The last time I hit the river, I got smacked around like a little school-girl, and was sent home with my tail tucked between my legs, where I nursed my wounds, lamented the loss of my Man Badge and plotted my revenge.
And while the skirt ensemble and pig-tails have been disturbingly comfortable, it was high-time to earn my machismo back via an old Marine Corps philosophy: hit hard, hit fast, and keep on hitting. Figuratively speaking, of course, since I would never hit a fish, especially one wearing glasses (you lucked out, Mr. Limpet).
So, after an overhaul of both my equipment and psyche, I blazed a path to Cheeseman Canyon, talons gripped with new gear, a fresh set of flies, and an industrial-sized drum of 'Ass Whoopin' Ointment' that I planned on opening once I got there and applying in liberal doses.
The only piece missing was Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" blaring on my stereo, echoing across the mist-shrouded valley as I wound my way to the Gill Trail parking lot, while Hydra rocket pods spew their deadly cargo, leaving a trail of destruction in my wake....
Actually, I was cranking the likes of CoC, Slayer, To-Mera, et al - not Wagner, but still a perfect fit for the Banzai-mood that I was in, and probably a bit startling to the refined tastes of the delicate 'Nobility' wallowing in their slumber at the Wig Wam club. RISE AND SHINE, LADIES!
As a side note, this is the very same club that hosted Cheney and his crew a few years back - and I got to watch the former VP fly fish from the other side of the fence one Monday morning. Actually, he didn't do much fishing that I saw - more like a lot of walking around and pointing, while his gaggle of similarly-dressed Secret Service men followed suit. Dude, it's not a Degas - it's a river. Throw your line in already.
Unlike Dick, I hit the river to fish, and I wasted no time in getting my line wet once I got stream-side. The flows were up (edging towards 600 cfs if I had to guess) which worked in my favor, being that the fish tend to move to the sides in higher flows. They were also actively feeding, and within the first ten minutes, I landed the first catch on my new gear (from Hook Fly Fishing) - a nice little brownie that took an olive Zebra.
Looking around, I saw a lot of fish, and the problem I was faced with was selecting the one that I wanted to go after - which is a great problem to have. I finally zeroed in on a decent-sized rainbow and, changing out to a Scud pattern, had him hooked within a short time.
Have I mentioned that I've caught more heavy-weights on a Scud than any other pattern? True to form, this one turned out to be the day's biggest haul - of netted fish, that is.
Immediately after this one, I bit into another sub - matter of fact, when I first tagged him, I thought I was caught on the rocks that were off to his right - my line didn't budge when I set my hook - it took several seconds until this tank decided to turn and head downstream, and in the process, cleanly snapping my line and taking my only Scud. Time to tie some more - unless Herman deGala hooks me up with some of his gonzo patterns first.
After that, I went back to the Zebra and basically cleaned house, except for a massive anomaly (referred to as 'Grandpa') that I hooked with a bead-head Pheasant Tail (Thanks for letting me fish to that trophy, Neil - there's no way my line was going to hold, but it sure was a rush hooking him) and a smaller brown that I landed with a Hare's Ear.
Overall, I set 13 fish - 2 snapped my line, 4 popped off my hook, and I wound up netting 7. Hitting numbers (and sizes) like that in the Canyon is a treat, and it's not something that happens often (at least for me), so this one will wind up in the books as one of the better days.
The evil simian is off my back, and I am at peace. For now.