This Will Be Hard To Beat

Saturday had a plan.  Holdsworth and I were supposed to drive for over three hours, then hike for at least another with our tubes.  Our hopes were to find big brookies in a new (to us) water.

The information I recalled indicated that the fishing at this lake was similar to another on the same mountain, but with better fish.  We each did our homework and carefully planned our approach, even going as far as making plans to meet up with someone else while out there.

It wasn't until late Friday that I received more current info from last year, stating that the fish were mostly small runts.  We didn't want to put in all that effort to be disappointed, so both parties agreed to do their own thing and hope to run into each other the next day.

Saturday morning came nice and early.  Aaron and I got ourselves on the road a little bit earlier than normal and were able to get to our targeted area before too long.  My thoughts were of a different lake in the region initially but as we got closer to another, it was decided to go for it, where we ended up.  Something about the water just "called to us".

My anticipation grew as I readied my gear on the shoreline, preparing to float.  Just for fun, I grabbed my fly rod that was already rigged with a Frankenstein Sculpin pattern from Fly Fish Food and tossed out a cast into the deepest water I could reach in the shallow puddle.

A few quick strips along the bottom and I felt the fly stop abruptly, followed by a hard shake, a flash in the water, then nothing.  Broken leader!

I should have tied on a fresh one prior to starting.  Oh well.  A new 10ft section of mono was tied on and a new fly.  This time, an olive Sculpinator from the same shop was selected.  Once that was tied on, I got on the tube and headed out for deeper water.

It wasn't long before I had another fish hit and I knew immediately that I wasn't messing with a chump.  It was pretty far away when it bit, so I had to work it for quite awhile to gain any line back.

The battle went on for several minutes and my forearm was really feeling the burn.  The fish on the other end still had a lot of fight left and had taken some strong runs, peeling out drag from the reel.

Letting the rod do the fighting, I reeled in the slack and finally noticed some fatigue in the massive tiger.  My rod is 9ft long, but the leader was a tad longer, plus I didn't want to let the connecting knot where the leader met the fly line get into the guides, just in case Murphy was hanging around.

This meant I was high sticking, but still couldn't reach the fish effectively.  No net either.

Eventually, I worked it out to where I leaned way back and had the fish basically swim up onto my legs, then a quick toss from the legs to the lap, then a bear hug, of sorts.  The beast was landed!

When the dust settled, I was happy to hoist my prize up for a few snaps and measurements.

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What a monster!  7lbs, 10oz @ 27 inches!  A new personal best for me and somehow it came to me on the fly rod!

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What?  I really didn't expect that to happen.

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Shortly after, I started throwing jigs on my spinning rod.  It didn't take long to hook up with another fish, though this one was much smaller, at only 20" and pushing 3lbs.

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Gotta love it when that's a smaller fish.

Again with the jig, I had another good fish on the line, this time a 4lbs, 3oz tiger with an attitude.

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The day was rolling out nicely already and I couldn't imagine it getting any better, but then it did and I hooked into another beast that like that marabou jig I was throwing.

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Another great fish at 6lbs, 9oz.  That one would have beaten my former best trout, had I not caught her big sister earlier.  I got a video of this catch.  Notice how I had gotten better at landing big fish with no net.

Somebody pinch me.

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Meanwhile, Aaron's only action so far was taking pics of my monster.  I felt bad for him and hoped he'd get his bruiser soon.  Strange how the fish gods can shine a light on someone some days, while totally snubbing another.

To make matters worse, I hooked yet another pig tiger trout.  Another large female.

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I got a video of the release of this one.

Ridiculous!  Cloud 9 was hardly visible from where I was sitting.

Switching back to the fly rod, I ended up breaking off again on another nice fish.  Another great fly was gone, but I still had one more Sculpinator.

Throwing that around, I connected with the smallest fish of the day.  That didn't stop it from putting up a great fight (or maybe my forearm was still worked from the hog) and as I brought it to hand, I realized that there was something a little extra "special" about this fish.

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So how about that for a productive fishery?  Even fish that can't close their mouths can grow to a healthy 20" by swimming around with their mouths open.  Must be because of these:

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Definitely because of those.

One last good fish gave me another battle before my day was done and I was happy to finally land a solid rainbow from there, which had eluded me on former trips.

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Looks like this one only has one good eye.

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We stayed for awhile longer, praying for Aaron to get some action, but it just wasn't meant to be.  He was obviously happy for me, but I'm sure that burns.  The poor guy had to watch me battle monsters all day, only to come up empty-handed.

It happens.  Next time, it's his turn.

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Happy Fishing, Humans.

Some Background...


Why not go jogging, hit the gym, start a garden or whatever it is that normal humans do? What's so fascinating about these slimy little creatures that live in the water?

Fishing is a bit more to me than a hobby or a sport. It's an essential part of life that helps me connect with the Earth in ways similar to the long-practiced traditions of mankind. Wherever man has had a water source, there has been fishing.

It's only natural.

Happy Fishing, Humans.