Monday, April 21, 2014

The Canadian Connection

When fly fishing gangster, Phil Rowley, let me know his friend, Silvia, was going to be in Boise, I knew I had no choice but to take her fly fishing...or Phil would have my legs broken.  Despite being associated with Phil, Silvia is a great person. Not only is she a fish biologist for Trout Unlimited Canada, but she has been a fly fishing guide for over ten years, meaning Silvia started fly fishing before being a woman in fly fishing was cool.  

"Why don’t we take my car.” Silvia said after a quick introduction in the fly shop’s parking lot. 
“Are you okay with driving around in our wet waders?” I asked, knowing we would be moving from spot to spot after fishing, and things can get messy. Silvia opened her arms, presenting the car, and said “It’s a rental!”  
“Well then, let me grab my stuff!”  

On the way up, Silvia twisted my arm into eating a bag of chips while we stood back to check out the behavior of the fish as they were feeding on the surface, digging into the ground, eating subsurface, or just milling around.
“The fish are all acting differently; I wonder what that’s all a-boot?”  Silvia said, letting her Canadian accent slip as we ate chips. I did my best to explain my theory on why the fish behave so differently during low water years.  The bag of chips was quickly going dry, and with the fish starting to rise more often, Silvia said, “What do you say we get out there and catch some fish, Aye?!” 

Silvia hooked her second fish in only a few casts.  
“It took this little scruffy fly I had again, subsurface!” Silvia told me, as she fought the fish.  The fish was putting up a great fight. I had forgot my net back home, so I was little help at this point.  Silvia took care of the situation just fine by dropping closer to the water to grab her fish.  

The fish was not cooperating, flipping this way and that. 
“Hold still, fish!” Silvia said, as the fish continued to kick and splash.  Finally the fish calmed down enough for her to get the hook out of the its mouth, and she held it up for a picture. 

After her fish swam off, I went back to focusing on the rising trout  I had been working just upstream.  So far the fish had not taken the first few flies I had to offer, so I tied on a split-winged PMD nymph, and coated the fly and my tippet with Orvis hy-flote paste. Splash, splash! I looked over to see that Silvia was into another fish.  
“It took a little black nymph!” She said, as she brought it in quickly, then released it.  
“There are so many fish here in this one spot, Aye!” Silvia said, before she went back to fishing.  
With my fly caked with floatant, I presented it to the rising fish.  My fly was just a dark speck on the surface of the water; one blink and it would be lost.  The fly floated right over the fish and passed it.  Splash!  In a sudden burst of energy, the fish sprang into life, and took my floating nymph. I set the hook and my fish shook its head, trying to escape. 
“Nice!” Silvia yelled, as I brought in my fish and took this picture of it underwater. 

I released my fish, and stood up.  With a sigh I looked over at Silvia and said, “First real fish of the day! Unless you want to count those four you caught subsurface...?” I said, smugly. 
“You’re a snob!” Silvia yelled. “Phil didn’t tell me I was going to be fishing with a snob today.” 
Silvia was good at throwing crap back at me, so I took it a bit further...
“Well, it’s just... These fish are too easy to catch subsurface.” I told Silvia, laying on the purist-fly-fisher-mentality in my best snob accent. Silvia didn’t waste a moment to reply. 
“Then what was all that European Nymphing talk on the drive up here, Aye?”  
“You got me!”  I said with a laugh, while I headed upstream in search for another rising fish, and I found one.  I pitched out a suspended midge, and the fish took!  I set the hook and the fish bolted for deeper water.  I quickly regained control of the fish, and held it at bay for a picture before it threw my hook. 

“It’s not like me to grow roots and stay in one spot.” Silvia said as I met back up with her. 
“It’s a good spot!” I said back. 
“I see you got into a fish.” Silvia said, as we started to head back to the car. 
“Yeah, I got it on a suspended midge.” I said. 
“Next your going to tell me that your suspended fly is a dry fly...” 
“IT IS!” I protested.  
“But, it’s suspended... meaning it’s not really dry.” She told me, smiling no less. We arrived at the car, and Sylvia was about to break her rod down to put it in the trunk. 
“Hand it over.” I said, reaching for her fly rod.  I took it and secured them both in the windshield wipers. 
“Your kidding?” She said. “They will stay there?” Silvia added, sounding skeptical. 
“Have you never seen this?” I asked. 
“No!” She said, getting in the car. “My husband would freak if he saw this.”    

Our new location look promising, as we noticed fish rising.  We did a little scouting around before Silvia found some fish rising to everything but her flies.  Together we threw fly after fly, and the fish would simply come up and look only to refuse them.  I moved out of the way and looked down to tie on another fly when Silvia yelled, “Got it!”  Sure enough, her fly rod was doubled over with the fish.
“Not bad, for a Canadian!” I said.
“I used my Canadian fly.” She said, as she brought in her fish. 

Silvia held out her “Canadian” crane fly pattern for me to look at, and I must say I had never seen anything like it. 
“That’s an awesome fly!” I said, and indeed it was. She gave me a few, and I headed upstream to give it a try.  Back downstream I could hear that Silvia had hooked another fish, but right in front of me was a feeding frenzy.  Caddis had started to swarm and the fish were going crazy.  Aggressive splashing indicated the fish were definitely keyed on the caddis.  I pitched out Silvia’s fly, and as soon as it hit the water a fish took!

I kept the rod close to the water to keep the fish from thrashing around and from spooking the other rising fish.  After a few more fish, I called to Silvia, “How are you doing down there?” 
“They seemed to have stopped rising.” She said back to me through a large bush that was blocking our view from each other.  
“You have to come up here, the fish are going crazy!” I said, as I hooked another fish and brought it in just as Silvia joined me.  

“I’m using your fly.” I told Silvia, as I got out of her way so she could cast.  She still had on her crane fly and presented it to a specific fish feeding in the middle of the run.  So far this fish had refused everything I had presented to it, and it was doing the same to Silvia.  She did catch a fish, but it wasn’t the snob fish. 

I switched my fly to a CDC caddis and caught another fish, then I moved out of the way for Silvia to catch a fish.  This seemed to go on for quite some time, living up every second in dry fly heaven, but there was still that snob fish that wasn’t taking a thing we were presenting to it.  After catching another fish with a CDC caddis, I asked, “Would you like a CDC caddis?” 
“I think I have a CDC fly...” She said, opening her box.  Silvia pull out this monstrosity of a CDC caddis; it had to be a size 10. 
“That’s a little big, don’t you think?” I said skeptically, because the caddis that were buzzing around were two sizes smaller. 
“I guess we’ll see.” She said, and got into position to cast.  Her second cast hit a nice pocket, and wouldn’t you know it, of all the stupid fish it was the one unicorn of a fish that had evaded every fly.  Yes, the snob fish ate her fly!
“It’s the snob fish!” I yelled, laughing in disbelief as Silvia brought the fish in, and held it up for a picture. 

She took some video of her fish swimming away, and looked up at me. 
“You’re right...” She said, holding up the fly she just took out of the fish’s mouth, “This fly is too big.” 
“You’re cutting me deep, Silvia!” I said with a laugh. 
“Well, you’re the expert.” She said, before she went back down stream in search for more rising fish. 
“Ouch!” Was the only thing I could muster up to say.  After the feeding frenzy, the spot was dead.  But before moving on, I did catch one of the smallest browns I had ever caught on the Owyhee

Silvia pilled off the road onto another dirt road that had sagebrush protruding all around.  The branches screeched as they brushed up against the car. 
“Don’t worry about the car; it’s a rental.” Silvia said to reassured me.  We got out and headed through the thicket towards the water.

I led the way through the brush when a small movement caught my eye. 
“FROGS!” I yelled, as I knelled down to look at them. The little frogs were hopping about carelessly as I observed.  And apparently I was enjoying the frogs for a little too long, because Silvia chimed in, “Yeah, they're frogs.  Let’s get oot of the brush, and into the water!” 

The spot ended up being filled with spawning white sucker fish, and we quickly moved on to our final spot of the day.  Just like the other day fishing with my brother, the last part of the day had significantly slowed down.  We both hooked fish, but neither fish was brought in close enough for a picture.  We walked upstream, noticing the fish were not keyed into the march brown hatch that was taking place.  

With the lack of activity on the surface, I switched to a pico spider while Silvia searched with her crane fly pattern.  Once more she hooked a fish, but it came unbuttoned almost immediately.  I went back to searching with the pico and in the middle of a riffle, a fish came up and inhaled it! 
“Gotcha!” I said, setting the hook. Sure enough, it was a solid hook up.  The fish was only in a foot of water, and it came in quickly. 
“Let me get a picture of you.” Silvia said.  I handed her the camera and she got a shot of me holding my fish. 

With a quick flick of the tail, my fish was gone.  The day was winding down quickly, and Silvia’s arms were about as red as the leaf on the canadian flag.  
“Ahhhh.  That feels good.” She said, splashing water on her arms. 
“I wasn’t expecting the weather to be so nice.” She said, “The only other long sleeve shirt I have is fleece.” 
“And you didn’t want to where it in 70 degree weather?” I said, questionably.  Silvia laughed as we headed back to the car. 
“Now that was a fantastic day!” Silvia said, as we geared down. She had easily hit the double digit mark of fish caught today, ending a fantastic day on the water.  
I’m was especially happy to meet and fish with Silvia.  It seems that the more involved I become in the fly fishing world, the more people I meet in many different places, making the world seem that much smaller.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Brother is Back

“I just want to get out to that Owyhee...” My brother, Kris, said in desperation as he just landed in Boise.  He took a job in construction that placed him in Bakersfield, California, and living there has left him with an itch to return to Idaho and fly fish as soon as possible.  The flowers from the Long-Leaved Phlox created a sea of purple out on the Owyhee River, and it was a welcomed sight for my brother. 
“God, it’s good to be back!” He said as we neared the river.  Also accompanying us was good friend and former Navy Seal, Dedrick Foust, who was also dying to fish the Owyhee.  I knew my brother would be interested in meeting him, and the three of us fishing together would make for some good times. 

We pulled over to look into the river and saw some rising fish! 
“This looks like our spot!” I said, as Dedrick whipped the truck around, parked, and jumped out faster than a Navy Seal...  Kris, aka Feef, was the first to gear up and hit the water. 
“What did you tie on?” I asked before he headed down. 
“A pico spider, of course!” He said without looking back.  Dedrick and I hadn’t even finished putting our rods together when we heard, “I got one!” 

Sure enough, Feef was fighting his first fish of the day.  
“Well, welcome back, Brother!”  I said before Dedrick and I finished gearing up, and bolted to the river with pico spiders attached to our leaders.  The fish were rising all around as Dedrick flick out his pico.  A fish took it and Dedrick set the hook, snapping his tippet!  
“Whoa!” I said, laughing after Dedrick’s face went from happy to pissed.  
“Just a slight hook set is all you need.” I told Dedrick, as I handed him another pico spider.  As Dedrick tied his fly on, Feef made his way further downstream and said, “I got another one!”  
“Nice!” I yelled over to him, while Dedrick said, “He’s catching all of our fish!” 
“Your fish is right over there.” I pointed, and Dedrick watched as fish after fish rose just downstream from a big rock. 

Dedrick got into position and presented his fly.  A fish rose, and he set the hook.  His fly flew right towards us and landed just shy of our feet. 
“I thought that fish took your fly too.” I said, as Dedrick went back to casting.  The fish were still feeding like crazy, and Dedrick presented the perfect cast!  
“Can you see your fly?” I asked quickly. 
“Yeah, I think so...” Dedrick said as a fish rose, taking in his fly.
“That’s you!” I said, but Dedrick had already lifted his rod tip, and the fish was on! 

The fish struggled to get away, splashing as it shook vigorously to free itself.  Dedrick kept his line taught, and I slipped my net under the fish after it had calmed down a bit.  
“That’s the biggest brown trout I have ever caught!” Dedrick said happily, as he held up the fish for a picture.  

The fish slipped away from Dedrick’s hands after placing it back into the water, and the distant sounds of a fighting fish caught our attention.  I looked downstream to see that Feef had on another fish!  He didn’t see me walking towards him as he netted the fish. 
“Don't let it go; I want to get a picture of you.” I said, as he took the hook out of the fish’s mouth, and placed it into the water to release it.  

“I’m tearing it up today, Brother.” Feef said to me, as he clipped his net to his magnet. 
“I know. Good job, Brother.” I said, adding, “So far, I'm the only one who hasn’t caught a fish!” 
“Well, let's change that!” Feef said enthusiastically. 
I spotted my fish just upstream, and presented a BWO RS2 into it’s feeding lane.  
“That was a nice cast there, Brother.” Feef said, just before my fly was taken by a fish.  I set the hook, and brought the fish in fast because I didn’t want to spook the other rising fish. 

After a quick picture we met up with Dedrick, who had hooked another fish, but lost it in the fight.  Together the three of us stood, just downstream, watching more fish rise.  One fish in particular was rising in a very hard-to-reach spot.  We could see it frantically rising just between a rock and an overhanging bush. 
“I can get em’.” Feef said, readying his fly and moving into a better position to make a precision cast. 
“You better not screw this up, Brother.” I said, adding to the pressure.  Dedrick and I stood back and watched as Feef started to cast. 
One false cast, then two and three... The distance was set, and Feef presented his fly... right into the overhanging brush.
“Nooo!!!” He yelled, as he tugged on his line that was now stuck firmly in the bush.  
“Geez, how embarrassing...” I said, smugly. “Perhaps you should let a pro show you how it’s done.” I said as I took his spot on the river after he broke off his fly.  

The pocket to land the fly was only about a foot wide, and the feeding lane of the fish was a much smaller target.  My first few attempts were a bit short, and my brother was right there each time, saying, “Don’t screw it up!”  I kept silent, focused on my target, and on the timing of the fish.  Finally: a perfect cast!  My Helios 2 laid out a beautiful arch in my fly line, causing my leader to fully extend and placing my fly right where it needed to be.  I watched the little CDC puff of my fly as it floated right into the feeding lane of the fish.
“Take it you damn fish.” I said, as my fly sat right where it needed to be... and nothing.  The current drug my fly line, which caused my fly to be lightly swept under the water and away from the rising fish; but just then, an even larger fish I hadn’t seen before reared its big head and took my fly as it swept by.  I set the hook, and the red/copper flashed indicated a nice sized fish. 
“This is a big fish!” I said, keeping my line tight, but not too tight; I did not want to lose this fish.  Feef reacted quick by taking out his net and having it ready, just in case I needed help.  I too unhooked my net and had it stretched out to the fish, but the fish had different plans. As soon as it felt the net touch, the fish bolted.  I dropped my net and went back to fighting the fish. 
“He doesn’t want to come in!” I yelled, as Dedrick and Feef stood back and watched.  A second attempt to net the fish failed, and I wasn’t sure how long this 6X tippet would last after being raked across this fish’s teeth.  The fish was starting to significantly lose its fight, and I had made the decision that if my line snapped I would dive for this fish!  Thankfully, that was not necessary.  On my third attempt, the fish came in much easier. I slipped the net under it, and it was landed! 

The colors on this fish were fantastic! The deep red-ish copper colors stood out vibrantly in the cloud covered sky. 

“That is a nice fish there, Brother!” Feef said, as I handed him the camera.  I held up the fish and right when he took the picture, the fish kicked, leaving me with this less-than-desirable picture. 

The fish flopped back into the water and I grabbed it and held it in the current.  When the fish was ready, it kicked off slowly, back into its hiding spot.  
“That was cool!” I said, shaking the water from my hands. Feef and Dedrick stood, watching where the fish was swimming, and I looked up at Feef to see that a baetis had clung on to his fresh, new beard. 

We each split up, searching with our favorite terrestrial pattern, as the hatch had significantly tapered off.  And it never fails! As soon as I changed my fly, I found a fish sipping on the fly I had just removed from my line.  I stepped back from the feeding fish to re-tie on my fly. 
“Got one!” I heard Feef say.  He was right upstream from me, bringing in a fish. 
“Don’t let it go; I need a picture of you!” I said, as I forgot about my fish, and headed up to him.  He netted it easily, and held it up for this picture. 

“It has really slowed down.” Feef said, as the day went on and we hadn’t seen a fish in a while.  I went back to the fish I had seen rising a little bit ago, and ended up spooking it before I could make a cast.  I watched as it bolted away and thought, that was stupid, because I had approached the fish all wrong.  

The day was cruising by and the meadowlark’s songs were echoing across the river as the water trickled over the rocks.  All of that was interrupted by the distant sounds of Dedrick yelling downstream to us.  I was too far away to hear what he was saying, but I did see his rod tip in the air, arched over to fight a fish!  Feef was half way between us, so I yelled over to him, “Dedrick doesn’t have a net!  Get up to him!” Feef started reeling up his line to help when we heard another call from Dedrick. 
“..big fish...” Was all I could make out before I jumped on the bank and ran upstream.  Feef was making his way up through the river, but couldn’t move as fast as I was on the bank.  To my surprise, Dedrick had already brought in the fish and was holding it under the water.  

“Very nice!” I said, as I got to Dedrick. 
“It just came up and ate my fly.” Dedrick told me excitedly. “I threw it right over there...” He said pointing to the river, “...when it came up, and took my fly!”  
“Well, let's get a picture!” I said, and Dedrick quickly picked up the fish. 

It was indeed a very nice fish to catch on your first day fishing the Owyhee.  I clicked the camera, taking a few pictures, when on the third click the fish kicked to get away and we ended up with a fish-flop picture!

While the morning was hot for fishing, the end of the day petered off significantly.  It had been a while since any of us had caught a fish, and it was nearing time to head out.  Feef and I walked upstream, and for a quick second, he had hooked into a fish that spit his fly out. 
“Damn fish!” He yelled, as I looked away to hide my smile.  I had just about made the decision to head back when a small dimple disturbed the water, indicating a feeding fish.  I was closer to it than I would've wanted, so I kneeled down to be more stealthy.  I carefully casted out my pico spider and, with a plop, it landed right where it needed to be.  I watched the fish as its tail pushed it forward, eating my fly!  I stood as I set the hook and brought in the last fish of the day. 

We started our walk back to the truck when we found Dedrick standing on a big rock and casting. 
“Well, look at Brad Pit down there! I said, "Are you doing some shadow casting?”  Feef started laughing, and I smiled down at Dedrick, who looked up at me and said, “What?”  
“He dosen’t get it.” Feef said to me and we both chuckled as Dedrick made a few more casts before coming in. 

Soon we were all back at the truck and geared down.  Feef took one more look around.  The springtime offers a nice scenic view out on the Owyhee, as the red canyon rocks poke though the green foliage, creating a spectacular sight. 

“When is the next time you are headed out?” Dedrick asked. 
“I’m not sure. I don’t want to come out too much; I can get sick of it sometimes.”  I said back. 
“Brother, you have no idea.” Feef said, as he once felt the same way when he lived in Boise.  But now that he is gone,and the great fishing opportunities are no longer present for him, I know that he wishes he could come here every weekend. 
“Overall, it was a good day.  We all caught fish!” I said, happily. 
“Heck yeah!” Dedrick yelled. 
“Yep, and tomorrow I head back to stupid Bakersfield...” Feef said, “...and I already can’t wait to come back!” 

Friday, April 11, 2014

March 31

Soft pillows of thick snow floated down at the South Fork of the Boise river on the last day open.  Most would be sick of the snow this late in the season; but as an angler, the opportunity to fly fish in the snow offers a serenity that you can only understand if you are there to experience it. 

Steve Kip, a good friend and fellow fly fisherman, was already on his way to the South Fork before I had notified him I was interested in joining.  Needless to say, despite being half way to Mountain Home, he turned around to pick me up. 

While Steve rigged up to do some traditional nymphing, I set up the Shadow 2, Euro style.  Though effective, Euro nymphing comes with its draw-backs, as not everything that hooks up is a fish.  Rocks, sticks, and this bundle of flies, shrubbery, and caddis casings are all things you can dredge up on a hook set. 

Whatever the risk of catching a few sticks are, it’s nothing compared to the success this style of nymphing offers; I had already lost count of the number of fish I had brought to the net in a very short amount of time.  Steve had hooked into some white fish, and his next fish was also fighting like a white fish.  
“Not another white fish!” Steve said bitterly.

“Get off!” Steve said to his fish, adding slack to his line, but the fish was going nowhere. 
“I guess I’ll have to bring it in...” He said, rather unhappily. But as Steve lifted his rod, bring the fish’s head out of the water, I noticed the color of the fish. 
“Steve, that looked like a bull trout!”   

“It IS a bull trout!” Steve said happily, “I have never caught one of these before!” 
Steve did a good job keeping it in the water.  While the fish was in his net, I pointed out the white stripes that mark the face of the fins and the orange spots on the flanks, indicating a bull trout.  Steve took it out for a quick picture before releasing it back into the water.  The bull trout darted away aggressively, and Steve looked up at me with a big smile, saying, “That was cool!” 

Steve remained upstream while I walked downstream, but before we separated, Steve was sure to point out the rarities of catching a bull trout, saying, “I bet you wish you could get a bull trout.” 

White fish after white fish was being caught with no bull trout in sight.  Though my rig was performing well, I wasn't getting the accuracy I wanted. Rumor has it that while nymphing, accuracy is not terribly important.  Perhaps it comes with years of dry fly fishing, but I wanted my nymphs to hit a very specific spot on the run.  Switching up my leader a little bit did the trick, and it paid off because the next fish I caught leaped out of the water, indicating a rainbow trout

When a white fish fights, it tends to stay low in the water and it is extremely rare for one to jump. Perhaps its equilibrium is better than a rainbow trout, but a fish jumping is a sure indication you have a rainbow trout on this river.  

Once more I was picking off white fish when I heard a strange trumpet noise coming from the woods.  Turkey, was the only thing I thought it could be, and curious to see one, I set my rod down and bolted into the woods.  The squawking was so loud as I walked further away from the water, and at a crouch, I saw something that wasn’t a turkey.  The tan body stepped lightly through the shrubs in the distance and disappeared before I could get a better look.  Later, after I played a recording of the trumpet noise to a friend, I discovered that what I saw and heard was a sandhill crane.  

The crane’s call was echoing throughout the river as we continued to fish.  It was white fish central, as I hooked one after another.  I was getting much better at determining my strikes with my slinky, and set the hook on another fish!  The fish bolted, ripping line out of my reel.  It’s putting up a great fight, I thought as I regained control, bringing in this little white fish.  I had already caught white fish that would easily double the size of this guy, but the fight this white fish put up was picture worthy.  

The little white fish darted off, and Steve was hooked into a fish upstream. By his lack of enthusiasm, I knew he had caught another white fish.  My attention had quickly gone back to my fishing, especially after I had hooked into something big.  The fish took off downstream, and in order to stop line from screaming out my reel, I had to follow it.  Waste deep, I let the current help me as I took big strides downstream.  The weight of this fish had my Shadow 2 doubled over, and with a few more steps the fish had eased up.  A quick flash revealed that the fish I had hooked was a sucker fish!   

Getting it into the net was a challenge on its own: the fish was not wanting anything to do with me and would pull away every time I had it an inch from the net.  And when I did get it in my net, the fish had a look, as if it didn’t have a clue what was going on. 

“I didn’t even know these fish were here.” Steve said, joining me on the river's edge.  
“They are definitely here.” I told Steve, “I just have never caught them because I normally don’t nymph the South Fork.”  

The dark figure of the sucker fish swam off lazily.  Both Steve and I looked out onto the water, watching a small baetis hatch take place.  
“Any rainbows?” I asked Steve, who was dying to catch one; and I knew full well he hadn’t caught one yet. 
“Nope...” He said, “Any bull trout?” He asked me, very snobby-like.  I looked over at him, and smiled...
“Well played, Steve... Well played.” 

The baetis had started hatching, and a few fish starting rising to them.  I took off my nymphing leader, and switched my Shadow 2 into a dry fly rod.  I got into position to cast out my RS2 BWO fly to a non-suspecting fish.  The fly floated gingerly over the feeding fish, and it came up and ate my fly.  The fish thrashed as I brought it in, and Steve was there to snap a picture. 

Another rising fish was only a few feet away from the previous one.  I dusted my fly, to get it floating again, and presented it to the new fish.  The water was moving slowly carrying my fly towards the fish.  The fish appeared, right under my fly, taking a careful look before opening its mouth to take in my fly.  I set the hook, and the fish was airborne.  Splash, splash, splash!  This fish was pissed, but despite its jumping abilities, it came in easy.  

“I want to get a rainbow.” Steve said, as I let the fish go. 
“Go for a rising one, then you know it will be a bow.” I suggested, and handed the rod to Steve.  We could see fish rising all over the place, so it was now a matter of choosing a fish to catch.  I suggested to Steve that we get closer to the fish we were going for; that way there was no need to make some fancy, long distance cast when just a simple one would do.  Steve’s fly was a little out of the feeding lane, but the fish came up for it anyway and Steve set the hook! SNAP!

“Whoa, Steve. You are only fishing with 6X tippet.” I said, before I tied on a new fly for him.  More fish were rising, as Steve regained his confidence, and presented his fly to another fish.  The fish willing took his fly, and Steve set the hook!  Splash, splash, gone... 
“What am I doing wrong?” Steve asked, frustrated.  I explained that it would just be a matter of time and experience that would eventually work itself out.  By now most of the fish had stopped rising and we headed back to the truck.  Just as we approached where we would walk out, a fish rose. 
“I want to watch you catch it.” Steve said.  I presented my fly, and the fish came up to take it.  I set the hook, and brought in this nice rainbow. 

“See how easy it is?” I said to Steve with a smile, as I released my fish and looked up just in time to see a second fish rising right behind the spot where I had caught my fish. 
“That’s your fish!” I said to him, handing over my rod. Steve wanted a rainbow so bad he could taste it.  So to ease his anxiety, I said, “You better get this one, because you know I can...”  
“Yeah, thanks...” Steve said as he focused on his cast, and laid out his fly.  With the smallest dimple of a rise, Steve’s fish took his fly, and he set the hook!  The fish felt the pressure of Steve’s line, and immediately started thrashing.  In that split second we both recognized the size of this fish was easily double the size of the fish I had just caught, and in that split second, the fish threw Steve’s hook and it was gone.  
Steve stood there in shock, saying, “Did you see that fish?” 
“That was a big fish!” I confirmed.  There were no more rising fish, so we headed up to the truck.  After the excitement, we geared down and settled in for the ride home. I looked over at Steve and said, “Hey, Steve.  Do you remember that time when you lost that big fish?" Steve didn't miss s beat, "Was that the same time when I caught that bull trout?  Something you have yet to do at the South Fork?"  He glanced over at me, smiling. 
"Well, until next time!" I said.
"Yes Sir!" Steve replied, and we drove home.