• Fishing with Thyself – Part II: Going it Alone

    I was sitting at the vise when I heard my voice. “What are you tying?” it asked.

    “Flies,” I responded.

    “What kind?”

    “Just flies,” I stated in a dismissive manner.

    “Those are dredger nymphs. We’re going back after those browns, aren’t we?”

    “No, the weather is getting cooler and it’s a good time to replenish the fly box.” The truth is, I was out of dredger nymphs and I was going back after those browns. Try lying to yourself sometime. It’s not easy.

    “When are we going?”

    “’We’ are not going. I’m going alone,” I snapped. “Now go to bed. We… uh, I have to get up early. For work.”

    Before I went to bed, I set my gear by the door in preparation for a speedy departure. When the alarm went off at 4:00, I quickly shut it off and quietly got dressed in the dark, not wanting to wake myself up. I snuck downstairs, grabbed a cup of coffee for the road, threw my gear in the truck, and took off. “Success,” I thought. As I was driving away, I heard somebody yelling. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw myself running after me, fly rod in hand. “Hey, where’d I get that rod?” I questioned myself. “I didn’t know I had that. I’ll have to look into it when I get home tonight.”

    The water levels were lower compared to just five days ago. It also had a dark tea color to it last time. Today, it was crystal clear. I suspected this was going to be a problem, and it was. I fished through the large pool where last time I had caught six fish and missed several other strikes with the dredger nymph. Today, it gave up a single brook trout, and not another strike.

    Continuing upstream I kept the dredger nymph on but couldn’t draw any interest. I eventually switched over to a dry/dropper when I came to a stretch of runs interspersed with pocket water and plunge pools. I took one brown on the dry, but that was it for awhile.

    I then came upon a large, glassy flat. Most of the bottom consisted of smooth bedrock, often just below the surface, and covered with a thin coat of slick, brown algae. Slipping and stumbling, I made my way towards the upper end where the water split into multiple currents as it plunged over a small waterfall. I moved into position and worked the primary current and holding water along side of it without a strike. After a short distance the current subsided before deflecting off of a large stone face. It narrowed and slowed as it continued its way down stream along the face of the rock. This all occurred beneath an overhanging rhododendron. After several casts without and interest I was about to move on. A final side-arm cast placed my flies in the middle of the current and they drifted downstream, drag free. They deflected perfectly and continued on their way just inches from the rock face. Suddenly, the dry went under as something inhaled the nymph. I lifted the rod one ticked off fish torpedoed upstream.

    It ran up to the head of the run and tore up the quiet water alongside it. It throbbed against my 3 weight as I looked around for a way to land it. I was standing on top of a slippery rock at the time. There was another rock that rose above the waterline between us. However, there was a submerged fissure separating us that I would have to leap over. It seemed a little dangerous to attempt with the rocks being as slippery as they were. I’d probably end up swimming.

    I looked downstream towards the flats. That was going to be my best option. I turned the fish and it rounded the bedrock and followed the channel downstream along the far bank. I then leaped across a channel and followed it along a sloped, subsurface shelf along the opposite bank. It wasn’t easy. I had to keep the fish moving at a distance and not let it dive into the multitude of crevices. At one point it swam towards me. I swung my rod to the left to tighten the line, but quickly heard a rat-tat-tat as the pulse of the fight rattled my rod against some overhanging branches. Frantically, I swung it back towards the fish and stripped in line. Luckily the line didn’t get snarled and I was able to keep it tight against my quarry. The branches extended another 30 feet downstream above the ledge I was travelling. Their presence dramatically changed my strategy. Fortunately though, I didn’t jam my rod into the branches again, I was able to keep a tight line, and prevent the fish from diving into cover. Although I slipped, I didn’t fall and crack my skull.

    In the end, everything worked in my favor. I almost wish someone was there to witness the event. In a straight line, that fish had covered about 100 feet of creek bed. Add in all the channels it dove into and it was a lot further. Eventually it tired and I was able to bring it to hand. Measured up against my rod it was a 13+ inch, torpedo shaped, wild brown.

    It was at this point where I pulled out last time and bypassed the rest of the brown trout water a few days prior. Today, I found a way to continue working upstream. Despite the numerous large, deep pools, stair step plunge pools, and gorgeous runs, the browns remained inactive. I came across several more rock faces just like the one the big fish came from. I got excited each time, but left them in disappointment as they didn’t even give up a strike. Only two more fish were landed over the next few hours.

    By the time I reached the area where the creek splits and the brook trout water starts, it was 4:45 – a little late to chase brookies. As I worked my way towards shore, I came across a wet footprint atop a midstream rock. “Oh man, I’m fishing behind somebody,” I thought to myself. “No wonder I only caught five fish today.” When I made it to the bank, I came across another footprint in the sand - a well defined, size 10, Vibram soled impression. I quickly realized what was going on. “What am I doing here?” I said out loud. “I can’t believe I spent the day fishing behind myself. Me and I are going to have a talk when I get home.”

    Well, it was late by the time I arrived back home. I was tired and wasn’t in the mood for a confrontation. I was hoping that everyone, and I mean everyone, was in bed. But, as I quietly opened the door, I heard my dreaded voice. “So…”

    “Uh, hello” I responded.

    “How was your day?” was the reply.

    “Lousy. Not as good as I expected. Great. Slow. I don’t know, not bad I guess.” I’m sure my guilt was obvious. “Wanna see the pictures?”

    “Sure. Wanna split a beer?”


    Well, we grabbed a bomber of our favorite brewski (if there is one thing we always agree on, it’s beer), a couple glasses, and sat down to view the photos of the day’s events.

    “Those are some beautiful pictures. Too bad you only caught five fish.”

    “How many did you catch?” I responded.

    “We only caught five fish today.”

    “I know you were there. Weren’t you fishing ahead of me?”

    “No, I was only there looking out for us. We only caught five fish. Let’s face it. It was a slow day. How come you didn’t get any pictures of the big fish? That’s not like us. We take pictures of everything.”
    “To be honest, I don’t know. It was a long battle, my heart was racing, and the adrenaline was flowing. I quickly revived it and let it go. I guess I forgot.”

    “Really? Forgot? Do you think anyone will believe it without a photo?”

    “Probably not. Say, you didn’t happen to get any pictures of it by any chance did you?”

    “Actually, I did.”

    “Really? Can I have ‘em?”


    “Thanks man, I owe you. And I’m sorry for ditching you today. Let’s take a look.”


    I still need to ask myself about that rod though.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Fishing with Thyself – Part II: Going it Alone started by Lone Wulff View original post