Eleven is a Good Number
Yesterday, I hooked thirteen fish but only landed five; five is not a good number. Today, I again hooked thirteen fish, but I landed 11 of them. Eleven is a good number.
The day started with the decision to hike over the hill into a section of water that I particularly enjoy, and where I infrequently see others fishing. It was a good decision. Another front had ripped through, and the morning opened cold and crisp, but with a promise from the bright sun that it would get warmer—not a lot warmer, but at least warm enough that I’d be able to take off my gloves by mid-morning.
I decided to use a purple, Hot Head Leech as the “tractor,” ahead of a tangerine Otter’s egg “trailer.” Very few fish were moving to the long flies that we had been using, and I reasoned that the highly visible leech would help me position and drift the egg better. It was a good choice.
In the first few minutes, I was tight to a big female king. And so the morning went. I found an enormous female, well into the 40-inch range, and carefully placed the flies for the best drift. On the third pass, the big fish picked up the egg, and I quickly tightened. The fight was basically all one sided. The big fish wallowed and twisted with great strength, while I held fast, flexing the 10-weight out to the side to keep as much pressure against the fish as the 10-pound Maxima Chameleon tippet would allow. Suddenly the hook pulled free, and the fish slid into its hold. It was not in the least bit interested in the egg, again, even after an hour’s waiting period.
But plenty of other fish were interested, and the morning sped by, mostly in the midst of fighting salmon. A big male took the leech, but shook the barbless hook with ease, as it tore first this way and then that. Another male leapt onto the leech, and this one stayed pinned. In addition, several more big females took the egg fly. I looked at my watch. It was noon-thirty, and I had to head back to the motorhome. There were a number of house keeping chores that had to be attended to after lunch, before I headed home.
Rain was coming on the morrow, and if it was as much as predicted, the river would be a torrent of dirty water for a week to come—and so it was. But the fishing had been good, and I left with a vow to return a bit later in the fall when the cohos and browns drift in.