Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The water beckoned to me as I drove down the river. The carnage from the last high water event was evident and extensive.New gravel bars have formed and old gravel bars were wiped away. In their place there are new pockets,buckets and runs.And so begins the endless winter process of building up and tearing down.The river never resting,always moving,always building and always destroying.
Sticks,logs and other debris have seemingly climbed the trees as they now rest in the branches high above the ground. Shoreline trees are bent over like an old man struggling against the wind. Their permanently twisted shapes lining the banks in a salute to the power of the river.The sand is clean on the beaches with only the eroded lines of a rapidly dropping river left as a calling card from the tumultuous levels that have just now subsided.There are no human tracks anywhere and only the odd bird, otter,or raccoon footprint mark the surface. It is a new river and a New Year. The quiet stillness of a river after it drops brings on a euphoria that is hard to explain. I stare blankly into the winter green currents as they playfully turn and twist,racing each other to the ocean.
I step into the river and cast a short line, swinging it all the way to the bank as currents and depths are conducive and allow the fly to swing to a full hang-down. My mind is somewhere else as I enjoy the feel of the rod in my hands in this New Year. The casts are coming easily and I step slowly through the upper section of the run. The fly searches diligently for a new fish that may have rode the high water upstream. I picture the fly swimming in my minds eye. I think at times I actually feel the tension on the materials as the river caresses it through the entire drift. Everything is perfect. The river, the sunshine,and the blessing that I feel to be standing where I am right now. This is good for my soul.
The line tightens agonizingly slow, the Daiwa 812 gives 6 inches of line and clicks a few times. Wait for it.......Bam!!! I raise the rod firmly and strike a heavy fish.He shakes his massive head in disagreement of his new found predicament and the rod throbs in tandem. I fight this fish quickly and cleanly, nothing truly remarkable about it,just a good solid fight. As I slide him into the shallows, I am awed by his size.He is easily the largest fish I have seen in winter in quite some time.He is perfect in every way with barely a hint of rose along the side and cheek.I am awed by his strength. I am awed by his beauty. In a dream like state,I twist the hook out of this magnificent creature, watching his silver body glide silently into the main current and disappear.
Now I have not even begun to cover this run and I know there are probably more fish in it, but I know that I am done. Without hesitation, I break my rod down knowing I can do no better.I just hooked and landed my first fish of the New Year and it was more than enough for me. I stumble back to the truck floating on a cloud,arriving perhaps 10 minutes after I shut it's door to walk down to the run. I climb out of my waders and stow the rod, I am done for the day after a very short but very memorable session.
I am thankful for this New Year, and the gift of these incredible fish and the amazing community of like minded souls I find myself surrounded by.
Cherish each fish and each other my friends!