Fri 23 Jul 2010
Most anglers have at least one or two stories about the “one that got away.” These tales usually involve a trout of monstrous proportions that managed to slip the hook, just as you were about to bring it to hand. In most cases, it’s the size of the fish we remember most, when conveying the story to fellow anglers. For some reason, though, we never tell stories of any of the average or regular size trout we’ve lost while out on the water. It’s probably just as well, because these ones are a “dime a dozen,” and chances are not many people would be interested in listening, anyway.
I’ve experienced more than my share of LDRs (long distance releases) over the years. I’ve had lots of SDRs (short distance releases), too! Actually, there’s a lot of ways to lose fish and I don’t mind saying I’m pretty good at all of them.
Sometimes, something memorable happens while you’re in the process of losing a fish. That’s what happened the other day while I was fishing with Hunter and Gary. I was with Hunter when he hooked a rainbow trout of about 16 or 17 inches. Certainly not a monster fish, but still decent nevertheless. The trout surfaced within a foot of the stream bank and inhaled a Stimulator dry fly. We didn’t see the fish until it came up to eat the fly, but it was holding in one of those places where you just knew there had to be a fish. It was one of those classic takes where the trout rose in a slow, deliberate manner. Hunter’s timing was perfect and he set the hook as soon as the trout turned downward. Immediately, the fish bolted into the swift current and then rocketed into the air … not once, but twice. Each time, it cleared the water by at least a couple of feet. The trout seemed to travel through the air in slow motion, before landing with a splash on the water’s surface. It was exciting to watch all of this, as it unfolded in front of our eyes. We cheered loudly each time the fish became airborne! Then, just as Hunter started to gain control of the fish and was reeling in the last bit of fly line, it darted under some submerged roots in the middle of the river. You probably know what happened next; it became snagged and got away.
I could sense that Hunter felt a bit disapointed, but if he was it was only for a moment. Before he had even tied a new fly to his leader, he started talking about how cool it was to see the fish come to the surface and take his dry fly and then watch as it shot clear out of the water. At the end of the day, Hunter mentioned he was more than happy with the number of trout he caught that day, but it was the one he lost that he’d remember most. I’ll remember this particular fish for a long time, too!
On Saturday evening, Hunter and I climbed part-way up Turtle Mountain to photograph the Thunder In the Valley fireworks display in Blairmore. We reached our vantage point a couple of hours before the show was set to begin and had plenty of time to organize our camera gear. The mosquitoes were relentless, but disapeared just about the time the fireworks started to light up the evening sky. Here’s a shot I took from the slopes of Turtle Mountain.