"No trout, unless its weird." I'm sorry but its been a difficult,mind fuck to top a big brown I somehow caught last April...or big cutts in small creeks, or.... well if you have been to my neck of the woods which seems to include 3 states of big trout you know what I mean. During all this driving, Dirty D aka Lazlo decided that if I haven't read the guy yet, this sport needs some gonzo jounalism. Other than the occasional fungus, it shall be kept more mellow than the late,great Hunter S. Thompson though...I laid off the uppers,downers,acid,molly going on 10 years ago. I like a good huff of ether as much as the next guy, but i just too damned old to get to crazy anymore. The backroad is crazy enough being slightly unsober or even bad enough to scare you absolutely shitless if some places and times are experienced sober. Places like Hardy,Arkansas and Murder Creek come to mind.....or accidently seeing what locking up the public shitters in the middle of no where has forced a desperate man/woman/child to do. Some days I guess you should just feel lucky not to step in something or to be hit with a piss jug in some places.
As I bum around today with the wise elder, Yellow Dawg, for the first time in over a month and start to decompress..So many things are fresh in my memory if they did not end up burned into my brains hard drive, not always a good thing...I consider unpacking, doing laundry among other things that have been neglected at my old ranch cabin at the base of the Tetons, yet my energy is still non-existent. I wanted to go steelheading one last time this spring for personal reasons or ego... not sure. Then there was this other issue, I had not been back Ga to visit family and see a new niece and a 5 yr old nephew I'd met once when he was maybe 2...I was sort of told I had to come back and do a lot of shit I had left undone when I relocated to Wydaho almost 8 years earlier. Being the sick,crazy son of a bitch I am, i turn it into a fishing trip. I had not been to the Ozarks,my old bass lakes, nor the smokies in way to long and I can't drive 6-12 hours for quality smallmouth/largemouth very often and although I love streamer fishing for trout in this area.....I was burnt out on winter, trout, and a few other headaches. Then another guy i fish with said he could go and his Ro skiff was picked up in Pinedale,Wyo in route to his winter storage locker, i mean home in Denver.
It all started with an idea to celebrate my 35th birthday and help my fishing buddy who grew up in the PNW run an errand he could not avoid. So I find a suitable dog sitter and we haul ass across Idaho and enter the Gorge, the gateway to a world i become more fond of each trip...at some point the weather forecast changed and a fucking monsoon was unleashed on Oregon,Washington,and Northern Cal. while the snow piled up in Idaho. Suddenly everything had went to shit, the stoke was waning.... so we did what anyone that "might" know what they are doing, searched for and somehow found some smaller almost head water like water that had not been turned to mud flow by the rains.
I say "might" because each time I read Trey Comb's bible or some other piece of literature on the subject of steelhead or get to spend time with one of the guru's that I am lucky enough to know. I am reminded that this fish will make one crazy if he ponders all the little bits and pieces too long and doesn't just keep swinging and fishing in an intense meditative zone no matter what the weather throws at you until flooding starts, darkness approaches or the local Bigfoot loses his patience and throws a rock or two.Even with very few anglers and many good but somewhat problematic runs when using a single or double hander, "properly."
That is unless a fish finally attacks your fly and as my luck would have it, this particular fish thats been swimming in my head a few years giving me the fin, decides he likes his intruders at the end of the swing during the short wake during the lift to reset anchor and cast again. 2 more times, i get the same reaction trying to mimic the accident that had just occurred as mother nature was preparing to unleash a beating on area I was in. I rested the fish as the weather continued its rapid downward spiral. So I changed colors,slightly and changed to a lighter sink tip, checked my knots, added a couple feet of flourocarbon to the butt section. I did everything I could think of in spite of the now 30 mph wind and torrential downpour after seeing a new angle at this buck's lie. 6 or 7 casts in, my running line comes tight, i think i set the hook and I had kyped chrome lighting hooked and going apeshit on the end of my line.... two days of driving, bad weather,and dread all faded away......... he's on the reel, my buddy is making his way over after hearing my excitement..... another run and a jump under an overhanging tree and it's over. Threw the hook in slow motion. While more satisfying than nothing at all.... a fish like this is a kick in the nuts when you can't fish the right rivers as much as you want and almost feel like you need to.
It all sort of came unwound after that, the rain forest was way more comforting than the spring snows...... 6 more days of fishing hard and only two fish moved and one hooked and lost between the two of us. Not knowing a cross country fishing binge had been set into motion. 2 days after coming back, we were packed up again, drift boat in tow, headed for the Ozarks, the Georgia Piedmont,new water and parts of the Smokies more like somewhere in the west/northern midwest than the south east. Places I had not seen in way too long, the places that have shaped me as an angler and a person. Of course, as always, I am the weather's bitch and have been for years, which is properly dealt with by spending time in local bars,more drinking, occasional strange, local cuisine, tying and enjoying the spoils of passing through Denver these days, which may be a story in itself..... to be continued.......