Nov 17 2008 2:41 pm
Yesterday morning I awoke in the dark with a start at 5:30am as my digital watch bee-bee-bee-beeped from the nightstand cluttered with books and broken hair bands and antique postcards my ex-girlfriend gave me three months ago. It took a good deal of resolve to finally throw back the blankets, stand up next to the bed, and strip naked; my room is the coldest in the house. I then sat on the edge of my bed naked and pulled on a light pair of socks made from whatever it is Patagonia makes their nice socks from, then over those I put on a pair of Smartwools. Then I pulled on my shiny Under Armor long underwear and over them my fuzzy Duofolds. On top went a synthetic t-shirt and over that my lightweight fleece pullover. I put on a pair of shorts for decency’s sake and dug around the dirty clothes on the floor for my hat.
Ain’t nobody dope as me. I’m just so fresh and, so fresh and so clean.
The first bit of winter has arrived here in south central Indiana. When I left my house clutching a large travel mug full of strong coffee and a duffel bag full of gear, a steady, strong, cold wind cut through my layers and blew small particles of ice at my face. My car was covered in a crusty white shell and I had to let it warm up for a few minutes until I could see enough to drive.
Two hours later and I’ve arrived at the tailwater. I put on a heavy fleece jacket and pull on my waders in the swirling flurries. The river is way up on the banks and a deep, dark, green color. It’s a good goddamn thing I tied these ridiculous streamers. So I stand on what was once the bank in the cold, gray air and start lobbing streamers on my eight weight sink tip.
I’m sippin’ a milkshake in a snowstorm.
On my third or fourth cast dredging the bottom with a black rabbit strip monstrosity it stops and starts pulling back. But there were no head shakes. No running. Just a heavy thing moving away from me. I hauled in a foul hooked 15lb blue catfish. Then I caught a 12” walleye. Two hours later.
But you must have me mistaken with them statements that you make.
I whipped out the five weight and set up a nymph rig and played with that for a half hour. Didn’t catch shit. Things were not looking good for our hero. I drove up to the spillway thinking that a change of scenery might get things going. I had read that the young of the year shad would be moving in the reservoir and a small shad imitation would probably take fish there. So I figured it would work in the spillway too.
I would cast out a woolhead shad pattern on the sink tip into fast, deep water, throw a big upstream mend, then let the fly swing down straight and strip it back a couple feet out from the bank in the slack water. I did this four times then on the fifth, as I stripped the fly back along the bank, I saw a shiny red and white beast slash at the fly. I was instantly hooked up and the fish flew out of the water showing off hues of red and olive and silver painted on a fat slab of a body. The fish ran out into the deep and took thirty or forty feet of line then jumped again. I slowly gained ground, horsing him in a bit too much on the 11.5lb leader. After a few more short runs I finally got his head out of the water and brought him to my feet. A slab to be sure.
I grabbed the leader and set the butt of my rod down on the rocky bank. I thought he was done but he made another run and I grabbed the middle of my rod. That was a mistake. Crack. The tip of my rod broke.
Those huge baby eyes get to runnin’ off at the mouth.
But I managed to land him and get a picture and I was pretty fucking happy about the whole thing. But my nymph rig was on a five weight so sink tip streamer stripping was no mas. Luckily friendly fly fisherman Steve who had come to witness the landing of the biggest rainbow trout I’ve ever heard of at Brookville was interested in the fly I was using. I said he could have one if he wants one. He said he’d trade me a section of sink tip for my five weight for the shad fly. He pulled out a wallet full of various tips and heads from his vest that was about packed to exploding. I said he could have two flies for the sink tip. Done and done. Steve was a good guy. And thorough.
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts and Monte Carlos.
It became clear rather quickly that the little sink tip Steve gave me wasn’t going to get down where I needed it to in the spillway. So I thanked him and packed up and headed back downstream. I tied on a five inch long white and olive Sex Dungeon variation I tied with magnum rabbit strips similar to Charlie Craven’s pattern. I started to throw it up against the banks and jerk strip it back as hard and erratically as I could. It was tough on the five weight but I persevered and after some time I saw a fish flash it. A big fish. So I kept going. A big flash is good motivation.
After working down a hundred yard section of river I reached a shallow spot so I simply turned around worked back up the same stretch. I got into a rhythm of false casting three or four times, throwing the huge, articulated fly at the bank, then immediately straightening the line. Jerk the rod to the side sharply, strip the line in. Jerk the rod, strip the line, jerk the rod, strip the line.
Till hips jerk and double time the boy next doors a freak.
After the second jerk on the hundredth cast a big fish flashed the fly and I set the hook and the fight was on. Not quite as spectacular as the big rainbow trout, but this fatty brown was no slouch, relying on brute force rather than athleticism she bulled downstream shaking her head the whole way.
What about a ho in a leopard print teddy.