Monday, July 01, 2013

Athlete

I could see the tail, bigger than my hand and slapping the surface as the fish fed in thigh deep water on the edge of the gravel bar. I was 100 feet away, and the stalk was going to be an issue. For some reason I hadn't put my wading boots on and I wasn't feeling very sure footed in the slippery cobble in my sandals. I inched forward, one careful foot at a time in knee deep water, willing the cobble to stick and not shift beneath my feet. I spotted a tailer about 30 feet in front of me and slowly came out of my crouch to stand tall and straight. The smaller tailer spotted me, but as I had hoped, he didn't hard spook...instead he simply stopped feeding and slowly peeled off into the depths. I kept going, back in a crouch, one carefully placed foot at a time. 70 feet...60 feet...50 feet...."I can make this cast" I thought but Rule #2 popped into my head (Don't cast until you can see their head) so I continued my painfully slow stalk. 40 feet...30 feet...I could see gills and a rounded head. I didn't dare get any closer. I stripped out some line, cast just past the fish and dragged the front fly (a San Juan worm) into position and dropped it. I counted to 5 to let the fly sink to the bottom in the slightly deeper water and as I said "5" in my head I saw a flash of white and set the hook hard.

I nearly lost the fish right then. Most 20 plus lb fish are dogs, but this guy blasted out into the river in an instant and I almost got in my own way. Fly line peeled off the reel, backing next and I looked out to see a barge way out in the river. I laughed at the idea of this fish catching the barge, then reconsidered the laughter as backing continued to disappear. Eventually, the fish slowed, and I towed her back in to my waiting net. 36 inches, 26 lbs...a real, serious athlete.

 

 

11 comments:

trashfisher said...

Putting it all together is what is required to catch big Columbia carp. Stealth, presentation and detection of the take all have to be flawless. Nicely done!

John Montana said...

And luck Travis! I needed the little guy to spook just right..better to be lucky than good!

Trevor Tanner said...

It is so rare to find actual tail out of the water tailers here in CO. Really cool man, I can't wait to get back at some point!

John Montana said...

Pretty cool sight Trevor. You would have liked this one!

trashfisher said...

I think a technique could be developed to "subtlety" spook away undesirable fish. You could try creating light vibration from a distance without the fish seeing you. Probably what happened with the smaller fish you spoke of.

Boss said...

Thank you! Marvelous!

Justin Carfagnini said...

Bravo! That's an outstanding fish, and great story!

Anthony Gardner said...

That is a beautiful account! Waded a slime-hole creek near Ashland on Tuesady. Zero underwater visibility. Had silt up to mid-thigh on more than one occasion. Noticed surface turbulence on a wide area of the middle of the creek near some shadows. Stood up for a cast, and it boiled like macaroni and cheese water. I would say close to 30 fish suddenly quit eating with a splash. Waded down then back up, cast to a couple gulpers and hooked up, but when he started the run, came undone. Your stories are inspiring in the hard times. Keep it up!

Carp Aficionado said...

Great play by play, man. Love it.

Adsgoogle said...
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Adsgoogle said...

Congratulations! That is an excellent fish.


Regards
Harsh