Deckers Trip Nov 08

Well, being that it was a holiday week, with a long list of things to get done (as well as Rivalry Weekend in NCAA Football) I didn't manage to get out onto the river until Tuesday, and then it was only for about 3 hours. But 3 hours is better than no hours, so who am I to complain? However, once again, I didn't manage to get any pictures of my own, so any images posted with this blog are ones that I scrounged up elsewhere.

Since we were limited with our time, we decided to hit the Deckers area, just above the confluence of the North Fork, which is a very productive stretch of water. I don't fish this area often, but when I do, something good always seems to happen, which makes me wonder why I don't fish it on a more regular basis. In any case, we arrived about 10:30, along with a lot of other folks that had the same idea as us, but still managed to find ourselves a nice little stretch of water to work.

The weather was overcast and a little north of 'chilly' - especially being that I had forgotten my gloves (I be edumacated!) - but the fish were active, and there were some nice sized lunkers hanging around just waiting to be nailed. For most of the first hour, I was fighting the ice in my guides and on my line, which, as you may know, wreaks havoc with your cast and makes mending about as successful as Dane Cook trying to be funny.

Basically, I had no feelings in my fingers or my hands, so when I did manage to set my hook the first time, I pulled way too hard and wound up snapping my line and spooking all the fish within a 20 mile radius. I decided to move on down the river a few yards, and stood upon a boulder overlooking the water, and it was then that I spotted a monster. Seriously. This fish was in the 33-35 inch range, but it was in deep water, with three currents all coming together in a seriously messed up manner above and to his left - but I wasn't going to let that stop me. Besides, he was actively feeding, so the odds of hooking this behemoth were in my favor, right?

After I retied my line, complete with a yellow egg pattern, I stood on top of the boulder and started taking some practice casts to see if I could get a bead on the current. I knew that if I really wanted to hook this guy, I was going to have to get down to the river somehow, but for now, my vantage point directly above this guy was the best place to see where I needed to put my line, and how the current would drift my fly - thus the yellow egg pattern. I was able to see my fly in the water and see where it was drifting in relation to my indicator. Oh yeah, planning and strategy that would make Sun Tzu proud!

So after numerous casts to make sure I had it down, I moved off the boulder and wormed my way to the edge of the water. Now, I'm all for comfort and ease when fishing, and this was not it. I was now about 7 feet downstream from my target, between some bushes and balancing on some rocks. On top of that, due to my angle, the glare (coupled with the water's depth) made it impossible to sight-fish to this guy, and I was struggling to even see my tiny, yellow pinch-on indicator as it made it's way through the riffles on the surface.

Ah, but along came Eva. Good ol' Eva! She was making her way upriver when I asked her if she could get on top of the boulder and help spot this fish for me and, being the good sport that she is, she did. Keep in mind, she could have easily said "No, you're an idiot for even trying, and I am going to go fish" and I would have been good with that. But she didn't. Perhaps it was the macabre scene that was unfolding in front of her, and her morbid curiosity got the better of her. Whatever it was, she took the spot, on the boulder, about 8 feet above the water and started feeding me the location of this fish (he was actively feeding, so his position was constantly changing).

I had since changed to a scud pattern, and after a few tries, decided to change it out. Next came a WD-40 pattern, which actually got his attention, but alas, no hits. Getting warmer, though, so I switched over to a #22 blue Bead Head Copper John. And by golly, I hooked him. There was no shaking of the line and no 'bumps', just a feeling of extreme weight on the end of my pole as this guy took off across the river - and then he came back to where I was standing. Which was a good thing since there was no way in hell I could have followed this guy if he had decided to run up or downstream.

Now, I'm all for the enthusiasm and ambition that can come with this sport, and I will be the first to throw those words around like so many bead necklaces at Mardi Gras. However, those attributes are worthless without a PLAN. That's right kids, a plan. Let's see if we can't use this in a sentence that would better convey it's meaning: "What do you plan on doing if you do hook this fish?" Strange, but Eva asked me this very question, but somehow it bounced off my simian brain and went to where all my other responsible, adult thoughts go: filed behind my favorite episodes of Spongebob Squarepants that I have stored upstairs, never to be heard from again.

So yes, I was blinded by my ambition (and less than stellar mental capacity) and found myself outsmarted. Sure, I had a fish on the end of my line bigger than Gary Coleman, but now that the moment of truth had arrived I saw several road-blocks in my diabolical plan of Trout Domination. First, there was a large number of rocks the size of Larry King's prostate that I would have to navigate this fish through to even get him close to me. Secondly, there was no way I could net this thing by myself, given the precarious position I was in (or should I say on) if I did manage to make it through the first point above.

Well, Eva was there for me once again. She squeezed her way down to the water's edge and took my net and tried to make her way out into the water far enough to try and net this guy - but it just wasn't the most ideal spot to be hooking a fish to begin with and she was having a rough time. Coming closer to our position, he spotted us on the side and reversed direction and as he turned in the water, he came up and out, and I think that both of us let out a collective gasp at the sheer size of this fish, which was easily pushing 35 inches. On top of that, it was brilliantly colored and healthy to boot, and was the type of catch that just begs to be photographed.

And then my line broke free. That's right, I lost it. And with it, a little piece of my soul, which I had traded to the Devil, a few casts prior, for the chance to hook this guy. And as I watched this magnificent fish swim away, I could only be thankful that it was Satan, and not the IRS, that I had bargained with. The fish and I both got off lucky that day.

We fished for about an hour more after that, and then it was time to head on back to reality. Aside from the bitter cold we experienced earlier in the morning, it was a good time. Eva hooked a nice sized fish, and I managed two more of my own before we packed up. We're now into December, and hopefully we'll be able to squeeze in a couple more trips before the year is out. But until then, I will lament the loss of yet another big catch and hope that I have enough of my soul left to barter with on subsequent trips.