Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Moment Recalled.

Moments of 2010.

Towards the end of March, I found myself huddled in the bed of my truck trying to find a pair of dry clothes. I was in the middle of my spring break; fly fishing central Pennsylvania for wild brown trout. Early on the third morning, I was wading a treacherous stretch, high sticking a run, only a few people are willing to reach for. I turned to maneuver back to the bank when the small rocks I stepped on slid downstream under my feet. I immediately plunged into the cold water and the fast current pushed the water down my waders into every extremity. I simultaneously did a one handed push up out of the flows and regained my composure. Back in the truck, I contemplated driving home, as I didn't have a full spare of clothes. It was a frigid day, which saw parts of Pennsylvania receiving snow. After a good hour, half naked in the truck, I put back on my wet pants and slid into a thin hoody before putting back on my waders. Despite my inadequate clothing, I was heading out, contempt on fishing the rest of the day in a constant state of freeze.

Walking back to the water, precipitation began to come down in the form of sleet, and I was admittedly, freezing. I bypassed the stretch of water where my kling-on boots failed me, and went straight to one of my favorite spots. I worked my way down the bank and began rigging up to nymph the deep bend pool. As I was rigging up, something caught my eye. A very large brown trout was sitting no more than ten feet into the water along a shelf. One of the largest wild brown trout I have ever seen. I immediately duck and covered hoping he hadn't seen my inpatient behind. I soon realized that the hoody I put on blended perfectly with my surroundings and he had not been notified of my presence. I perched precariously along a large boulder watching my adversary while fighting back shivers. It was a large male approaching thirty inches. He was going on a loop along the eddy every few minutes before going back to the depths. When he would come back into the shoreline area, he would pick out several targets a long the surface and connect the dots slurping the emerging BWO's. His large snout protruding out of the water reminded me of all the footage I occasionally watched of New Zealand browns slurping huge dry flies. He rivaled those glorious fish and I was in the middle of Pennsylvania. 

I watched a good three runs before I decided on a rig and a fly to catch this fish. I clipped off my nymphing rig and lengthened my leader considerably, tapering it down to 6x. On the end of my tippet I tied a size 20 thread BWO emerger. I timed his next cycle and laid my offering out in his usual path well before he arrived on the scene. He slurped down three offerings before closing in on mine. My heart was pounding in my chest and my legs were literally shaking at the knees. The massive brown trout was zeroed in on my fly, his powerful tail propelling his serpent like body towards me. Time slowed, and the frame of my body got lower and lower as he approached. He was so close and I knew he was going to take. His body language spoke to me. He had made up his mind. My heart sank in my chest down into my stomach as he arched upwards. His snout broke the surface and his upper jaw came down onto my small fly. I anticipated the delayed hook set but never had the chance. He was so large; his massive head must have created a blind spot. The wake of his large snout pushed my size 20 BWO to the side and he missed the fly. I sat dumbfound as he turned mere feet away revealing his full frame. I watched him swim out into the current and disappear, never to be seen again. 

Out of all the moments, of 2010, this was one of my favorites. Even though, I was soundly defeated, I can vividly recall the entire hour I sat, watched, and then fished for this giant. For some odd reason, on a cold March day, with the water devoid of other fishermen, I was the angler that happened upon this scene. I could have gotten back into the front seat of my truck and driven home to a dry pair of clothes but, I decided to go back out. That decision led me to that moment and to that fish. That large brown has since haunted my thoughts and dreams. 

I fished a lot in 2010 but I hardly fished for trout. They have been replaced by a smorgasbord of other species that tend to put a deeper bend in my rod. However, the memory of that fish will always bring me back to trout and the waters they call home. The image of large wild brown trout that I have yet to fool is too much to resist. Such is the lure of fly fishing. There is always a larger fish out there, prowling in the deep, content on only showing themselves once in a blue moon. For the fly fishermen, we dream of these chances, and can only hope that one day, they become reality. 

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