I just returned home from my yearly trip to BC and our group experienced some tough fishing due to blown rivers and poor steelhead returns. Thankfully, my wonderful group of friends made for a memorable trip filled with fun and laughter as we commiserated over the tough conditions and explored alternatives to our typical plans when we go north.
Being a guy who can never get enough river time and also wanting to seek redemption, I ventured to my local homewater this morning for a quick session of surface steelheading before work. With the shorter days of Fall, my session would amount to just shy of an hour before I needed to head into work by 8am.
With all the gear I own, I sometimes agonize over which set up to use when I hit the river. Being that I was still in the mood to swing a big rod after stretching out on the larger BC rivers, I decided to take my old Sage 9140 brownie back out even though my local flow does not necessarily demand a 14' rod.
With the cloudy overcast, it took some time for light to fully illuminate the river. I fished mostly blind in the first piece of water I went through. With limited time, I hurried through and headed to the other run I wanted to hit before leaving.
Just before my brief time on the water was up, a beefy 32 inch buck decided to come up and attack the #6 green butt Ninja wang that was tied to my 8# Maxima tippet. It was a quick gulp that I saw in the periphery of my vision, instantly followed by a screaming Hardy.
This tough guy made several powerful runs and was soon into my backing. Several powerful bursts ensued with my click/pawl reel singing as I went back and forth recovering fly line and backing. I eventually managed to bring this prize to the bank and found the Ninja hooked in the tongue of this solid hatchery buck. The tongue hooking may have contributed to the angry fight that his bruiser put out.
Being I was still on my BC high, the choice of long rod, with Hardy Salmon 2, and Delta Spey 7/8 made for enjoyable casting and swinging. The hefty steelhead felt great pulling on the big rod while making my Hardy sing a sweet song.
It has been a very long time since I have had a steelhead fighting on my line, but it all came back to me as I battled this raging steelhead. It's been a season of scarcity and the long blank periods with no steelhead made this encounter stand out in time.
It is ironic that I travel a thousand miles each fall to chase steelhead in BC when I am sometimes able to get into them 10 minutes from home. I am thankful to be reminded of God's goodess as every good and perfect gift comes from above.