Yup - I've been slacking again. But this time around, I can't fully blame it on being a lazy primate...although I'm going to try my best to do so.
Between work, psychotic weather patterns and the passing of my nephew, it's been a little tough to make it to the river, let alone, show up in the proper mind-set.
Case-in-point: I hit the Canyon a couple weeks back, only to realize that I had left quite a few 'essentials' back at the truck - namely: all three cameras, my sunglasses, lanyard (which was still sitting on the bumper), most of my water, and my cope.
Yeah, it was one of those kinds of trips - seems like I'm always good for one, every year, so I'm just glad I got it out of the way.
With about 2 hours of sleep under my belt, I was up and on the road by 3:30 am...weekends in the summer are not the most ideal time to fish - especially with most of the local waters blown out from run-off.
My plan was to hit the lower sections first, and then move up the canyon before 7 am...but once I got to the water, my plans quickly flew out the window.
Levels were down. Waaaaaay down. It was December/January levels...but the fish were out in force. And most of them were big.
The first hour or so was a Monster's Ball - I swear, there wasn't anything swimming around under the 18 inch mark - and I took 'em to the woodshed.
And they returned the favor on my line. I was running 7x all the way, and one by one, after a brief run, roll or jump, they wound up snapping me off.
All of them, except the biggest of the bunch. Get this: I was a little slow on my set, so the fly actually wound up inside his mouth, with the line stretching out past his teeth. It took me a good 5 minutes to get him in, through numerous rolls, shakes and two jumps - but the line held.
Oh yeah, and there was a creepy little black bird who, for some odd reason, felt he needed to ride my ass for the better part of the morning. I first noticed him when he buzzed me. Afterwards, he ended up on shore, about 3 feet behind me...screaming his head off.
How do I know he was yelling at me? Because when I turned around, he was staring RIGHT AT ME.
At first it was kind of funny because he was so irritated. But after a while, he got into my head, and I started to wonder if maybe I did do something to piss him off. Cut him off in traffic, perhaps? Made fun of his bright yellow beak and he got wind of it? Who knows....
I tried to go into the pack for the camera to get some evidence, but the little shit would fly away any time I turned around. Once I went back to fishing, he'd show up again. Yelling his head off.
Finally, I decided to buzz him on my backcast...and eventually, he split. Which is a good thing, since the last thing I needed was to get into a tussle with a bird I didn't know.
Anyway, the water levels were down, but the fish were out in obscene numbers, so some advice to any of you planning to hit this stretch - get there early to hit the hogs. They're not spooky at all, but they do take some effort to stick. They're more interested in playing grab-ass with each other than eating an artificial fly, so wait for them to quit monkeying around and then tag them in between play-time.
Smaller is better right now, with the levels as low as they are - 6, 7 or even 8x would be my advice (I switched to 6 after the millionth line-snap...and the hits dried up). I know - it's damned if you do, damned if you don't...throw heavier line, and you'll strike out. Throw lighter stuff, and they'll snap ya' off. Pick your poison.
However, they're active, and getting to play some fish, is better than no fish at all - by 1 pm, when I decided to leave, I was a miserable 2 for 18. But hey, I got to ride a lot of ponies, and I did manage one real nice one, so there's no complaints here.
Next up, some warm water fishing with my son - who is dying to put the hurt on some bluegills, and I am more than happy to oblige, since I don't have to spend the week on the road...