Precariously Piscatorial/Score-2 to 1

I went down to the river one night last week for the 7:00 hatches with my 7 1/2′ 4wt.

My favorite most fished rod. Sure enough it was perfect, some midges were popping like crazy and some bwo’s to boot.

I studied the water in the failing light and spied several fish rising regularly in deep slick moving water. The water is still very high. I figure there were maybe three nice browns that were cautiously rising and sipping and one rainbow that was breaking water on each rise and on one occasion nearly coming fully out of the water. The last of the sun’s light was right behind my line of sight to the rising trout, which made the visual all the better.

The problem was, that it was going to be near impossible to cast to these fish. I had a steep high and washed out bank grown with brambles. I had my waders on so I figured I’d try to get close enough to present a dry on a 10′ leader I built terminating with 2′ of 6x.

I managed to get down the bank only to sink into the silt getting stuck and nearly losing a boot.

Because of the high water and wash out that occurred a few weeks ago, the water got very deep immediately, so I had to try to hug the near vertical bank. Well, here I am getting my waders, hip pack, rod and underwear snagged in the brambles trying to get into position to attempt a cast.

No opportunity for back cast and no place to lay line for a roll cast. What a predicament!

That didn’t deter my resolve though.

You guessed it didn’t you.

Line gets wrapped in briars and the leader swings into the bank several feet down stream and gets hung up.

No room to turn around and pivoting my right boot in the muck gets it stuck and sucking. It was one of those comedy specials.

OK–John–I asked myself, why didn’t you just enjoy watching those rising fish for a while and then go home and have a beer?

Too late for that. By the time I freed my foot and got turned around and reeled most of the line back in, the leader was toast and I was a bit impatient and ready to get out of there.

By then there was very little light and I didn’t have my headlamp handy (the fish were mocking me by rising with more frequency and splashing), so I didn’t notice that the line was wrapped around the dainty little rod tip. I gave the reel a wee crank when I felt resistance, as I was about over this situation and snap goes the rod tip–my favorite 4 wt. I think I said that already.

I managed to scramble out of there with the help of the same briars what did me in as the bank was falling apart as I went.

Just as I was cresting, I hear a couple of doors slam.

A half dozen guys pile out of the cars with worm dunking spinning gear and ask if I had any luck.

“To make a long story short, no”, says I.

Intrepid or stubborn.

Some of you may understand.

The hatch was perfect, the fish were rising wonderfully, the sound of slurp and splash was intoxicating and I needed to plant a fly just so.

I ended up breaking the rod in half a week or so later. Two breaks in as many weeks after keeping my rods intact for a decade. Raining and pouring. I just put two and two together and the story wraps up and makes some sense this way.

A week later, the water had gone down enough to get into that spot more comfortably so I went another round. I caught two of those browns and the rainbow and it was then that I stepped on the rod and broke it in half. Those fish were after my rod and gave me two across the plate. I caught them good, but the score remains–trout 2 and me 1.

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~ by John McGranaghan on May 9, 2010.

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