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.
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...
Nate Karnes Fly Fishing Art & Apparel
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