|First year with the spey rod|
Like most people who fish, I began my time on the water gear fishing for whatever was in the lake that day as a kid or trolling the Hood Canal for whatever we could find. I fly fished on and off growing up, but still very little. It's only been in the last couple of years that I really began to take fly fishing seriously and develop a serious addiction to the sport. After the first 15 minutes of casting my new two-handed fly rod and also after whapping myself in the back of the head several times, I caught my first fish on the Spey rod. It was a 13” shiny little Dolly Varden in October on the Skykomish river. I thought to myself “this is going to be easy if I'm catching fish already.” Little did I know…
Now, I can't even count all the holes in my jackets from learning how to cast or how many flies I lost because I had no idea what a T-17 was. I even snapped off an expensive shooting head one time because of that heavy sink tip. The learning curve has been massive. After a least one day nearly every weekend for the past two years, gallons and gallons of gas, several long road trips to different rivers, watching Skagit Master 1 multiple times, watching Skagit Master 2 multiple times, and then reading from front to back a book written by the great Dec Hogan, I finally am now feeling at ease with my spey rod in hand. It's only within the last year or so that I've felt confident casting in most situations and conditions and have actually started to see results.
|First Swung up Salmon|
This past fall I hooked my first salmon on a swung fly on the Skykomish river. Throughout the last couple of years, I have swung flies and hooked up on several Dolly Vardens, some Chum salmon, multiple Rainbows, and a whole grip of cutties. All are great fish and all have brought me great satisfaction, but in the end it boils down to my personal vendetta for those chrome ghosts.
This past weekend on the Sky we hiked in to a spot on the river where I knew there should be some fish (since we caught one there two days before on the meat sticks). After a couple casts with my gear rod (aka meat stick) I became bored and decided to go back to the spey rod and walk down river a ways. Wind howling, I had to adjust my casts to figure out how to get some line out without creating a rats nest in mid flight. Second or third cast up just from the tail out, mid swing, there was a weird “nudge” on my line, half a second later, SMASH!! Lifted my rod and there she was! Three acrobatic spin jumps, and she swam right at me full speed. THIS is why they tell you get a large arbor reel for steelhead fishing. Reeling in at full speed I was terrified that she may have spit the white and orange barbless intruder, but then I caught up to her. Got her to shore and that was it. Two years of practice for 2 minutes of enjoyment. Bonk! Off to the grill, it was a nice 6 or 7 lb chrome bright hatchery female. Never been so happy about a dang hatchery brat.
You always hear about the “grab” and that moment was something that will be hard to forget. I have caught fish many different ways, but none as satisfying as this. It was a swing I will never forget, and I will never be able to pass through that run on the Skykomish river without swinging my fly through its entirety with anxious anticipation of another "grab".
For the last couple years I have been severely addicted to fly fishing. This did not help….