"Pat, my dad loves to catch big coho. Take us coho fishing tomorrow."
There was little discussion after that...someday I will go back and see those mountain lakes and catch those brightly colored char...but my dad loves to catch big coho. So that is what we did.
When the float plane landed, we jumped out and rigged up ready to go. I nearly caused a major delay because Brad mentioned that they occasionally catch flounders right where we were, so of course I started frantically peppering the area behind the float plane with casts. Eventually, they reeled me in the boat and we were off for another amazing day.
We flung pink and purple leeches...heavy flies that sank quickly and were made entirely of rabbit fur. They undulate and move in the water and the aggressive coho can't resist them. Many of the takes were visual...we would watch the fly as we drifted, swung, or stripped it through the water column and a big coho would bust from the pack like a wolf on the prowl. The fish would close on the fly almost casually and then simply inhale the bug with one big chomp.
My dad and Brad stopped for lunch, and of course I kept fishing. By this point I was really concentrating on the feel of the thing. Standing in the river is much more preferable than fishing from a boat. I could feel the push of the cold, fast water against my legs. My boots dug into the clean gravel and the weight of the line in the water was tangible. If I concentrated and kept my mind blank I swear I could feel the water rushing through the marabou of the fly...pushing against the dumbbell eyes and making the fur dance. I would strip and move the fly, reveling in the sensations and then everything would come tight. Not a jolt or a "hit" as we always say...simply a tightening...drive the hook home with a strip set and the chrome rockets would blast upriver. A veritable smorgasbord of sensations that beats lunch any day in my opinion.
As my dad and brad finished lunch and drifted by me, Brad handed me a sandwich. I took a big bite and watched my dad working the run from the boat as brad walked him downriver. Then a salmon rolled in front of me. I looked around...waist deep in a river, sandwich in hand and salmon rolling. I chomped off another bite, set the sandwhich on my hat and made a cast. Priorities.
We caught fish all day. We caught fish in every run. We caught fish stripping flies, we caught fish swinging flies, we caught fish dead drifting flies. We even caught several fish stripping flies downstream (an apparently ineffective technique) including this awesome dolly varden.
The day was everything I had hoped it would be. My dad loves to catch big coho...and he caught a ton of them.