Saturday Evening Fishing Report, And "Murphy Is Alive And Well"
I had promised to show a friend I met through business where I was hooking the big Browns I've been catching, and in return, he would take me to some of his favourite Salmon spots next year and "show me the ropes".
It was a picture perfect evening on the pond, a slight breeze from the east, just enough to ripple the water slightly, and a clear blue sky with enough cloud on the western horizon for the sun to hide behind and not blind me.
I chose to fish along the inside edge of a big patch of weeds and lilly pads, and John was fishing a little cove, again, inside a patch of growth. Both spots have proven productive in my past visits for some great fun. I was facing west so the wind was at my back, and John was at my back by about 100' casting into the cove that was sheltered from the wind.
The first 1-1/2 hours or so gave plenty of action with 10-14" Browns taking our selection of dry flies. They were fighting strong, indicating the water is cooling and they were in good spirits. We were entertained by 6" & less Brookies launching themselves ~ 12" out of the water, like missiles from a submarine, after natural insects, and then landing (usually on their side) with an uncermonious splash.
Just before sunset, all activity ceased. I see this nearly every evening I'm on this pond and have learned this is when the big ones come out to feed, causing the smaller trout to scatter. I'd already told John this would happen, and said when it did, tie on a Nymph.
Shortly after this, a nice female Brown hit his fly and put up a nice fight. I stopped fishing to watch how he handled it and was quite impressed with his C&R technique. He treated it like a newborn baby, and is obviously well experienced with releasing fish.
Just after this I learned that one or more of "Murphy's Laws of Maximum Inconvenience" applies to fishing.
I'd been casting about 50' away to the end of the weed bed, and slowly hand-retrieving about 20-25 ft of line, a few false casts back to the end and then repeat. On the 5th or 6th retrieve, just as I was about to start the back-cast, a big brown hit. Now, here I am, with about 20' of line laying on the water in front of me, a big fish on the hook, and my mind racing to remember what I'd read for what to do in this situation. I'll admit I panicked, didn't know what to do, and ended up losing the fish. I didn't even look around at John, not even wanting to know if he had seen this Noob Brain Fart.
Not to be discouraged, I went back to the same way of fishing and hooked a couple of nice big fish without nearly as much line out and it was easy to get them on the reel. Landed both (a male and a female) and released them (the hemostats helped save one of them, in my opinion).
John landed a nice one about 22", probably about 3-1/2 lbs and as he held it up, I could make out the hook jaw of the male, even from 100 ft away and in the waning light. I had told him what good eating they were so he kept that one.
Right then we figured there was just enough light to walk safely around the pond back to the truck when I had a repeat of the "Murphy's" experienced above. This time I was calmer after setting the hook and let the trout have it's run while keeping slight pressure on the line with my left hand 'till it was on the reel. She ran to the weeds and I could feel the line catching on grass and lilly pad stalks. I just let her pull off line as she needed with a light drag set, and then when the line relaxed, gently reeled in. She made a couple of more runs, and each time, let her have line. She was probably the biggest fish I had caught there yet, and quite plump with eggs. It was hooked securely in the point of the lower jaw and there was no way she was shaking this hook, no matter where she went. I held her in the water in the net, unclipped the hemostats (even though I probably didn't need them) and easily removed the hook with almost no blood or damage.
By now John was standing behind me (I didn't hear him come up on me) and spoke when I had her gently by the tail in the water, with my hand under her belly. About 10 or 15 seconds later she gave a flick and was gone.
He said "Well Jamie, you played that one better, didn't you" and had a broad grin on his face, successfully supressing a belly laugh recalling my obvious panic at the first strike.
A great evening of fishing, in all ways.