Day one left us exhausted and tripping over ourselves as we made our way back to the cabin and up the stairway to our room.We stripped off waders, shimmied out of double thick socks and triple layered thermals, took our showers, and swallowed bowls of seafood chowder. Sleep came quickly, and so too did the following morning.
The alarm sounded at 2:30 - a less than soft serenade courtesy of Google Play and The Dropkick Murphys - I stumbled to the kitchen and started on making breakfast for everyone: eighteen jumbo, grade A eggs and a pot of organic, free trade, wake-the-flock-up coffee. After rubbing the sleep out of our eyes and prepping our gear, we were out the door, into the frosty morning, and on our way to the same run we had fished throughout the previous day.
Our logic for revisiting that piece water was simple: the run is usually loaded with fish and fishermen, but yesterday we saw few other anglers. Absent the occasional wanderer, we had one of the best runs on the river almost entirely to ourselves. We only hooked a few fish, but we were chalking that up to an obstinate cold-front that reportedly had the fish down throughout the length of the river. We knew the run would break open eventually, and we wanted to be there when it did. So, there we were on day two, in precisely the same spot we had been the day before, staring - headlamps ablaze - into precisely the same fly boxes, hoping for just a little more magic. What is they say about bug chuckers who do the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result?
|Photo: Mike Healy|
Ben was once again the first to move a fish, although he wasn't blessed with a solid hookup. The steelhead - what appeared to be a chromer in excess of 12 pounds - moved to a Wiggle Minnow of all things. The fish slammed the gyrating foam bug as it swam just inches below the surface. Crashing the fly, the steelhead made a vicious boil, and for a brief moment Ben had the attention of everyone on the run. When the whole episode was over, I found myself thinking how swinging a Wiggle Minnow to steelhead would rankle the sensibilities of more traditionally minded bug chuckers. To steal a phrase from my more digitally savvy students ... I laughed out loud.
Shawn was next to sting a fish, and as he did the previous day he quickly guided the outsized trout to a waiting net. This beautifully colored up buck wasn't the biggest of the trip, but he may have been the most photogenic. After a few photos and a fist bump or two, the fish was back in the water with one heck of a story to tell his piscatorial pals, but otherwise no worse for wear.
|First steelhead on a swung fly ... the beard hides the smile|