So despite how it may appear when friends come out to fish with me, I am NOT a fish poacher. Truly. I do not steal their shots, or wade into the good water first. In fact during our trip, I sat down and took photos of rocks, water, and my rod and reel rather than step into a really good bay while I waited for Dan and Jim to finish fishing a little flat. So why does it seem like I still catch a lot of nice fish when I am supposed to be giving up all the shots? Sheer dumb luck. Take this fish above. I had just released a really good 18 lber and Dan was with me for the photo. He stepped off first, walking the shoreline peering into the shallows looking for carp. I was about 8 feet behind him and 30 feet to the outside of him, basically catching up when I saw this fish. She was tailing...big paddle breaking the surface and she was a LOT closer to Dan than she was to me. "Dan...Dan...big fish to your left!" I half spoke half whispered, just loud enough for him to hear me. I KNOW he heard me because he waived me off like a pitcher not liking the pitch the catcher called for. Without turning his head he motioned ahead and held up two fingers. I took that to mean that he had not one but two targets in from of him...with those numbers I did what anyone else would have done.
I caught the big fish that was tailing between us.
Granted, it is worth noting that I only called out to him once.
It had been a long day one. Dan had casted well, spotted fish well, but still hadn't zoned in on the super subtle Columbia river takes. This is a normal situation...ask anyone that comes out here to fish, it is shocking how subtle these fish eat. It really makes it fun. Dan, however, is an extremely accomplished angler. He had caught a couple of fish with me hollering to set the hook and the timing was clearly coming together as near misses peppered the afternoon. Then it came together.
We spotted this fish in a stop and go mix of slow cruise and tailing. Dan got into position and laid out a perfect cast (which he did nearly every fish...it was very annoying). The flies settled to the bottom about 6 inches in front of the tailing fish, with the lead fly 4 inches to the right of the fish. The carp stopped tailing, swam forward as it looked for its next feeding spot and its head turned sharply and quickly to left. Dan struck, and the fish rocketed out of the shallows. It was a total veteran move.