Friday, December 27, 2013

Rocky Ford Creek

Ever since Thanksgiving, I have been excited to go to my hometown of Moses Lake, WA.  Not necessarily to visit family, (though they are great), but to fish a fantastic spring creek called Rocky Ford!  Last time I fished at Rocky Ford I caught a nice fish that shattered my largest trout record, weighing in at 6 pounds, 26 inches.  Little did I know I was going to break that record this time. 

When we first arrived at Rocky Ford, every part of me wanted to jump out of the car and run to the creek.  The first sight was so exciting, both my brother and I started whooping and applauding as we pulled in to gear up for streamer fishing.  It was no surprise that when we were just about to start fishing, my brother says, “Okay, Brother!  I have a new 9’ 6X leader on!” 
“No, brother, no.” I said, stopping in my tracks.  
I explained to him that we were fishing with big streamers, which required something a bit stronger than 6X.  I fixed him up with  a 2X leader, and off we went to fish!

Feef began fishing off of a boardwalk not far from me.  We wanted to stay in ear-shot of each other so that we could help each other out if needed.  And sooner than expected, help was needed!  
“Brother!  Brother help!” I heard Feef yelling and laughing.  From where I was, I could hear the distant thrashes of a fish.  
“Brother!!!” I yelled back to him as I ran to help, “I’m coming!" But it wasn’t fast enough for Feef.  
“Well take your time, Brother!” He yelled back at me as I slowed down to be more cautious on the slick boardwalk.  He wrenched back on his rod to keep the fish at bay, as I laid on the deck and slipped the net under the fish.  
“Yeaaaaah!” Feef yelled as the fish was brought up for a picture. 

The first fish of the day was caught, and that only fueled my determination to get the next fish.  Feef followed me to fish another part of the creek.  
“This spot looks real good!” He said as we pulled line out of our reels.  At Rocky Ford Creek you are not allowed to wade, so the longer you can cast the better.  I double-hauled my Dalai Lama streamer out and started to retrieve it slowly; keeping the tip of my rod as close to the water as possible to avoid slack. That's when I saw it: a disturbance that could rival the wake of a submarine charging just under the surface.  A wave of adrenaline shot through my body at the sight of the disturbance, but to change the speed of my fly would be a rookie mistake.  I kept the slow pace of my strip as the wake drew closer and closer, then I felt the full weight of the fish as it took my fly.  
“This is a big one!” I yelled to my brother, who was taking video of the entire event. 
“It’s a big one?!” He yelled as he made his way over to help me out.  “Oh, Brother, it’s a monster!” He growled with excitement! 
“This is so good!” I managed to say as we netted my first fish of the day.

We could see big fish where we were, but there was still more creek to fish.  Both of us walked further down stream to another section and followed a trail through the cattails to the water's edge.  Casting here can be vexing, as every little twig, weed, or dead nettle remaining grabs your fly line.  In the thick of it all, Feef lost his streamer to a greedy cattail. 

“How can you cast so far?” Feef complained as I rocketed my Dalai Lama to the other side of the creek.  
“I guess I’m just good, Brother.” I said, modestly.  
“Thats messed up.” He replied, as he grabbed one of my Dalai Lamas.  The ability to cast far paid off here, as another fish inhaled my fly.  The fish was ripping out line, but with the 9 1/2 foot 6wt. Helios 2, Ryan let me borrow, I had the leverage.  The rod arched as I applied the torque to bring in a nice fish. 

As a spring creek, Rocky Ford is very clear.  With the overcast you can see your fly from all the way across the stream.  Watching a fish strike at your fly, and lifting your fly rod to set the hook would be a rookie Rocky Ford mistake; this usually results in tearing the fly away from a hungry fish.  Not that this has ever happened to me, of course, but it is a lesson my brother was becoming annoyed with.  
“I keep missing them!” He yelled. “And I can see them chasing my fly!"
“You have to strip set.” I said, “The fish will more than likely hook itself!”
This is easier said than done, after all, you can’t blame a guy for reacting when a 23-inch fish strikes his fly.  

Walking along the path we met up with my Dad, my wife, Gracy, and my little brother, Bryan, who all came to bring us some hot chocolate and a bite to eat.  I asked if they would like to stay and watch us fish for a little bit.  My dad loves taking pictures, so no matter what Gracy or Bryan wanted, they were going to be here until one of us caught a fish.  I could hear, Feef yelling at my dad to watch out for his back cast, as I began to cast.  It was only a few cast later when I felt the glorious tug of a fish. 
“Dad!  I got one!” I said as I wrenched back on the rod. 

From a far, Bryan came running to watch the excitement  My dad had his camera, taking pictures like mad.  I brought the fish in, and Feef was there, net in hand, to help land my fish; but right when I had it close, the fly flew right out of its mouth.   
“NO!" I yelled as the fish bolted to get away! Only the fish made a mistake; it swam in towards shore where I dove to grabbed it!  It slipped through my hands easy, as I scrambled to get a hold.  
“Got it!” I said, as I lifted the fish for Gracy to snap a picture. 

After the excitement the family took off, leaving both Feef and I to fish for the rest of the day.  “Be sure to be back at the house by 6:00 p.m.” Gracy said before taking off.  
“This means we should be at the car by 4:30 p.m.” I told my brother.  He had just graduated from Boise State in Construction Management, and the family was celebrating this evening.  
Feef continued to miss fish after fish, not to mention he was on his fourth fly. 
“I’m bleeding flies here, Brother!”  I said as I handed him another Dali Llama.  
“Well, all of these damn cattails, Brother... They're killing me!” Feef said, taking the fly.
“Yeah? Well they're costing me a fortune.” I said, as he started laughing.  
I had brought in a few more fish, while my brother kept hooking up, and losing his fish.  I could hear his colorful language as he missed fish after fish, and to top it off, he miss calculated his cast and snapped off yet another fly.  His frustration echoed across the silent creek, as I muffled my laughter. 
“Tell you what, Brother.  Come take a picture of this fish, and I’ll give you another Dalai Lama!” I yelled over to him, as if he had a choice

Bridges at both ends mark the start and finish of the creek, which are a little under a mile apart.  Our plan was to cross the bridge and fish our way back to the car from the other side of the creek.  We had reached our halfway mark, and fished around the second bridge for a while.  I hooked into a nice fish, but it came unbuttoned right near the end.  “Damn!  It came off!” I said. 
“Well, I feel really bad for you.” My frustrated brother said. 
The light was slowly fading, so I asked, “What time is it?” 
Feef pulled out his phone, and shot me a worried look. 
“It’s 4:28!” He yelped.  
We had spent over five hours walking from spot to spot, only to reach our halfway mark, with no time left!  
“Okay, here's our plan!” I said while Feef listened.  “We are going to run from spot to spot, and fish only the best spots along the way. Okay?” 
“Okay!” He agreed. 
And off we ran! 

Nippers and forceps clanked around as we ran upstream to the next spot.  A few casts, a hook up, a long distance release, and off we ran again.  Before we knew it, we were half way to the car.  We stripped off line feverishly, and shot it out as far as we could.  My streamer got nailed, and a fish thrashed in the distance. We had little to no time left, so I was on my own for this fish.  Feef continued fishing intently as I released my fish.  
“I got one!” Feef yelled.  I could tell by the way he was fighting it that he had managed a solid hook-up.  Though the sun was quickly fading, his smile could be seen from space. 

I grabbed the net and laid on the ground, reaching out as far as I could with it.  This fish was not happy, as it thrashed its head to and fro.  For a second it gave up, and just then, Feef applied the torque needed for me to get the net under his fish.
“YES! This is a nice fish!” Feef yelled, all smiles! 

It was now 5:00 p.m. and we were sill at the half way mark.  Feef had clipped his fly off so he would not be tempted to make another cast.  We arrived to a spot on the path where I had never been before, and with the low light, it was hard to see the dark jagged rocks that tripped us up every so often.  

“Where the hell are we?” Feef asked, as we came to a dead end on our trail.  The trail ended at a small concrete dam, that opened up to a pond with no bank to walk on.  
“Great!” Feef yelled, frustrated, right before he looked to his left and found the path.  “This way!”

Time was not on our side, and the last thing he wanted was to be late for his own party.  I looked out into the big open pond.  It seemed dark and deep, and with no bank, the water's edge looked like it dropped off immediately. 
“Brother, I should make a cast...” I said stopping on the path, which had turned into a larger road leading to the car.  
“There’s no time!” He protested, then sighed... “Why the hell not?!”
I quickly stripped off line, and launched my Dalai Lama out into darkness.  I stripped it back in, and noticed a structure out in the pond.  I stripped off even more line and blasted it further out.  A steady strip caught the attention of something in the water, as a large wake rapidly approached my fly! I didn't feel a nibble, or a bump; this fish SLAMMED my fly. 
“Woah!” I yelled, as my 9 and a half rod doubled over. 

"BROTHER! BROTHER THIS IS A BIG ONE!" I cried, not holding back my excitement! 
“THIS IS THE BIG ONE!” I screamed!
“AHHH HA HA!” I laughed hysterically with excitement, as Feef ran to help.  He did not have waders on, and with the hard dirt, it was too slick for him to get close to the water's edge for the opportunity to help land my fish.  
“You are going to have to get it yourself.” He told me, as he backed away from the drop toward the water.  
“It’s fighting like a steelhead!” I yelled as I inched closer to the water, trying not to fall in.  I had the net in my hand, and wrenched back on the rod while I reached as far as I could with the net.  It was not going to be that easy.  My forearm quickly fatigued as the fish made another run. 
“It’s too big to land this way!” I told Feef, “Here!” I thrusted my fly rod in his hands, “You have to fight it, as I land it!”
As soon as I handed Feef the rod, he felt the power of this fish! 
“Oh my God!” He yelled, as the fish fought back.  
Feef stood right behind me as he lifted the rod tip high into the air. It was just enough!  I slid down the embankment, caught a rock with my foot that kept me from sliding into the water, and jabbed my net into the water, under the fish.
“I got it!” I yelled as I lifted the fish out of the water. 
The fish completely filled the net, as I, on both knees, tried to lift it.  The weight of the fish pulled me off balance, and I almost fell on top of it.  Finally, I lifted the fish for this picture of a 26” 9 lb fish!

“Ooooooh, Brother, look at this PIG!” I yelled, as Feef continued to snap pictures.  There was no way for me to dip it back into the water to take a breath, so just as fast as I pulled it out, I had to put it back.  But not before Feef snapped off some shots, mid celebration! 

The fish bolted from my hands, and I saw the wake disappearing into the dark. 
“Well Merry Christmas, Brother!” Feef yelled to me, as I clipped the fly from my leader, and reeled in the line.  It was 5:30 p.m. by the time we arrived back to the car.  We geared down quickly, still laughing from the excitement of the last fish caught, and drove off. The car ride back home was one to remember, as we relived the moment.  My forearm ached from the fight.  We had previously decided to only fish one day while in Moses Lake, but we convinced ourselves that fishing was too good, and the real crime would be to not return the next day! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sacrifice to the Fish Gods

“Yellow!” Travis Swartz said when he picked my phone call. 
“Orange, green, pink.” I replied. 
“What?” He asked.  
“Well you said, Yellow, so I said Orange, green, pink...” 
A small moment of silence gapped the conversation, probably to get past the stupidity of my joke, before Travis replied, “Why don’t we leave the comedy SAFELY and SECURELY in my hands!?”  
“I’m just calling to tell you that I’m a bad friend.” I said. 
“What now?” He sighed. 
“I am headed to the South Fork, and I forgot to invite you... I’m ten minutes away from Mountain Home.  Sorry.” I said.
“On any other day I would agree that you are indeed a bad friend, but I am a worse friend.” 
“Why is that?” I asked,
“I’m already in Mountain Home!”   
Travis was on his way back from Eastern Idaho, and had decided to stop to fish the South Fork before heading back home.  After a quick conversation, we decided to meet up on the river to fish Travis’s secret spot.  

I arrived in time to see a fish leaping out of the water that Travis had just hooked!  I parked and leaped out just in time to hear, “Erik!  Do you have a net... BIG FISH!” 
"Yeah!” I yelled back, and quickly brought my net to Travis. 

“What happened to your net?” I asked. 
“Lost it.” Travis replied, “While I was fishing a few weeks ago.”
I asked, “Would that be the net that was worth $130, to which I suggested you buy a security magnet so you don’t lose it... but you said that $35 for the magnet was too expensive...?” 
“That would be the one!”

I watched as Travis did everything he could to lose his fish.  His funky landing techniques, that I can honestly say I have never seen, were unorthodox but effective.  Travis brought in his fish, and held it up to for the camera.  “What do you think Erik... 27, 28 inches?” 

I ran back to gear up, and quickly joined Travis on the water.  Like he said, the fish were rising all over the place; however, the only big fish was the one Travis brought in when I showed up.  The other fish were little shakers. 

I looked back and saw that Travis was hooked into a fish. "Big fish!" Travis yelled, "Big fish just got away!" 
"Oh yeah?" I said.
Travis continued, "It was 30 inches... just came up and ate my dry fly."   

We fished for a few hours together before it was time for him to take off.  I also decided it was time to find a different spot, so I picked up and drove downstream.  The river had definitely changed in the aftermath of this summer’s fire.  I stopped to watch a small section of water, and found some steadily rising fish.  These are going to be tough fish to cast to, I thought to myself, remembering the deep trench that ran along the bank in this section.  Oh well, I thought as I made my way down to the water’s edge.  

The water was glass smooth, and to my surprise, the once deep trench was now filled up with sand.  That’s nice, I thought as I maneuvered out to make a good cast.  
“Look, there’s a fly fisherman!" A child's voice echo off the rock walls.  I looked up to see a father standing with two kids watching me.  The fish were still rising in front of me. Well I better not disappoint.  I laid out a nice cast, presenting the fly ever so delicately.  The fish cooperated nicely by taking my fly on the first cast.  
"He's got one!" The young voice boomed, as my fish put on a nice display of jumps and thrashes before I landed it.  

I was now standing ankle deep in the very spot the trench would have been, making my cast even better.  Time flew by as I brought in fish after fish, each displaying its own style of acrobatic abilities.  Before long I had to get going to meet up with some other friends on the river.  As I made my way back to the bank, I realized I had accidentally snuck up on a fish!  I stood there and watched it as it stayed almost motionless.  More time flew, as I couldn't believe how close this fish was letting me get.  Finally, after getting WAY too close, it shot off like a torpedo. 

Campground N is where the guys said to meet up for the annual ‘Sacrifice to the Fish Gods' ceremony.  I was greeted by Dave Gourley, "Erik! Remember that Sage rod I just got back after I broke it?" 
"Yeah." I replied. 
"It's broken again!" Dave said. "First hour I was here!" 
"Oh no!" I chuckled back to him.  
I ended up letting Dave borrow one of my fly rods, and he immediately started fishing. One of the guys came up to me as Dave started casting, and said, "You realize he's just going to break it, right?"

It's amazing what some blue-collared fly fisherman can come up with for grub.  We all enjoyed smoked ribs, meatballs, homemade macaroni and cheese, beans, corn, cookies, and a prize wining pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream on top!  Even with ten of us, there was way too much food. 
Dave built up the fire after dinner, "FIRE! I've created fire!" He yelled, holding up his hands to imitate Tom Hanks in Castaway.  "Great movie..." Dave continued, "Why would you want to leave the island?  I bet there would be great bone fishing!" 

Everyone was quiet as we circled the fire to offer up our sacrifices.  Something near and dear to each of us was thrown into the flames.  I knew a few of the guys who showed up, and most of them take this offering very seriously.  A few funny words were said, along with more heartfelt and honest sacrifices; and for the fifth time, I introduced myself to White Fish Ed, who sacrificed a few hats to the fire.  

I learned about some of my fellow anglers, and how much the South Fork of the Boise means to them.  It's nice to have been, and continue to be, apart of a local organization who put forth time and money to restore such a great river.  

With all the sacrifices and fellowship that surrounded the fire that evening, a flicker of fire erupted displaying a figure dancing in the flames.  We believe it to be a Fish God. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cast and Blast

On the way home from a successful deer hunting trip (fun story), Ryan Spillers and I stopped on the South Fork of the Clearwater to do some steelhead fishing.  It was very early to be expecting steelhead on the South Fork but, as ridiculously optimistic fly fisherman, we had to check it out.

I couldn’t find the correct switch line for my rod before we left Boise, so I ended up pairing my 5wt switch with a 10wt fly line.  It may sound a little far fetched but, in theory, it should work because the head of a switch line is dramatically overweighted to the rods weight, allowing for easy two-handed casting.   

The switch line peeled off the water as Ryan made his first cast.  I soon joined him and was casting, with my theorized set up, better than expected.  We worked a section of water before we decided to move on.  Though a steelhead is the fish of a thousand casts, after about 50 we were ready to go. 

“I think it would be smarter on our part if we stop fishing here and head to the salmon river.” Ryan said as we got off the water.  Our time was limited, so we had to make the best of it; fishing the South Fork of the Clearwater right now was not making the best of it. “Sounds good to me.” I replied, and we jumped in his truck and drove the hour and a half drive with our waders on.  

We stopped to fish downstream from Riggins, and once more had no luck.  The wind was picking up, which faltered the performance of my fly line.  Our last chance for a fish was thirty minutes up stream on the Little Salmon River. 

It’s a good thing Ryan was there, because I know very little about places to fish for steelhead.  He picked a location, and we jumped out of the truck ready to fish.  We each picked our spot and I couldn’t have been happier to have a switch rod.  On the Little Salmon there is very little room for a back cast, and the heavy line of a switch allows for easy water loading.  This means there is no need for a back cast!  I launched out my fly and looked upstream just in time to see Ryan’s eleven foot switch bolt to the sky! A steelhead thrashed in the water as Ryan’s rod arched and bobbed with a fish.  Before we could celebrate, the fish turned and the switch rod sprang straight, lifeless.  Damn, I thought as Ryan stood on the bank looking out into the river.  

The wind was howling, and a thick shrubbery blocked my view from completely seeing Ryan.  All I saw was an orange hunting hat turning left and right, and every steelheader knows why: did anybody see that I hooked into a fish? 
Yes Ryan, I did see that you hooked a fish.  Sometimes that is all the action you get when steelhead fishing for hours; a bump, a pull, a long distance release and, as trustworthy as fly fishers are, we never believe one another.  

I didn’t hesitate long before I launched another cast, this time much further out.  A nice mend helped the drift of my fly, and in less than a second, my indicator was pulled underwater! My forearm braced the long extended handle as I set the hook.  I watched in amazement as my indicator started swimming up stream, and the forceful TUG TUG TUG of a steelhead tested my rod!  “Ryan! Ryan! RYYYYAAAAN!!!” I screamed with excitement as chrome flickered underwater.  Ryan ran over faster than a chicken on a June bug screaming, “ERRRRRRIIIIIK!” He stood ready with the net as I brought the steelhead close to the bank.  My rod doubled over as I applied torque, bringing the fish closer to Ryan.  “Get him Ryan, get him!”  Ryan thrusted his hand in the freezing water to get the net under the fish and lifted. “Yeaaaaaaa!” I yelled, as I saw the steelhead securely in the net! “Woo Hoo!” Ryan added scrambling away from the freezing water. “My first real steelhead!” 

Confidence boomed after that fish, and we went right back to fishing.  We stayed longer than anticipated in search for another steelhead, but mother nature had something else in mind. 
The temperature had dropped significantly, and the strong gusts of wind were freezing my face.  I reeled in and ran back to the truck to discover that Ryan was way ahead of me.  My fingers and face were frozen as I geared down and got into the truck.  The truck would get blasted by wind, causing it to slightly rock. 

“Well, good job, Erik.” Ryan said as we drove off, “You have deer and steelhead to take home to Gracy.” “She’s going to be happy, I never bring home fish.” I replied, adding, “I would have let the steelhead go if you weren’t here.” 
“It’s a hatchery fish, Erik. We needed to get it out.” Ryan added to make me feel better.  “I know,” I said, “but I would still rather kill a deer than kill a fish.” Ryan laughed at this, “I killed your fish, Erik!” “I know, I’m just saying... It was probably a good fish.”  Ryan looked over at me and said, “It probably was." 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fly By

I have wanted to fish with Jim Kazkoff for a while now.  After all, we have been working on the Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo committee together for the past two years.  Jim was the chairman of the Expo last year and has resumed his position this year, along with a fantastic team of individuals... and me.  Jim has also been helping me develop my resume in the quest for a “real job.”  It was about time our schedules allowed us to end up on the river to fly fish at the same time.  We ended up on the South Fork of the Boise, below Neal Bridge, in search of the BWO hatch. 

It was a very calm, crisp morning as we descended down into the canyon.  The water reflected the rocks and sky as if a mirror were in its place, and the faint dimples of rising trout distorted the picture.  The water had seriously risen since a few days previous, so we had to walk up stream to find running water.  Jim’s buddy, Tom, who drove us to the location, was also ready for the hatch.  Both had never fished this spot before and were eager to check it out.  I recommended a streamer at first, and it wasn’t more than a few casts before Jim hooked into the first fish of the day. 

"Awe, man, its a Squaw Fish!” Jim yelled as he quickly released his fish.  
“That means it doesn’t count.” Tom added quickly.  It was shortly after Jim’s fish when Tom brought in the first rainbow, adding, “First rainbow.  It counts!” Jim quickly went back to fishing, and hooked another fish, perhaps this time a trout.  “Another Squaw Fish?!” He said disappointedly, “Why am I only catching Squaw Fish?”
“I don’t know Jim, but if I were you, I would be happy with any fish I caught.” I said, adding to the burn.  
“That’s probably true.” Jim said with a chuckle.    

The BWO hatch had yet to take place, but I walked further upstream anyways, looking for some rising fish.  I had tied on my RS2 BWO pattern for an unsuspecting fish, and sure enough one rose.  With my fly ready I presented it out to the fish without hesitation, and it took.   

First rainbow on a dry fly, I thought as I brought in my first fish. In the distance we heard a thumping sound.  Thinking it was another log truck passing by on the road above, two Apache choppers suddenly shot from around the canyon wall in formation.  The booming sound of their blades shook the canyon walls and created a pounded in my chest.  That was cool, I thought as I went back to fishing. 

The BWO hatch was in full force now, and fish started rising everywhere.  I was picking off fish left and right when the wind picked up.  White caps crashed on the surface, making the river look like it was moving upstream.  Trying to make out a rise in all the commotion was nearly impossible.  Jim came to fish with me and we both waited for the wind to die down, which it finally did.  The water was glass once again, and the fish were back to eating BWOs.  Jim casted out to a rising fish, that was practically in arms reach, and nailed it.  

We both took turns casting and catching rising fish.  The wind threatened to rear its ugly face, but thankfully died down.  The hatch did not disappoint, and when it was over we went back to throwing streamers.  Once more we heard the familiar sounds of a chopper approaching.  We all stood and looked up as a black hawk did a fly-by below the crest of the canyon. 

“They must be practicing.” Jim said looking up at the chopper.  The temperature had noticeably dropped, especially after the canyon’s shadow covered the water.  We decided to call it a day and head back.  On the way out Tom was flipping his streamer out and catching a few fish. “This was a nice spot.” Tom said after releasing his fish.
“I agree. Thanks for suggesting we come here, Erik.” Jim added as we made it to the top of the canyon.  
“I’m glad you guys liked it.  Just think of the spots I’m not telling you about!” I cheekily added.  
“We must not be that good of friends yet!” Jim said laughing. We drove off and made it back to Boise with daylight to spare.  That's not the norm, but my good buddy, Ryan, was giving a talk to Trout Unlimited about his Alaska experience and we didn’t want to miss it.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013


“Where did you find that?” I asked as my brother, Kris as he pulled out a monster peanut butter cup.  “At the gas station.  I thought it would be a good treat for the road!” He said very excitedly as he handed it to me.  The thing must have weighed about half a pound and was about the size of a pot pie.  I broke it up in four pieces and we all shared it.  I was only halfway through my quarter slice when I said, “There is no way I could eat one of these by myself.” “Tell me about it.” My brother said, “I ate one by myself.” Ryan and I looked at each other in amazement as my brother finished, "and I was sick for a few days.”  

The three of us headed down Blacks Creek Road toward the lower section of the South Fork of the Boise River.  Today was a special day because I had a Tenkara rod to try out.  I have always been curious to try one, so I pulled it out as we geared up.  I also brought my Helios 2 (H2) just in case.    

The water had risen since the last time I was here, so we walked up stream where we saw a large number of rising fish sipping BWOs off the surface.  I set the H2 down as I crept up on some fish to position myself within casting distance.  Twenty-four feet was my limit, and when I got to where I needed to be, the fish stopped rising.  I stood there for what felt like an eternity, waiting for this fish to start rising again.  Just out of my reach were seven to ten fish steadily rising, which would have been an easy cast with the H2.  This is stupid, I thought to myself as I watched the feeding frenzy take place.  Both Ryan and Feef were catching fish with Western style rods.  My fish rose again to recaptured my attention.  With a flick I made a cast.  Not exactly accurate, nor was it drag free, I thought as my fly drifted toward where the fish had rose.  I made another cast, and this time my fly landed where I wanted it to land.  With the slightest disturbance, the fish ate my fly.  

The eleven foot Tenkara rod danced with a fish, and out of instinct I reached for the line that wasn’t there.  The fish swam around me in circles as I did my best not to break him off.  I reached for the sky with the Tenkara rod as I hand-lined the fish into my net.

There, I caught one with the Tenkara rod, I thought as I almost ran back for the H2.  With a real rod in my hand, I hammered the fish.  They were all 13 to 14 inch cookie cutters, but fought like crazy and were very acrobatic.  The three of us were yelling and laughing as we caught fish after fish.  The stillness on the water echoed our excitement. 

After a number of fish, both Ryan and I broke out the Tenkara rods for another go.  “Be sure those telescoping sections are nice and tight, Ryan.” I said before he made his first cast.  These Tenkara rods are not the strongest things on the planet, and breaking one was the last thing I wanted to do.  A fish rose, and Ryan made a few casts out to it.  After taking a few steps closer, the fly was in position, and the fish took! 

“Whooooo hoooo!” Ryan yelled ans his fish leapt out of the water. “This is the biggest one yet!"

The fish tore off upstream, and with no line to give, the big fish of the day broke off.  Ryan was less than thrilled.  As if to rub salt on the wound, Feef yelled, “That's what you get for fishing Tenkara... Stupid..!” 
“Hey!” I yelled back in protest. 
“What are you talking about, Erik?  You broke yours!” My brother was right.  On a simple cast, the second section of my Tenkara rod had snapped only moments before.

On the way back home we argued.  "Perhaps It was not the best place to try it out?" "Maybe we should take it to a small stream?”  "It does offer us a good dry fly challenge.”  “They said we could fish it on the South Fork."  “It would help if I had a third hand to bring in the fish while holding the rod, line, and the net!” These were all great questions and suggestions we had while discussing Tenkara.  Mid-conversation, a black object running in the road caught my eye.  “A dog!” I yelled warning my brother so he wouldn’t hit the black figure.  I looked behind us to see another truck close behind. “They are going to hit it!  STOP!”  

Feef brought his truck to a quick stop, but not before I had opened the door and jumped out.  A sharp whistle brought the dog over to me, and the truck behind us slowed down as it drove by.  A wagging tail quickly made things less on-edge as the dog approached.  “What are you doing out here?” I asked the dog, as it panted.  I brought the tailgate down, “Up!” I yelled, and the dog obeyed.  I cleared a spot for it to lay down before I got back in the cab.  We took off, with Ryan keeping an eye on it through the back window.  “I hope Gracy’s not going to be mad.” I said as we drove home. 

I called Gracy to let her know I found a dog, and she was happy that I had picked it up.  We gave him water and food and even made a bed for him in the house.  He was well-trained, clean, and obeyed commands very well, so he got to sleep inside.  

The next day Gracy took him to the Humane Society, and was given a reference number to keep tabs on him.  If it boiled down to it, we were going to end up with a new dog.  However, I am happy to report that his parents came and claimed him, and his name was Buddy.  It was great news for both Gracy and I, and despite some of the flack I got for picking him up in the first place, I would do it all over again.