I should start this story by saying I'd been skunked two days in a row. So, I was a bit frustrated.
So when a buddy of mine, Muzz, asks me if I want to go fishing for the weekend up north during the "super" moon, I hesitated. Apparently, this weekend the full moon would be bigger and brighter than any we've had in a thousand years or whatever. This will most assuredly get the fish into a wild feeding frenzy. I think about this for about 0.1 seconds before deciding that fishing would be medicinal.
So we head up late Friday afternoon. We don't arrive at the campground until way after oh-dark-thirty. We set up camp, then get rigged up and hike up and down the bank for a few hours, chucking large dark colored flies and mice at splashy rises in the 'super' moonlight.
Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Less than one. None. No way, Jose. Goose eggs. SKUNK.
So, just a couple hours before dawn, we hike back to camp and grab a bit of shut eye.
The morning brings wind. Not breeze. Wind. Cold. Wind. Thank God for coffee.
Mike catches his first fish trolling a hopper. Right, I think. This is going to be easy.
More skunk is immediately served onto my tube. Not even a nibble between 7 am and 3 pm. 19 flies are alternately tied onto then clipped off of my tippet. In fact, new tippet must be tied onto my leader, so many flies are subjected to fruitless dunking hour after hour.
Finally, I've had enough. I switch to a sink tip and tie on a Lenny's Special Lite. I kick towards a rock I know harbors no life whatever. I cast. The wind kicks up as I release the line, throwing it away from yon stone. I get a snarl in my fly line and mumble words of potent evil magic.
I finally get the snarl un-snarled and give it a quick double twitch. The fly comes to an immediate halt. I've hung the bottom. Of course. I continue my incantations of as many four letter words as I can remember. I invent three. I'm kicking back towards my fly when the bottom starts to pull southerly. I am a bit confused, and stop kicking. I lift the rodtip and pull firmly on the line.
The bottom begins to throb. Then it banks left. I start fighting. Muzz asks me if it's a good fish. "Think so. Maybe a really springy tree branch."
One minute goes by and I can't get the bottom to come up to the surface.
Three. Finally the bottom begins to rise. I can feel it shaking its head and twisting down there. Sucker? I caught one in almost the very same spot last year .
4 minutes. I see color. Something pale yellow. Sucker. It comes within three feet of the surface then heads back down. It takes nearly another minute to get it back near the top. I see spots. And a shark-like dorsal fin. Do suckers have shark-like dorsal fins? It goes by Muzz, who says, "what the heck is that?"
It's the world's heaviest yoyo, I think, as the fish dives back for the bottom.
6 minutes. This hurts. And my 5 wt. plus the 6 lb. tippet I've got tied on is not helping me control this fish one bit. But it's slowly tiring. She's not heading so deep anymore. Bit by bit, I gain an advantage.
7 minutes. The fish, whatever it is, must be tiring. He/she/it swims around me several times, shrugging off my best efforts to bring to either net. Then it happens.
I threaten Muzz with unspeakable horrors if he doesn't grab that fish's tail as it thunders by him. Most of this must have been in my head, as he only remembers me screaming, "grab its tail! Grab it!"
He does. And I owe him my firstborn child and a case of beer on his birthday the rest of my life.
A very hasty measurement teleports me into the surreal. Close cousin to Alice's.
At least 30 inches. Possibly as much as 32.
What a way to get rid of the skunk.
That's the end of this report, except the pictures. I'll let them speak for themselves.