The Ending Matters

You know those exotic locales you see in fishing documentaries?  I’ve never been there. 

I haven’t stripped massive streamers for steelhead, or tossed bulky flies for tarpon.  I’ve never pulled a peacock bass or felt the tug of a taimen.  I haven’t even visited many trout streams in the west.  In listening to guys who make these trips, I have learned something:

The Truckee is one tough mother. 

This river can look at your high-end gear and textbook presentation, and tell you to shove it.  Oh, you matched the hatch?  Good for you. We welcome you to a day of casting practice.  What’s that?  That fly was producing 2 hours ago?  That’s nice.  Back to the fly-box with you.

Here’s the thing: a dismal day of refusals can change in half a second.

I easily cast over 200 drifts today.  It was drift 201 that got my blood pumping.  My indicator shot right, I set the hook, and I saw a healthy tail break the surface and slap around for a few seconds.  Then he took off downstream with urgency.  In my haste to make sure the distance between us didn’t become unworkable, I started water-jogging downstream.  My foot found some rock snot and I quickly felt the chilly, melted snow-pack flood in over the top of my waders.

Finally standing up, I saw the line had gone slack.  As I began to reel in my line, I began cursing the amateur mistake under my breath.  I looked over my shoulder to see if my buddy had witnessed my mid-stream collapse.  The adrenaline was slowly replaced by bitter frustration.  I had missed my chance, at least for today. 

Then the line took off again.  After a few more good runs stripping line off my reel, I directed him to some quieter waters and got him in the net.  Not the ending I expected, that’s for sure.

No beast, but so rewarding after such a quiet afternoon.  This is one of those fish that feels like redemption.  Doug Ouellette put it best when I told him I got soaked reeling one in; “It’s worth it!”.  I have a massive welt on each shin from the fall, but I’m inclined to agree with Doug.

Thanks to Jan Nemec for the pic and for beginning to film after my big fall.  Thanks to the Truckee for putting an exclamation mark on the end of a slow day.  Fishing is just like books, movies, relationships, or life itself…the ending matters.

Caught him on this guy: “The Brick” from Stefan McLeod.

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