The coho were thick, right on the edge of that little seam in the pictures, but after ripping some fish out of there, they closed their mouths. I switched to my six weight, tied on a dry fly and started walking upriver, catching grayling every few casts. My dad followed after with similar success. The grayling in alaska are just insane. I could have quite easily caught grayling all day long but after an hour or two I walked back to the boat and grabbed my seven weight. Duane and my dad were content to chat, but I figured the coho would be ready to go again...and they were.
The day took on a relaxed, vacation like atmosphere. I would casually catch a coho (or grayling!) on the pink leech, then walk a few feet away and catch a bunch of grayling on dry flies for 30 minutes. After a rest...I would catch another coho. In one spot, I landed 10 coho, my dad 4 and Duane one while trying out some casts with my dads switch rod. I never attempted to keep track of the grayling...many.
Sated and relaxed, we decided to head up through the rapids and go for a boat ride to check out the big lake. Zipping along with Jake sitting next to me I was once again struck by the size of Alaska. Miles of terrain unfolded around me, no power lines or lights...just two grizzly bears roaming a flood plain near an incoming creek. Amazing. We motored slowly into a shallow bay, all of my fisherman's instincts going off like alarm bells...with good reason. Standing on the bow of the boat, I could see fish darting away as we rode through the shallows. A few sightings and I was able to turn to Duane and my dad and say excitedly: "Pike!"
A few minutes later, we were re-rigged with the previous monstrous black leech and the heaviest tippet we could muster. I stalked the shallows on foot, booming casts out into the bay...waiting. Then I saw it...as my extremely visible black leech slid through the water a silver bullet shot towards the fly from ten feet away and slammed into the leech. You just have to love pike on the fly.
We hooted and hollered and caught small pike throughout the bay, watching missiles fly towards our leeches from ten to fifteen feet away. At one point a pike engulfed my leech from behind, severing the twenty lb tippet so cleanly that I never felt an ounce of resistance...water wolves indeed. Then, I spotted a monster fish. It was only two rod lengths away, laying in wait like a crocodile. I yelled to my dad and directed his leech right past the jaws of this fish...twice...with no take. Rather than risk a third cast with the same color, I flipped my five inch long pink leech at the monster...gills flared, and I set the hook.
This was a huge fish, but in the shallow water the battle didn't last long. In short order I had the fish wallowing in six inches of water, too big to do more than roll around. My dad and I were stunned. Duane joined us after securing the boat and we took some pictures of what will likely be the largest pike I will ever catch. We taped the fish at 42 inches long...and FAT. What a fish!
The boat ride home was sweet.