More than second best [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: More than second best

02-13-2005, 11:01 AM
Yes, I am a steelhead & salmon spey hound and a salty gamefisher. If it doesn't threaten to spool me once in a while, I don't act too excited.

It's not that I don't love trout - I was obsessed with trout as a youth, as much for what they represented as what they were once obtained. Where catfish, eels and spiny rayed fishes had been all but mastered at a young age with stinky baits and rattling plugs, this seemingly inaccessible pursuit known as trout entered into the picture as I was too young to drive to the places where they lived. I guess then as it is now the species is a large part of my interest in angling, just as I look at roosterfish as a pursuit I want to engage in because of how beautiful and mysterious they are.

And just as I was feeding those jones the saltwater scene got into my blood, and I moved to the great pacific northwest where steelhead and salmon put the leaps of the bluefish and the shoulders of a cow striper into the form of an alpha trout or wild pacific salmon, and the desire for trout was overwhelmed with the rod busting power of kings, crazed leaping runs of coho, and the unimaginable magic of a big steelhead coming to the fly.

So there I stood, throwing an ever-improving single spey (work in progress, lifetime of study in just one cast) over a broad river, current so strong two more steps would take me for a swim, swinging a big black and nasty rat, looking for joy in the form of a yard long missle as bright as a new dime. The river has a strong connection with the sea, home to several species of salmon and steelhead, among other 'insignificant' species.

It's a good swing, the tension feels right, slowing down... there it is! A boil and a heavy pull down, and the 13ft rod takes a deep bend. The 3000 miles of travel, the sleepless nights tying flies, the trouble at work and home over trips like this all worthwhile at this moment.

Hmmm... that was a short run... feels kind of light for a steelhead. A searun cutthroat leaps from the water, and a big smile comes to my face and wipes out any possibility of being bummed over the 'second best' fish. How can one be unhappy with a trout that puts a lick into a 13ft spey rod?" I ask myself, as the stout and spunky searun comes closer to hand.

He was a tough little buck, leaping and bulldogging with the tenacity that took it to sea and back again. An indigenous species that has been affectionately called 'harvest trout' in the area for it's late summer / fall return timing. I have seen them over 5 pounds, mistaken for steelhead by anglers. I have caught them pushing 4 pounds, but 2-3 pounds are considered large. Each one has a different appearance, some are as chrome bright as cohos at Neah Bay, while others are as gold as the bars at Fort Knox. Some are brilliant with the colors that only a trout can produce, all are beautiful.

This fine trout would be followed by a consistent stream of such beauties through the afternoon, and I did get one steelhead before the sun went down that day. However as I sit here mid-winter it's the cutts that fill my mind with thoughts of those crisp fall days.

Yes, I am partial to it's cousins that are the size of my leg. However, the searun cutt is much more than "second best".

John Desjardins
02-25-2005, 08:55 PM
Juro that sounds like a great day .

02-26-2005, 09:15 AM
Sweet picture Juro. How have you been buddy?


02-26-2005, 10:01 AM
Hi John -

We're having a b-a-d winter, but I had a nice weekend on the Skykomish last weekend (Kaufmanns Spey days).

I'd like to get down your way for some more photo subjects :cool:

Jim Miller
02-26-2005, 10:03 AM
Nice narrative and photo....felt like I was there too! :D

02-26-2005, 10:04 PM
I'd like to get down your way for some more photo subjects :cool:

Bring it!! You've got an open invitation. :smokin: