Friday, August 16, 2013

Sometimes you gotta get close

Conditions were miserable. Cloud cover, high water, even a little rain made the fish tough to spot and the normally nearly imperceptible Columbia River takes were even tougher. Then the winds came...big winds. Targee was a great sport and we kept stalking and looking and only his considerable skill allowed a few fish to be put in the net, but no monsters. The big slabs of Columbia river gold eluded us, but it only takes one.

We slipped into a sheltered bay, mercifully out of the wind and the eerily dead calm water was a welcome relief from the whitecaps. The sun stayed hidden, and visibility was maybe a couple of feet. The bay looked fishy, but we simply couldn't see. Then I spotted a bit of nervous water, waist deep and just barely noticeable. I crept closer, the soft bottom masking my footfalls. At 30 feet all I could see was a mirror of clouds. I crept closer. At 20 feet the mirror was even more pronounced, but there was clearly a fish there. Based on the nervous water and the depth, it had to be tailing, and it had to be big. I crept closer. At 10 feet I could see a clear line of mud, but no visual of the fish. I took one more step, then stopped. The clouds persisted, the wind crashed through the trees, unable to disturb our bay and I stared. I willed the mirrored water to give up their secrets, and slowly...extremely slowly...a shape began to appear. At first it was just the tip of a tail, waving slowly under the surface. Then a line of the back, and the mass and bulk of a body. I stared, and I stared but the clouds won and I just couldn't see the head. I looked over what I could see, estimated size, and flipped the hybrid toward where I thought the head would be. I counted...one...two...three...four...five...and lifted the rod. Nothing. I dropped the flies back in, a little closer this time and counted...one...two...three...four...five. Then I lifted the rod and the big fish bucked and exploded, shattering the mirror and sprinting toward the whitecaps.

 

 

8 comments:

Luke said...

most excellent!

Brent Wilson said...

Nice work John. The sixth sense FTW.

Andrew Burgos said...

You are the master!! Good stuff as always.

Robert Prince said...

Great tutorial (even if you didn't mean it to be!) on how to stalk fish during difficult conditions. I had very similar conditions a few days ago. My results were not as good. Still learning...

Wendy Berrell said...

Nice recounting. I think tough conditions translates to a fun and interesting challenge for you.

Boss said...

Rocking chair moments only get better with time! This one certainly has! Thoughts of this day are often the catalyst for many day dreams. I was actually just contemplating a carp outing with my pops! Kudos, John Montana!

fishermanrichard. said...

When you say you lifted the rod John, did you do it slowly, or like a sift strike?

I'm interested as I get lots of the conditions and opportunities as you mention in the excellent piece?

Richard.

John Montana said...

I generally set pretty quickly....not hard or strong, but fast. They spit it so easily that when I see or sense a take I try to come tight as quickly as possible.