I know, I know Pics or GTFO but I have to write a short report about my adventures today…..
As some of you may know I had an awesome trip this past Saturday at a secret Bull Trout spot. The wife told me on Sunday that she had plans with the kids on Tuesday. Not wanting to sit at home that day I decided the best way to spend the day was back up at that spot.
As I was going to leave early I pack the car the night before. This time I also decided to take my new spey rod along as well. I know the place is not the ideal spey river; however I just had to test it out on the water.
I was awoken to my alarm at 0230; I got up, got ready and was on the road slightly before 0300. On my way out I decided that I should go through a drive through so I wasn’t starving by the time I got on the water.
On this trip I was going alone. Being that it was a Tuesday nobody I knew could make it. With no moon the drive up was really dark. So dark in fact I could see the flashes of lightning from a distant thunderstorm; despite the fact that I was driving in a canyon with pine trees on either side.
As I started to get closer to my destination it became really foggy. So much in fact that I actually had to slow down quite a bit. Besides it really isn’t the best idea to go flying though a canyon road in the dark. Sometime later I was at the forest service road that I had to take to get there. I thought to myself well only one more hour of driving left.
You know one really has to love driving on a washboard road in the early morning with foggy conditions. If you have not tried it I would suggest you give it a go sometime. After about 25 minutes or so the washboard road gave way to a nice freshly graded dirt road. Hmm I thought to myself it wasn’t like this on Saturday.
An hour later I arrived at the spot that I wanted to fish. It was fairly light; I got out of the car and started to get my rod ready. I decided to start the day of throwing the spey. Why not it is my new rod and I wanted to hopefully break it in properly.
For my starting rig I went with the following: A 9’ 0X leader with a #2 egg sucking leech and a #6 simi seal leach as the trailer. This combo seemed to do well the other day. I also ran a single #7 split shot approximately 12” from the point fly.
I walked the fifteen or so steps to the spot and climbed down the rocks. Once I was situated I made my first cast. The spey rod was a breeze to cast and man it is accurate. After Several casts I felt a fish take my fly and set the hook.
This fish was nice and powerful and put a serious bend in the 13’ spey rod. I did notice how much more in control of the fish I was with this rod as opposed to the 8’6” 5wt I was using on Saturday. I landed the fish which was a nice male Bull around 28”. I quickly unhooked him and sent him on his way.
Now because I got fish pics from Saturday (when I went with my friend) and this place is ultra secret; I opted not even to take my camera. Besides the largest net I currently own is 24” so there isn’t really an easy way to take pics of them when I am solo. Not to mention the fact that the regs state that they can’t be completely removed from the water.
After a while of fishing and noting (other than some small cuts that I LDRed anyways) I heard the rumble of thunder. I headed back to the car and waited out the storm and got a quick snack. By this time it was around 1100. The storm moved by quickly and I headed back to the water.
I decided to re tie on the combo that had worked earlier and resumed fishing. On one drift I saw a large silhouette cruse down about where my flies should be (based on where my fly line was in the water. I was not using an indicator). I really could not tell what the fish was because fast moving clouds kept the light levels shifting. At the end of the drift I stripped in some line. As I did this I noticed a silhouette following my flies.
I decided to let some slack back in my line and floated my rig towards the fish. When it got to where he was I thought I saw him open his mouth so I set the hook. My rod immediately exploded with life. My reel was spinning as this fish look all kinds of line. I adjusted the drag and got the fish more in control. At this point I did not know what the fish was and assumed that it was another Bull.
After fighting the fish for a while he decided to break the surface and give a few head shakes. When he broke the surface it was apparent that this was not a bull trout at all; it was a Chinook. **** I thought I am not even targeting these guys and the season is over; I need to get this guy in quick and release him.
Well I will say that this fish put up one hell of a fight. I counted six times he broke the surface trying to shake the hook. He ran all over the place but not too far as I was able to control him well with that rod. As it came time to land him I had a couple of logistical problems to deal with. One: I am fishing a 13’ rod with basically a wall of rocks behind me. Two: Not planning on going salmon fishing my 24” net was not going to cut it for this guy. So I extended the rod as far backwards as I could (keep in mind there is no bank here just rocks into deep water) and it did get some “battle wounds” from this. I was able to extend it far enough to tail the fish.
I quickly unhooked him and quickly held the rod next to him so I could get an approximate size. The fish extended from the end of my second handle/fighting butt to the first stripping guide (which I measured at 45” once I got home). I then sent the fish on his way. I guess he was a little upset because he booked for the rapid at the top of the pool. The last I saw of him was when he jumped the first shallow area in the rapid.
Now even if I had a camera with me I would not have taken a picture for several reasons. First off this is an out of season wild fish. Even if it was season I don’t see how it would have been physically possible to try to take a picture of a fish that size by myself with no net. Well I guess I could always throw it on a rock and snap a quick pic
(For those of you that don’t know me that last sentence is a joke). After that long and hard fight I decided to take a quick breather and reflect a bit on my first Chinook ever.
Not long after I resumed fishing; I was bound and determined to not get held at one bull for the day. On what would turn out to be my last cast of the day I felt a subtle take. I set the hook and the rod exploded into action again. I thought to myself no way this can’t be happening again. Sure enough it was; this was confirmed when I saw the fish.
However this fish looked and felt bigger than the last. This guy put up a bigger fight and took to the air so many times. Honestly I was surprised that he didn’t take me into my backing. However I guess he forgot that he could hit the rapid at the top of the run and get away; as there would have been no possible way for me to chase him. This fight lasted a long time; I am not sure exactly how long, but it was long.
When all was said and done the fish spanned from the handle to over half way to the second guide which is at 55”. After I released this guy he hung out for a few before making a departure. I thought I don’t want to keep this up; so I sat for a moment trying to decide what to do. At this time I started to hear thunder again and it started to rain. I looked at the time and it was just before 1400. Well if I leave now I might make it back for dinner I thought.
Considering that I had just landed my largest fish on a fly rod (and checked off another species) I didn’t see how the day could get any better. So I walked back to the car and broke down the spey rod and headed home.
Overall I was very impressed with how my new rod handles large fish. I purchased that rod for steelhead in the fall and winter. I never even contemplated using it Chinook. Based upon today’s little adventure I think I will be using next salmon season as well.
Hope you enjoyed the report even without pics.