Sunday, August 30, 2009

Big Fish on the Gallatin

Good news and bad news.  The bad news is I haven't been blogging much.  The good news is that a big reason for that is that I have been fishing a lot this past month.  I also moved (which may be the most painful thing in the world), and the school year just fired up so I have been pretty busy.

I found a new stretch of water.  This a perfect piece of water for me.  It is very underrated and therefore does not receive a lot of pressure.  Although fish numbers are probably low in comparison to many of our blue and red ribbon streams, it produces some BIG fish.  I am reaching the stage of my fly fishing life where I am now searching for quality as opposed to quantity.  I am content casting all day with little to no action just knowing that on any given cast Mr. Big may explode from the bank and destroy my streamer.  Speaking of streamers...

I believe I am official hooked on rabbit hide and marabou.  I have always enjoyed fishing streamers but as of late I am absolutely hooked on throwing the big junk.  I have had more and more success and I think I am starting to fish them quite well.  This excising interest exploded into full blown obsession after my most recent outing.

So I had been eying this particular stretch of water for a month or so.  I had past by it a few times and even fished near the bridge for an hour one day.  I was suppose to be doing something else but a few casts turned into 50 and I ended up hooking up and landing a nice 16-17 inch brown right under the bridge...on a streamer of course.

So the other night I went for it.  I hit the river on a Thursday night at about 6:30.  A rainstorm had just past, the weather was cool and getting cooler, the skies were overcast and the sun was sinking low.  A perfect evening for streamers.  I tied on a basic black wolly bugger and began swinging and stripping it through a nice little side channel run.  Within 3 casts I was hooked up on a small but feisty little brown.  The little guy shook the hook at the last minute.  I continued wading down the center of the river and working the long and appealing rip-rap bank.  I cast my streamers as close to the bank as possible and then try to keep them perpendicular as long as I can.  As they drift a give a few small twitches and strips.  As the fly begins to swing a begin to strip with short erratic pulls until it is directly below me and about 8 feet away.  I then take a few steps downstream and repeat the process.

I soon snapped off the wolly bugger and changed to possibly the greatest streamer of all time...Sculpzilla!   All of the sudden the pace began to quicken.  I fat and healthy rainbow grabbed the sculpin pattern only to go tarpon on me.  This fish went airborn 5 feet four consecutive times and he was coming right at me.  I desperately stripped slack but the fish spit the hook.

A dozen casts later I felt what it is that creates streamer addicts.  My rod was suddenly greeted by a violent jolt.  I strip set into a large fish and raised my rod high.  The head shakes were violent and wide.  Suddenly my line went slack... Fu@# !!!!!  I literally hit my knees in the middle of the river.  I quickly regained composure and headed to the next appealing spot.
The next fish hit where I least expected it.  I was standing mid river and casting to a deep bank.  When my streamer swung it was into a very fast section of water.  Strip, strip....whack!!!  My reel immediately started screaming.  I was pulsing with excitement but also petrified with fear.  
I didn't know if I could take the loss of another huge trout.  The fish and I played tug of war for a good 8 minutes.  I didn't have a net so I was trying work out the best way to land this fish.   I never really saw the fish until moments before I gingerly drug him to the waters edge.  But when I finally saw what I had caught I came unglued.  Picture a grown man dancing like a 5 year old all by himself on a river.  I quickly unhooked the now sacred Sculpzilla from the fishes mouth.  I then spent a good five minutes reviving my exhausted opponent.  There is something special about this moment.  I just admired the beauty of this creature and literally thanked him for what he had just done for me.  The beautiful brown taped out at just under 21 inches.  By far the biggest fish I have landed this year.  The wonderful fish finally swam away only to stop and rest in the shallow water.  I was able to watch him swim in the shallows until he finally retreated to the depths.  I was unable to get very good pictures using my cell phone, they came out blurry, probably because I was shaking...

I took a few more casts and then reeled in and headed for the truck.  For the first time maybe ever, I felt no more need to fish that day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Noah


Happy 7th Birthday my boy.  I will never be able to tell you how proud I am of the boy you are now and the man I know you will grow up to be.  Thank you for being my son and the best fishing buddy anyone could ever want.  We are just getting started...the adventure is only is going to be epic!

I love you!