Diggler's call came at 10:17am.
"Still wanna go fishin'?"
Now, we DID drink a few beers last night...and we vaguely remember, over the 3rd half-rack, hatching plans to jump on a river at first light. Something about a weather window, maybe only having the morning until the SE wind blew up...hmmm.
But still, what kind of question is that? Duh.
Out of bed, into fishin' togs and out the door in exactly14 minutes, and we didn't forget a damn thing. Must be some kind of new record. That only left us about 20 minutes to get a latte and some chicken wings and get our ass to the airport, but we work well under pressure.
Some days the fish stay pinned under the most improbable conditions, like...oh, having one swim over a waterfall, then landing it in the plunge pool on the far side of a logjam. Today, with just spiffy, clean gravel, Diggler managed to lose everything he hooked today. 2 on, 2 gone, one of which was pretty damn tidy. We managed to bat .500 in the next pool down, landing 1 nice fish and gettin' Gomer'd by another little buck that swam back downstream to eat the bug that just passed him. How we lost a fish that wanted it that bad...makes a fella wonder.
The one that didn't get away.
This particular flow has a quirky bend in it, a loooong hole (by SE AK standards) that sorta curves tighter and tighter, ending in a logjam that leads the flattened flow back around to the other direction. Imagine a 250ft continuous inside bend, and you will have a good idea of what we are describing. This run just screams out for the swung fly, and today we obliged. About halfway down, we got a hell of a yank. Not just a garden variety, run-of-the-mill tug, but a full-on smash, and the next thing that happened was about 3 feet of fish clearing the water a few times and flashes of backing spinning into the river.
The rest of the fight was pretty good, but the epic leaps and run after the first pull left us numb and dazed to the ensuing battle. A few minutes later we cradled the big boy in the shallows.
We DID leave one thing home...the official Neil Creek Measuring Device. No tape? No prob. This kid stretched out to about 2 inches past the first guide of the trusty 8110, which puts it right around 37 inches...give or take an inch.
After a few photos, we slipped him back into the slow flow, no revival needed. Major Honker wanted back into his river and could do it just fine, thank you.
A few more casts, and it was time for the long run back to the lake to meet the plane. Final Tally...Us-2, Fish-4.
Looks like we need a rematch.