We were breaking camp by 05:30 (our Luau compatriots will be reading this in disbelief). By 06:00 we were again rolling eastward with Jose in the lead.
Right at 07:00 we pulled in front of the Fall River Hotel to meet Jose's buddy and our guide for the day, Tom.
We walked right in and sat right down at the table of an older gentleman who looked more like he was ready to hit the links rather than guide two dudes fly fishing for the day.
Introductions were made and breakfast was ordered. I can't remember much after that. Today would be the apex of my cold. I do remember after eating breakfast rushing to the bathroom and spending quite some time there. When I got back to our table, it was time to settle up the bill and bid farewell to Jose; he had two days to get ready for the Luau and unfortunately could not join us on the Fall.
Now our first issue with the Schooner became apparent a day or two previously. The pin that held the accelerator pedal to the accelerator lever kept popping out with the pedal falling on the floor. We swung by a Napa(r) parts store just down the street where we spent about $1 on a bolt and a couple of nuts; problem solved.
There was a notable difference in topography here in the Fall River area vs. the other two rivers we fished. No more winding roads, drop offs without guard rails or deep gorges and steep valleys. Everything here was flat farmland. The only mountains around were the volcanoes on the horizon with Shasta still the prominent peak.
We followed Tom to the ramp. Tom was not towing a boat so I assumed it was sitting on a trailer at the ramp. When we got to the ramp I did not see his trailer. He told us to get ourselves squared away and he'd get the boat ready.
Dock, jon boat, outboard motor, no oars to get tangled up on, I can get used to this. A few minutes later we got the Schooner anchored up and departed on the flattest trout river I ever fished and the first spring creek I was ever on.
Tom explained his plan: We would motor up river, fish our way back to the dock, take an afternoon siesta and then do an evening session down river. As we motored up river we saw dozens and dozens of fish; many over 20"s spook from the boat. It was akin to watching pellet heads at a hatchery. Tom assured us these were no pellet heads as Iron and I soon found out.
We anchored upstream of a wooden bridge that Tom said was holding some exceptionally large fish. He wasn't kidding; every now and then we'd spy one crossing over an open spot in the weeds.
The plan was to swing marabou leeches on 12'-14' long 6X leaders, open the drag up so that it was nearly in free spool and just hope the fish didn't get buried in the undulating weed beds. After hooking up to a couple of dinks, Iron stuck a toad. All he can do is hold the rod high to help protect the 6X.
Gone. 6X wasn't stopping that fish. Anything heavier and he never would've got the eat. Iron later said it was the biggest rainbow he ever hooked. It proved to be a bad omen for us.
The rest of the morning session was plenty of fish, just all dinks. Tom was feeling pretty bad and offered up apologies. None were needed; we knew everyday couldn't be lights out.
The scenery made up for the lack of any sizeable fish.
[img]https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-RNcCKZb/0/e0b3c270/X3/i-RNcCKZb-X3.jpg[/img] [img]https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-VCmR3G7/0/793dccf8/X3/i-VCmR3G7-X3.jpg[/img] [img]https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-nvRfXMW/0/ed176878/X3/i-nvRfXMW-X3.jpg[/img] [img]https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-dtbLSDg/0/f602cbf4/X3/i-dtbLSDg-X3.jpg[/img] [img]https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-m9NLtGn/0/322de2c0/X3/i-m9NLtGn-X3.jpg[/img]
As we made our way upstream earlier in the day, we passed a house that had all kinds of plates, cups, saucers scattered on the river bottom. Iron's kids made him promise to bring to bring back a river stone from everywhere we fished. The problem with the Fall is that there aren't many stones on the bottom to choose from. When we came back down river in the early afternoon we again passed the house with all the plates and shit on the river bottom. Iron asked Tom if he could anchor up and to see if we could grab something from below.
I took the net and was able to get a saucer that was fully intact (I think whoever threw this stuff in the river used plates and whatnot in lieu of clays). Then I caught a glimpse of an old Pepsi-Cola bottle, like real antique old. "Damn, your kids would definitely go for that" I said aloud. I took the net but the bottle was in pretty deep water and I couldn't reach it. To my surprise, Tom pulled out a boat hook with a much longer handle. "Fuck yeah! Now we're talking" I told Tom. I stuck the hook down below and after a few tries I was able to get the hook through the opening of the bottle. I had that fucker just below the surface when it fell off into much deeper water.
I tried for probably 15 minutes to hook or push it into shallower water where I could get it with the net. I was only partially successful but it ended up in a weed bed and I lost it. I initially thought Tom would not be into this because he had to work on this river and may have felt embarrassed guiding two jackasses more interested in collecting river trash than catching fish. Not so, I think he got a kick out of it. He adjusted the scope on the anchor rode to get us repositioned. It worked and I caught where the bottle was at again; its neck just sticking out from some weeds. Again I tried with the hook but only succeeded in pushing it out of the weeds. Iron sensed defeat and was willing to let it go.
Perhaps it was my fever clouding my judgment. I stopped what I was doing. Took a look at the sky. I felt no wind. It was hot as a motherfucker. I had quick drying clothes on. I figured if I jumped in the river I'd dry out pretty quick. So I stripped off my shirt, kicked off my sandals and jumped overboard. The cold water literally sucked the wind out of me and I had to hold onto the gunwale for a couple of minutes to catch my breath. Once I regained it, I dunked my head under, opened my eyes and tried to find the bottle. All I could see were bubbles. I now realized this was not such a good idear. I swam into some shallow water and waited for Tom to swing the boat over. Tom was laughing his ass off at me. Ironman was shooting pictures.
10 minutes after climbing back in the boat I was completely dried out and getting hot again (95 degrees with 49% humidity helped). We continued down river back to the docks to take our afternoon siesta.