fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

losing my beejezus

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I and the family and my sister’s family headed up to the cabin for the three-day weekend.  I think we all had fun, with Tom and Nick hitting the slopes for some skiing, Luci and Nathan and Karen and Adam enjoying time away from home (and extended knitting time for Karen) and me getting some fishing time.  In the evening it was fun and games, literally.

Saturday morning found me on the Lower Stanislaus River below Goodwin Dam. Only had about three hours there and much of that was occupied by hiking and exploring as this was my first visit. Did drift nymphs through a stretch on the other side of an island below a wide pool and got one strike that gave me a fish on the line for a few seconds. Just enough to let me know the fish were there.

I hit Two Mile Bar about nine o’clock Sunday morning. Amazing weather—a great day to fish regardless of the catching. Best of all, I was the only one on the river until approximately noon. After that there were only two other fishermen there until five o’clock or so.

I first headed to the Oak Tree spot on what I would all the north shore of the river. I began with an AP nymph with a prince nymph dropper, but when I notice a small hatch going on — looked like light-colored midges — I switched to hare’s ear with a zebra midge dropper. (Both were flies that I tied during the last few weeks.) A few more casts and I was into what might very well have been the largest wild rainbow I have hooked so far. He went to the bottom of the swift water and after about a minute battle the stubborn rascal, I had put exerted enough pressure to bring him closer to shore and slow water, but this fish was having nothing to do with that. So he jumped. As in his whole-body-cleared-the-water jumped. And threw the fly at the same time. Now some might say that the size of a fish increases in direct proportion to the distance at which it is LDR’d, but I’d say this guy was an easy 14 inches. And beefy. If a trout can perform a belly flop, this guy did. Great way to start the morning!

After walking downstream to “the bed,” I fished my way back upstream. No action to speak of, but it was nice to be out. The water was just about right, though I think I like it a tad lower.

Along about noon I met up with a fellow fishing above the Amphitheater. After discovering that we both lived in the same town, there was quite a bit of sharing of information on tactics and flies. We went different directions, and after a bite of lunch, I ended up on the south shore of the Oak Tree area. After about an hour of chucking various nymphs at various depths at various seams, it was fish on again. This time I was granted a close just-about-to-the-net look, but again was foiled by a quick release.

The fishermen I had met earlier caught up with me and we fished back upstream and, just as the shadows were hitting the water, ended up at the big pool just downstream from the wooden footbridge. I wasn’t to get any more hook ups, but the other fisherman brought a couple of 10 inchers in hand by throwing BWOs at rises. BTW, we saw only a small, quick hatch in the afternoon.

Oh, besides it being a great day, and besides the pleasure of fooling two trout into taking my flies, I had the beejezus scared out of me during the late afternoon, in the small pool just above the Amphitheater, when what I would identify as a steelhead measuring at least 20 inches, if not 24 or more, decided to perform a full-body breach about a rod’s length in front of me.

No fish to hand, but a great weekend nonetheless.

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