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Out Fishing With Big League Bob

Posted 11-03-2009 at 11:43 PM by MoscaPescador
Updated 12-21-2009 at 02:55 AM by MoscaPescador

Big League Bob is one of my favorite customers at the shop. He was a pitcher during the late '60s in the Major League. It's enjoyable to hear his stories of his career and his commentary on what's going on in the MLB today.

Last Saturday, he came into the shop to get some help on a caddis soft hackle that I tie up for the shop. After an hour of tying bugs and talking of some local waters, Bob paid for his materials, we shook hands, and he left.

Two hours later, Bob called me and asked me if I could show him how to fish my favorite local water, the Lower Yuba River. In our earlier conversation, I learned that he hardly fished it. What's ironic is that he lives 20 minutes away from the access. Since I had Monday off, why not take the ex-pitcher to the new ballpark?

Bob and I started started the day on the downstream side of the Highway 20 bridge. I lifted up some rocks and seined the water to show him some bug life. There were caddis, mayfly, and stonefly larvae in the water. Bob's eyes lit up when he saw all the bug life.

Bob asked me to fish while he watched. Great... the fly shop guy gets to be placed under the microscope while his high roller customer watches. I felt like a rookie prospect being eyed by a big league scout. So I set up a two fly nymph rig (rubberlegs stonefly followed by a rockworm caddis dropper). During my first pass, no grabs. I made subtle adjustments to my rig and hoped for the best. I asked Bob if he wants to start fishing behind me. He said that he'd start after I hooked up.

I thought to myself that this could be a long day.

During one pass, Bob saw the pod of resident Rainbow Trout that I was targeting. They didn't even move. My drifts were right on target. And I am sure the fly was in their cones of vision. Bob decided to fish through that pod. He didn't have any grabs either. It was like Bob was throwing his best junk pitches not to have the batter swing at them. Later in the day, I found out from the guides that they were having a rough day, too.

I really wanted to have Bob see me hook up with a fish. We went down to one of my favorite spots. It is a gravel bar. Bob and I went to the north channel where I started to swing a fly. After 10 minutes in the run, I switched to a smaller Woolly Bugger. Immediately, I hooked into a rather large trout. It swam and jumped with lots of spunk. As it got closer to me, it jumped and threw the hook. At least I got the monkey off my back. I was so relieved because Bob saw the type of fish he could catch.. I ended up getting two more grabs. One 12 inch Rainbow Trout was brought to hand.

Bob decided to go fish the south channel. What makes that side so alluring is that it is a small stream in a large river. This is the kind of fishing that he enjoys the most. He rerigged with a Hare's Ear Soft Hackle and a small mayfly nymph. In the first hole, he hooked up with a spunky 12 inch Rainbow Trout. This trout must have had some Steelhead genes in it because it wanted to swim every direction conceivable. Bob immediately brought it to the net.

Bob fished the next section working every feeding lane. He had two more grabs, but these fish shook off rather quickly. I could see Bob all giddy like. He reminded me of a little tee-baller who was made his first inside the park home run.

After a quick string cheese stick break, I recommended to Bob that he try swinging a fly through the next run. He opened up his box and pulled out his favorite swing fly, the Woolly Worm. After a dozen casts, Bob hooked up with a large Rainbow Trout. It swam and jumped like all trout should do. It bolted for a downed tree, but Bob forced it to turn around. Fighting that fish for Bob was like having to face Willie McCovey with a full count and the winning run on third base. Talk about pressure! After a couple of minutes, I netted the fish for Bob. According to his Measure Net, the trout was 19 inches. He got a good look at it, removed the hook, revived it, and let it go. Willie McCovey was struck out, but he is sure to be around for another at bat.

After that, we decided to call it a day.
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