Monday, December 1, 2014

Crazy? No Way...

The howling of the wind against the cold exterior seemed to grow continually louder. Frost covered every window of the car, blocking visibility completely. I searched for more warmth in my sleeping bag, only to engage in a losing battle with the cold. Upon turning the key, the strong, old engine came to life, providing heat and comfort. The temperature gauge read 33 degrees, but the weather app indicated that it was 12 degrees with windchill. To say that it was tough to get up and out of the heated car would be an understatement. Slowly, we managed to add layer-after-layer of clothing, before finally putting on our frozen waders, still wet from yesterday. With every twist of the clinch knot came decreased feeling in my fingers. The wind burned as it singed my exposed cheeks, and the water would freeze my legs beyond comfort after only ten minutes. However, big fish lurked below the water's surface, and those big fish were our goal.

Again, we began the process of casting tirelessly, hoping that the monster fish of our dreams would pick up our offering on the next cast. Cast, retrieve. Cast, retrieve. This same routine, all day. Taking rotations was necessary, as one person would warm up while the other fished. We would get a small tug or bump here and there, but nothing wanted to commit it seemed. As the day progressed, the bumps got a little more solid, though still nothing had committed 100%.

Lunch time yielded hot coffee and ramen noodles, both of which were a very welcoming addition to my frozen body. Each gulp of coffee warmed me from top to bottom, and the warm mug provided comfort to my hands, which were numb. It made me question why I was out there, freezing my a*s off for a bunch of fish, but looking off into the distance at the windblown water, I knew that I had to keep going; I had to get that big fish.

After awhile, it was back to the water. Again, the process resumed. Cast, retrieve, rotate. The bumps and hits were becoming a lot more aggressive. Both of us kept getting increasingly excited, when just like that, the hit that we'd been waiting for arrived. The fish voraciously attacked the massive streamer, and it was game on. Running, jumping, and trying to wrap the line around any underwater object that it could, the fish battled with nothing less than all that it had. Thankfully for us, we were able to win this battle, scooping the fine specimen into the net as it began to tire out. It was a sight for sore eyes -- a gorgeous brown trout. The fish provided smiles and laughter, and a weird kind of warmth that seemed better than any heater.

Both of us relaxed, knowing that we had gotten what we came for. Countless casts yielded fine fish, and many pictures to take home. It's amazing what we do for these fish; call it crazy, but it's an amazing feat every time we get to put such a creature in the net.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Let's try this again...

Needless to say, it's been awhile. Between all of the joyous things that accompany preparing for college, and now being a full-time college student, I'll be the first to admit that I don't have much in the way of free time. I've had at least one exam (sometimes two or three), every week since September 29th. I bring home an average of 4-6 hours of homework per night. Get the point? Yeah, free time is hard to come by.

Having said all of this, I want to start fresh, if you will. It's been a long time since my last post on here, and I guess you could say that I kind of miss it. I love the ability to write about my adventures in the amazing sport of fly fishing, and as I sit here at my fly tying table during Thanksgiving break, I couldn't help but think about writing another post.

I suppose it's not exactly an opportune time to get things rolling again, seeing as I now live in Wyoming, where nearly every bit of water is now frozen solid. However, I have plenty of fairly recent stories to tell from before my move to Wyoming, many of which include some rather nice fish. So, without further ado...

It was a blustery day to say the least. Upon our arrival, it was evident that the water was significantly lower now than ever before, and that fishing might be a bit challenging. Staring through the cracks in the windshield, the ultimate decision was to be made. Water so cold that you can only manage to stand in it for five minute periods, howling winds, and, in simplest terms, not much water to work with all presented us with a tough choice. However, we hadn't driven this far to turn back around, so I'll be damned if we didn't give it our best go.

Now, I'm sure you can already see where this is going. We sat there and fished our hearts out for hours on end. Cast after cast, nothing wanted to cooperate. We would change flies incessantly, assuring ourselves that with each change of the fly, our chances of catching a monster would increase. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. In fact, it seemed that changing flies was having an opposite affect. Nonetheless, we continued. As the sun began to sink, we were beat. Casting heavy streamers on fly rods similar in stiffness to telephone poles all day had taken its toll.

Here is where the classic, "last cast of the day" comes into play. As the sun set further behind the mountains, I suddenly felt a tug on the end of my line; something I had been waiting for all day. Upon setting the hook, it was noted in my mind that this fish was no pushover. Runs that made my drag scream also mad my heart race and before long, he lay in the bottom of my net, admitting defeat. The fish turned out to be my biggest trout to date ~ an accomplishment that I always enjoy achieving. After quick photos and a hasty release, neither of our hands could handle the bitter windchill any longer, signaling the end of the day. It was a promising event, and one that would lead to a stellar day of fishing come daybreak.... Stay tuned for the rest of the story!

Photo by Forrest Carpenter

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