Right behind Barbara is where I hooked all three "monsters". This photo was taken in Febuary, when the water is much lower.(Gate Pool)
Now ready with some really strong tippet ( 20lb Maxima) I waded back out on this fine December day to see if I could land one of the" big boys". I started where I left off , casting up stream with the special Prince nymph tied on a # 6 saltwater hook. I was not getting the action I was earlier , the flies were floating downstream , without being molested, I started casting up and out toward the middle of the run. The sun was straight up above , the light was penetrating and breaking through the surface of the water illuminating everything in it's path , straight to the bottom. I could now see some log like figures holding on the bottom looking like missiles , their elongated shapes moving ever so slightly to take in a passing stonefly nymph. The clarity of the water made the depth difficult to determine, but , I could see the darkish green flies were just not getting down to the correct level to be seen. I added some weight , and cast further upstream to allow the "bugs" to bounce along the boulder lateen bottom. It took some cast, but finally the line tightened, the fish who did take was not one I was watching , but rather another trout who was further up stream. I could tell it was a very heavy fish, it would not budge , it was in deeper water than the last trout who sped off to get out of the shallows, this one was moving right to left nervously, not knowing where to go. I was in waist deep water in an exteamly heavy current, I wanted to move back into more shallow water in case I had to follow this brute down stream. As I step backward, I slipped , on one of the "greased bowling balls", but caught myself before falling. My movement allowed the line to come up slack for a second , as it did, the golden beauty leaped eight feet sideways toward the bank on the other side. Another brown trout, an equal to the last, but looked heavier and shorter in length. It made it's run cutting through the water downstream, at a diaganol, dissecting the pool and heading for the shore behind me, in a very deliberate move.I thought at first this was strange behavior, why would it head toward the shore and not try to escape downstream. Just then ,the line became much heavier, it was wrapped around the only log in the entire run. The huge golden colored brown trout was slashing and jumping until it became free. There was nothing I could have done, the fish won, it was the second fish in the last hour that kicked my ass, both being the two largest trout that I'd hooked up to that time.
Upon examining the equipment, I quickly noticed that the fly was still attached, at least the tippet held, but looking more closely, I noticed that the saltwater hook was completely "bent out" Shit, I can't win today, I guess somethings got to give, I was beginning to take this personally, I needed to focus, how many chances could I have?
I looked into my fly box and saw a fly, that was similar to the flies I was using earlier, but it was tied on an extra stout hook, made for large steelhead. With this fly and the 20 lb maxima, I felt like I had my "mojo" back and was ready for bear! I waded back to the spot where I hooked the last monster and saw the others that were holding near the bottom. I was working on one of the elongated shapes, casting upstream and watching the the new fly that was nearly in the zone. Just as I cast somewhat further up stream to get the bug down to the correct level, I heard something behind me. It was my wife at the time, Magdalena, "Que Tal Che", she greeted, Catching any? She had her rod in hand and was heading quite noisily toward me wading out to where I was watching this grey ghost starting to notice my dark green bug. Whoa, Magda, wait, I'm just about ready to hook this really big trout, he's... just then, the line tightened, Damn , said Magda, you have been fishing all day, and I haven't even had a cast. She stormed out of the river, and was pacing on the bank . I told her to get the camera, this would be the largest trout she ever saw, we need pictures! She got the camera and just then , it came out of the water, straight up , at least five feet, it looked like a Tarpon, bending and slashing continuously until it landed on it's side throwing water in every direction. My god! exclaimed Magdalena, what is that? She started taking photos of the water in hopes of another spectacular jump. I told her to wait, there where only a a few shots left ( film, not digital). I had to concentrate, I wanted this one, I'd lost two earlier, this one was a rainbow, not a brown, this was a true trophy.
I decided to hold my ground, not follow downstream, it was making a very long run , all the way to the end of the pool, I was getting near the end of my backing. I bent my rod parallel to the waters surface, and toward my side of the river, this was it, either it was going to stay in the run, or it was gone. I held my ground and bent the small Sage to it's breaking point, I could hear the graphite start to really stress, what was going to give this time ?I asked myself, what this time?. Just then, the Goliath turned and started back up into the Pool, it made three jumps in a row, with over 100 yards of bright red backing slicing through the water with each jump. I knew I had him, he was not getting away, not this one, he was going to be mine. I put the heat on him knowing that I had 20lb tippet and a extra stout hook, what else could go wrong? Then it hit me, the fly could "rip out", Shit, I'd better be careful, just then rrrrreeeee... went the reel and he was off again, jumping and running, all the way down to the very end of the Pool, I turned him once again, and again he came back into the Pool. I moved over to the bank to get a good angle on him, and direct him over to the shallows. I told Magda to get ready, this was it, I had to land him now, or that big fly might just rip out. Again I stressed the 6 weight Sage near it's breaking point, and the giant rainbow complied, and held in the shallows. I grabbed the tippet , dropped the rod and took the gentle giant by the tail and put my other hand under his pectoral fins. As I lifted him gently out of the water, the fly fell from his mouth, it was landed just in the nick of time. Magda shot as many pictures as were left on the camera, six, as fast as she could. I then gently returned the beauty back to safety of the rushing water. He swam away strong and steady, and my ex wife and I looked at each other , and both said the same thing, Wow.
When I woke that morning , I had a feeling it would be a special day on the river. I had no idea that I would be able to experience anything of this magnitude. It was without a doubt , the finest day trout fishing that I have experienced up until now. Ask me again in twenty years, who knows?
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