[u] [b]Day 13 [/b][/u]
Left in the morning and hit the same creek, but worked upstream instead of down. Much less holding water up this way. Long walks between good water.
But there were a few riffles where I found the same eager Cutts as I did yesterday.
As I continued working my way upstream I started to encounter some undercut banks with good cover. I hit three of them and in all of them I hooked good sized cutts. One broke me off on some underwater deadfall and the other two spit the hook. I felt like I set the hook well, had good tension in the line, played them well but still they spit the hook. Sometimes the fish wins.
I kept working upstream and came to this bank where I hooked what had to be the biggest fish in this creek.
I slid in behind and laid a perfect cast on the very edge of that bank. A small Cutt slowly rose to the fly but then a big thick bastard came from under that bank and just torpedoed my hopper. I set the hook and cleared line as fast as I could. He immediatedly dove for the underwater deadfall a couple feet from the bank. I put some serious side pressure on the rod and turned the fish away from the snag. It raced down stream and I let it run. I turned the fish back upstream and brought him in close. He tried to run again. Unfortunately, for some reason I didn't let him run.
I guess I was thinking about the fish I lost earlier, the ones that spit. I didn't want to lose this fish the same way. So I reached for my net, dipped it in the water and the fish began to thrash at the surface. The fish wasn't ready for the net. But again I didn't let out line. Got too greedy. Impatient, and as I reached with the net he came unbottoned.
I just sat there stunned. I couldn't believe it. There it was, that fucking close. 20+ inches of tiny creek Cutthroat right there. I threw the net on the rocks like a petulant child. But deep down I knew where,why and how I fucked up.
Losing big fish is honestly heartbreaking. It feels the same everytime it happens. Stunned. Nerves frayed. Tightness in the chest. That feeling of emptiness.
All over a fucking fish. I know. We all know.
But it's there. And it's brutal.
But you can live with it because hey, you can't land them all.
But losing big fish because of a simple mistake you made is devastating. You just keep replaying that moment over and over again in your head. An endless loop of your fuck up, mixed in with visions of what could have been.
I picked a few saskatoons and sat down on a log to eat them. I should have been thinking of what a great day it was to be out and thankful for the chance to be in such a beautiful place.
But I didn't. I just sat there cursing myself, my luck and barbless fucking hooks.
Working my way back downstream I picked up a few more small guys. But while they sat in my hand, I didn't admire their beauty and I didn't smile. I didn't appreciate their willingness and I wasn't really present in the moment at all.
The same fish that were so fun yesterday were now just a reminder of the fish I didn't hold
When I got back to camp, my nephew wanted to go out on the lake and go fishing. I was still bitter about losing that fish and the last thing I felt like doing was going out on the lake. It was the middle of the afternoon and about 35 degrees (austrian) out.
But I believe there must be a special place reserved in hell for people who say no to a kid that wants to go fishing.
So away we went. About 2 miles from shore we stopped. I instructed him to just press release and let the lure sink to the bottom and start reeling in when I said so. He pressed release and let it sink. It hit bottom and I told him to slowly reel it in.
I turned my back and was looking at shore still thinking of earlier when I heard
"I got one"
Kids always say that so I didn't pay it much attention. It's usually just weeds or imagination.
But he said it again "I got a fish" this time with some urgency. I turned around and that Cars rod of his was doubled over. "Just keep reeling" I said
The joy on his face as that small Kokanee came out of the water was like holding up a mirror to my own negativity. He beamed with pure excitement as he looked at that fish.
I asked if he wanted to unhook it himself. He shook his head.
I asked if he wanted to keep it for supper. He shook his head.
"Do you want me to let it go?" He nodded
I released the fish and asked if he wanted to keep fishing.
"No, I'm good I think" he said and I could tell he wasn't exactly sure anymore. Mixed emotions I guess.
He giggled the whole way home though. And just as we reached shore he grinned and said
"Thanks Uncle that was awesome"
He strutted around proud of himself that evening as all his Aunties told him what a good fisherman he was.
He sat next to me around the campfire and made smores. He barely left my side that evening and he never stopped smiling the whole night.
Neither did I.
Putting that kid on a fish was better than any fish I could have caught that day.[/report]