Saturday, November 24, 2012
I've never been happier to lose fish. Today I lost two. One was no one's fault; the other was, thus a learning experience. The first was a keeper sized cutthroat trout, maybe 12 - 14 inches. Was trolling a spoon on 8 lb test. The fight lasted maybe 15 seconds, then the spoon bounced forward sans fish. I kept the line tight, throughout, so the fish did not spit; more like the fish was not deeply hooked. Critics might say that means I did not set the hook properly, but to my thinking, if I'd attempted a hard set, the hook would've popped, just as it did during the retrieve. The second was a good sized coho salmon. Judging from what I saw on the sonar, and what I'd caught in the same spot two weeks ago, I'm thinking it was 3, maybe 4 pounds. I was trolling a woolly bugger on a light tippet attached to sinking fly line. This was easily the biggest fish I'd ever had on a fly; I've never had one stripping so much line like that before - exhilarating! I did not pee the bed, but I didn't play it properly, either. The fight only lasted 5 seconds: 5/6 weight rod bent way over, line stripping out, I let it go 1 or 2 seconds, then started reeling. I felt the reeling was not quite working, so should've let the fish run a bit and palmed the reel for light resistance. Instead, I kept trying to reel (known as 'horsing' the fish in). Sure enough the tippet broke. Or so I thought (it was a little past dusk). Later inspection showed the tippet to leader knot had come undone. I hadn't changed it since buying the setup at the fly shop, where a young assistant rigged it for me. Can't point the finger at the kid, though; my fault for horsing. Should've let mr/ms salmon run another 20 seconds, then tried reeling a bit (and repeating, as required). Terrific adrenaline and great lesson learned. As a side editorial, I'm glad the coho got away. It may have been a hatchery fish, but wild coho have to be released on my river. The least intrusive way to practice catch and release is surely to NOT catch in the first place!
at 7:00 p.m.