Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reality Check

Did the multi-river, multi-species thingy yesterday, with mixed results.

Started off ridin' shotgun with the Fanz, searching like a junkie for a little taste of yesterday's fin. What we found was H2O that was a mere 3½° above freezing. Not really what we were looking for, y'know? We like the thrill of the chase and all, but when the other team is so chilly that signs of torpor are obvious, maybe it's time to call the game for the day.

We did find a few robust rainbows that, despite the near-freezing temperatures, were all too happy to chase our offerings out of their holes and attack anything that drifted their way. Pretty fish, these nates, but not enough game for the 8wt.

Afternoon's adventure was a tag-along with Junior on his first trip with clients in 2 years. We were gonna be there for moral support in case he wasn't up to speed after his hiatus, but even before the plane ride it was obvious that he hadn't lost his chops.

Diggler and Junior..."Which way is the river, again?"

After the drop-off, we boogied upstream to leave the lower section of the flow to the clients. The signs were a little off for chrome, but we knew in our heart of hearts that they were here. They had to be.

Another near-freezing river, another day of lethargic fish. To make matters worse, last week's 19+ foot midnight tides surely sent some fish bolting way upstream, cleaning out the lower holes on every flood and leaving them barren come morning. So much for the excitement...

And that's when we bumped into Bullwinkle.

Coming around a corner, staring into the glare of a soft inside seam, we heard a snort. Not Good. Turning towards the source of the snort, we had our gun partway to the shoulder when we realized that the big brown thing that was just 12 or 13 yards away a moment ago was now flat-out haulin' ass upstream, and was, in fact, an obligate herbivore and therefore had no interest in consuming us. Apparently, that did not mean that it wouldn't kick our ass, because after doin' the 40 in about 3 flat - Through the river, mind you - the moose stopped to see what was chasing it. Upon seeing the relatively small, goretex-clad figure that had caused it such distress, the ears went back and its nape-hair stood up, and it started back towards us with a purpose.

After this shot, we decided that the camera might be a liability. This sucker was coming at us like Sean Penn at some rude paparazzi...

After some frantic yelling and not a little waving and jumping about, we convinced the moose that we were indeed nuts and not to be messed with. Bullwinkle sauntered off upstream into the alders, and after a decent interval we followed. Around the next bend was a pinch-point, a narrow spot where the sides of the canyon are steep and barren. Not seeing the moose, and reasoning that if it didn't get past this then it was somewhere very close and probably right now eyeing us with the intent of restoring its dignity and moose-y honor, we decided to end this little sojourn and mosey our way downstream, fishless but unstomped.

Junior's clients were of the "ok, I got my fish, now let's just check out the scenery" sort, so he was on easy street for the last half of the trip. After checking out the random moose photos, they agreed that maybe the estuary was a much better place to be, and that they were perfectly content sitting around and munching on bagels and smoked salmon. An hour of idle chatter and a few bagels later, Diggler arrived in a company chariot to ferry us all back to warmth and beer. Giggling about the moose story, he told us that he knew there was one down low in this particular valley, but he didn't really want to say anything in front of the clients and get them all nervous about the trip.

Fish: 3
Us: 1
Moose: 1 (substitute for home team)

The series is about even for the year, but we're gonna have to talk to the fish about their choice for substitute players. Ballers are ok, but the enforcer moose is gonna keep us on our toes all spring.

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