We unfortunately still cannot bring you tales and stories of the past couple of days, because today was way too phenomenal a day not to have a post of it's own.
"Boy it's a beautiful day," Rick told me as we headed toward the stream. That's been our mantra the past week, as no matter what bad cast or bit of bad luck came our way, we reminded ourselves where we were, and what a treat it was to be here.
Rick and I started out back at his corner where a giant fish tormented him this past Saturday when we were out. He worked a "special" fly through that he'd had a lot of look with the other day. Unfortunately, it didn't even receive a passing glance, so I handed him my fly rod and let him cast the fly through the pool that I'd been using. On his second cast he had an enormous hit that he just missed.
He tried another fly with no luck, and told to me to step in. I proceeded to miss two strikes myself, and after a few more fly changes, we decided that we were defeated and moved on. We continued to fish a few more stretches with not much more success. When we reached a big pool and both missed a take or two, we decided that we'd head back to the car for a sandwich and try to hit that pool on the way back out as we continued up stream.
Apparently, 1/2 a chicken sandwich with mustard and a cold beer must be the ticket, as when we hit the pool on the way through after lunch, we immediately saw some rises. A few casts later, I was hooked to a monster.
A few minutes of fighting and delicate maneuvering to make sure that I didn't pop the fish off my line, and I had him to hand.
And Rick took a bunch of exceptional photographs of the fish.
It was a really great feeling. My second exceptionally large fish since I've been out here, where it's rare to see fish this size at all. An absolutely spectacular pure Cutthroat. Deep green and gold on it's sides, with beautifully bright orange gills and fins. It was such a special feeling to get that fish to hand, and Rick seemed to be as excited as I was which made it all the more enjoyable.
We proceeded up stream and Rick was able to land two nice fish himself. Each time he saw a rise ahead of him, executed a nice cast ahead of the rise, and the fly drifted perfectly into place each time for the fish to eat. I know Rick was pleased with his execution in landing both of those fish.
We fished side by side for a bit as we hit a wide stretch of water, but as we neared a bend in the river, Rick told me he was ready for a break, and was going to hop onto the bank for a few minutes and I should keep going, and he'd join me ahead. Well, as he was getting out of the water, I made a cast or two to the side he was fishing, and missed a monster take.
I sent the fly adrift over the same area a couple more times, but no luck, so I decided to tie on a new fly and give him one shot at a different look. Sure enough, he hit the next offering. I knew it was a nice fish when it struck the fly, but as I got him closer, I was again astounded. Another giant Cutthroat. WHAT A DAY!!!
And if catching the fish weren't enough, check out this magnificent photo that Rick snapped. Could you imagine a more perfect backdrop?
As I released the fish and shook Rick's hand, I had to admit, "Man, I feel a little bad. I feel like I got your fish." After Rick said not to worry, I had to confess, "Well, not all that bad, but a little."
Rick got back into the water, and continued to fish a few more rises that we saw. I think he nearly got two really nice fish himself, as one nice one I saw roll on the fly but Rick just missed the hook set, but it wasn't meant to be. We had to head back as I was already late for softball games, and Rick was cooking dinner tonight.
Beautiful lighting and scenery on the ride home. Boy it was a beautiful day.
I'd also like to say a special thank you to Rick for all of the outstanding photos he took, and the genuine excitement he shared with my catching these fish. It really was a team sport today. Thanks Rick.