After fruitless effort during the first thirty minutes of my fishing time today I gave it one last shot. Actually I was about to do the responsible thing and go back to work after snapping off my pink squirrel on some underwater object, but as I was leaving I saw a trout rising to Blue Winged Olives consistently in a spot I hadn’t targeted on this fine day, so I decided for one last attempt to connect with a trout.
I had to tie on a new 5X tippet because the previous tippet had snapped off in the aforementioned incident the with aforementioned unseen object. So I unspooled my leader and some line from my reel, tied on a new tippet with a double surgeon’s knot, tied on a size 18 elk hair caddis, and realized I hadn’t threaded my line through my rod guides. No worries though. A size 18 fly is small enough to fit through all the guides on my 3-wt rod.
So, anyway, I managed to do all this without spooking the fish, which I assumed would be another 6-inch toddler trout. Making a terrifically difficult but stunning backhanded cast and avoiding any entanglements, I presented the fly at intervals of increasing distance, hoping to avoid spooking the fish in this very still pool. On about the sixth cast I had put the fly right above the area where I’d seen the fish sipping flies. I let it sit. Nothing. More nothing. Then, something!
I had barely noticed the slight tug in my line, but I tested to see if I’d made a connection. I don’t recall seeing any fish lips breaking the surface of the mirror-smooth pool, but they must have because my rod was suddenly bent over. I tugged to set the hook and gave the reel a spin. The tension was gone and I wasn’t sure if I’d kept the fish on. The logical place for this fish to make a run was downstream, toward me, and I suppose that’s what it was doing. So I cranked the reel as quickly as I could to keep any hint of tension possible on the line, but it was tough keeping up with that fish.
Then I saw that it was in fact a respectable fish. When I saw him, he saw me, and he turned back upstream to the pool. I let the reel reverse as he made a run back up. I was worried about breaking that size 18 hook off. But I didn’t. I played that nice fish back to me without incident and it was a very enjoyable conversation he and I carried out via that fishing line.
He sure didn’t want to hold still for me to scoop him out of the water for a picture, but I finally got my hand under his belly and brought him out. What a terrific fish and a memorable catch! A picture and then back in he went, and back to work I went…