Thursday, October 28, 2010

Surgical Swinging

I readjusted my pack, slinging it to my left to give at least one shoulder a break. Nearing the end of our hike, what had felt like floating before was beginning to feel like burdensome river walking. I was still on cloud-9, but gravity and a whole lot of hard-rock bottom had taken their respective tolls on my shoulders and feet. We'd just finished passing through the first fish-less run of the day, and as I turned the corner a midstream boulder field seemed like just the place for a long over-due break.

I plopped down on the first flat rock I could find, threw my pack down and laid my rod across my lap. It felt good to sit. I glanced at the sun peeking through gray clouds and tried to guess what time it was. The day felt full, almost complete, but deep down I was pining for one more fish. I scanned the run in front of me, a piece of transition water between two long, high-gradient shale stretches. It was tight, compact, and fishy. A log jam on the far bank provided the only real challenege to the angler.

Hearing splashing to my left I broke my gaze to find Nate approaching the head of the run. He looked the water up and down and then shot me a familiar glance, which I interpreted without much thought. You or me?

I thought about that last fish I'd been pining for and what a fitting end it would make to the day, silmutaneously remembering all the choice water I'd taken shotgun on earlier in my lust for a fix.
"Go for it" I conceded.

I was a bit suprised when Nate laid down his indicator rod and approached the run with a 12' spey rod. I have to admit, it made me feel like a bit of a Sally knowing that I'd have elected to nymph through such a close-quartered piece of water. I watched intently as Nate stripped the heavy skagit head off the reel along with a few feet of running line. Looking up, the big piece of slab rock in front of him made a perfect perch. He stepped up, worked the slack out past the rod tip and punched out a cast.

The first attempt fell a couple feet short of the log jam. He let it swing dutifully through the dangle, repositioned his anchor and pumped out a second cast. The fly checked in mid air, grazing the log just before it hit the water. The line came down in perfect succession, forming a downstream J-curve on the water's surface.

I barely had time to focus on the end of the line before I heard the "THHHHHWACKKKKKK" of a 400-grain floating line breaking the surface tension as Nate applied a two-handed powerset. It sounded heavy.

"YEAH DUDE!!!!!"

I couldn't contain myself. Watching the whole scene unfold was almost more exciting than hooking the fish myself. John showed up just in time to lend a landing hand and I went into paparazzi mode...

... a great memory from a great day.

The dudes are on assignment this weekend. We'll try to leave your with some Friday Fish Porn to oogle over in our absence, and should return with plenty of blog fodder, so for the Dudewater Die-hards who actually read this stuff, stay tuned!


  1. Great post, sick fish. I just love the colors on the trees.

  2. tight compact and fishy? this really is like porn for you

  3. Beautiful pics... the trees make the shot. The steelhead isn't bad either. PIG!

    The Average Joe Fisherman