Now that I'm a little older, and a little busier the time I spend on the water with my Dad is a little bit more valuable. He's a working professional, one of the best at what he does, and that means that there usually isn't much time for our schedules to work out for a day on the river.
On Sunday, things fell in to place. I was scheduled to guide, but some rain the forecast had things looking about 50/50. With my client coming in from out of town, and wanting to stay and fish for a couple days, he made the decision to cancel. With the way the weather was looking, I thought it was a pretty wise decision. When drive time is likely greater than or equal to fishing time sometimes it just makes sense to stay put.
That said, if the rain held off my Dad and I would head out. The next morning the pavement was dry, and the charts hadn't spiked. Off we went.
I'd fished this section of river the night before, and it seemed like a nice push of fish was coming in. I figured that overnight even more would have followed in behind them and that the same area would be a good bet for the next day. My Dad picked out a good looking spot, and I walked up above him. Just as I was peeling the line off my reel, I saw him set the hook, and a big fat silver hen came flying out of the water. I started to walk down there to help him land the fish and snap a couple pictures, but before I'd gotten close the fish made another jump and his line went slack. As soon as he lost tension my Dad jumped in the air and said a couple quick four letter words. When you don't get out much that first one is a heart throbber, and when its going nuts on the end of your line I think you realize how much you've missed fishing for them. Losing the fish is heartbreak, and it was evident on his face. I'll say this, the guy still has some serious ups, though.
After a few more fish hooked and lost, and a few dozen casts without another, my Dad walked upstream and was a little dejected. We saddled up and decided to take a little walk upstream. This stretch is a popular destination, and all the usual spots get pounded. A short walk, and a not-so-obvious drift later and my Dad was tight to another angry fish.
It was pretty obvious after our first fifteen minutes that there were a lot of fish in this section. It was a good mix of both fresh and dropback fish, mostly small, but with a few bruisers mixed in. Although the Jackhammer may be tired of skippers, and I was still a bit beaten from my encounter with the rod-breaker the night before they're still some of the most fun fish to catch. They aren't shy to a fly, and at times they tend to forget that fish live in water, not air.
This thing was no exception. Before the indicator had even twitched, this fatty was airborne like a submarine-launched missile.
We fished through the rain until early afternoon, and had some really fantastic success - all with very little company, which was pretty nice. At this point we'd done everything that we had set out to do, and a lot more. On the walk back the most popular spot on the stretch, and probably the whole river, was open. We decided to jump and and give it a try right in the sweet spot of the run.
One cast, one nice dropback...
Then my Dad jumped in, and after a couple drifts he hooked up. The fish was going crazy, upstream, downstream, all over the place. After ten minutes of the fish dictating every part of the fight I was starting to think that it was fouled...until it jumped. I could see the line going straight in to the mouth of a big, big, buck. As the fight wore on my Dad was starting to get the upper hand on the fish, and after a couple more runs, and a few awesome jumps, I netted his fish.
It was one worth waiting for.