fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

first fish of 2009

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Since I’m still supporting the retired citizens of this great country through gainful employment and periodic contributions to Social Security, I had to wait for Saturday to roll around for my first fishing trip of the year. I headed to the Two Mile Bar section with some fly fishing club members.

Overcast skies foretold of a cold day to come. Like most of the other folks, I rigged up with a pale yellow salmon egg imitation — known to have pulled up fish the previous two days — and hit the water about ten o’clock. This section of the Stanislaus, being a wild trout fishery (with catch and release regulation), can be tough fishing just as easily as being wide open. But I’ve never been skunked there.

I started at the “Big Oak Pool,” a place where during my first trip here I caught my first Stanislaus River trout. After an untold number of fruitless casts, attributing the lack of a take to my rusty casting, I moved upstream to cross at the “Amphitheater,” then fished various pools as I moved downstream.

A few hours later, and after talking with a few of the guys as I went, I found myself at what I viewed as one of the more promising small pools — like the ones I enjoy on smaller creeks at higher elevations — and began to drag a Prince Nymph with a glass bead nymph underneath it through the water. After about 20 minutes of presenting my flies in the various seams, I was mentally preparing for a fly swap. But on the tail end of my drift, as the flies began to swing up to the surface, I got a slight bump. With a gentle set, I had a fish on.

While the speed of the current seems to amplify the size of a fish, I was nevertheless happy to soon land and release my first fish of 2009! It’s Monday now, but this first fish of the year is still crystal clear in my memory. At eight inches, it’s not the size of a fish that makes it into the classic yarns spun by fishermen, but it was a joy to bring to hand a wild eight-inch rainbow resplendent along its entire eight inches.

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