Well, I got out on a nice stretch of water the other day with a friend. After scanning the area before we got started we noticed some fish that were quite big compared to the regular inhabitants in this water way. This notched up the excitement level quite a bit, especially for me as I had not yet caught anything of substantial size with my fly gear.
Instead of jumping right in to the pool we found the holding hogs we decided to approach the area from two directions. I went upstream through thick brush and worked down and my friend went downstream through woods and worked up. As soon as I got off the bank and into the water I started throwing my dry fly (trusty old #14 adams) out down and across and within minutes had wiped the skunk of the day off my hands. Caught three fish while working my way down stream. Now none of these fish had any size to them, the biggest being about 4 inches, but action is action so I was riding a positive high as I approached the "honey hole"
the targeted pool
When I got myself into position to get my fly out into the pool I heard some voices coming through the trees. 2 other fishermen emerged on the bank. They started out by asking us how the day was going and what was working....yada yada yada (so much for a stealthy approach to the hole) What happened next was quite a buzz kill. They proceeded to thrash off the bank and right into the pool me and my friend had just spent over a half hour stalking our way to. They "holed" us, but not a high hole or low hole version, just casually took the hole from us by wading in between us. This was the first time this had ever happened to me, so I was shocked and pissed all at the same time. Judging by the look on my friends face I could tell he also felt this way, and for a minute I was worried things might turn for the worse.
To try and lighten the mood / situation, I got back onto the bank we had left our packs / cooler at and grabbed a cold one - motioning to my friend across the water to come over for a beverage break. We sat and watched these guys throw their worms into the hole and spook all the big fish we had previously been excited to see. After about 15 minutes they got frustrated and decided to move on, but for one last kick in the pants they decided to throw some big rocks into the hole to see how the big fish would react. We bit our tongues painfully and once these graceful fishermen left we decided that we might as well try our luck seeing as to how we were already here, even though our chances of catching any of these spooked trout were slim to none.
I made the decision that since the chances of hooking one was slim, I would use the rest of the time on the water practicing streamer casting / fishing as I had not yet tried any techniques other then dry fly fishing. This decision ended up changing the events of the day for the better. The first thing I noticed was how different casting a streamer (with a split shot) was compared to my regular small dry flies. After making a couple adjustments to my cast I waded down to the top of the pool and let my wooly bugger fly. My first cast missed the bank I was targeting, so I quickly stripped the line back in and tried again. The second cast went exactly where I wanted it to go - and that is when it happened.
I waited a second once my bugger hit the water, and started with two small strips and then I felt the tug. At the same time my buddy on the other side of the hole is yelling at me "he's got it, he's got it". My heart started to race and I quickly discovered that my drag was not set properly for the size of fish I had on the other end of the line. He easily took about 70 feet of line off my reel before I was able to adjust the drag setting. He was heading downstream towards some fast current, so instead of trying to chase him and allow him the opportunity to get into current, I decided to stay put and fight him. I managed to horse him a little and get him turned around and got most of the line back that he had pulled out. After another 5 minutes or so I got him close enough to attempt to net him. Once he got close enough, I started to worry that my net might not be big enough. My first attempt at netting him failed, as he thrashed and bounced out as I lifted the net. He then decided to have another tantrum, so after letting him get it out of his system I bent down and on my second attempt swooped him up with the net with success.
Here's my first fish caught with a streamer, and first sea-run rainbow trout. I was using a 5wt rod / reel and a green and black wooly bugger. The fly now sits at home next to the griffin's gnat that caught my first trout on the fly.
the difference in color from fresh water to sea-run trout is amazing. This guy was full-on chrome.
and the release...
In the end, just like a Disney movie, the day that looked like it was heading for the dumps was not only salvaged but will be forever remembered. This was a first that won't be forgotten, not to mention this was my personal best sized trout on fly gear. What a feeling.