P&P Lodge is down to three guides. This is the height of season there. I only saw all three boats out one day. Only one boat was out the other three days.
Garth and JJ are beginning to work the huge flat behind the Forrest. Theyíre rigging a skiff on a trailer to eliminate the long boat ride.
I saw the biggest bone of the trip there. Hooked him up on the edge of the flat in knee-deep water. I was using 20# flouro tippet to see if the fish care; they donít. He took off into deep water so fast I barely had time to react. Drag was set for a typical 5 pounder, way too light for this fish! Cut my finger on the backing and burned my hand palming the reel trying to slow him down. By the time I got my finger in the star drag of the Bauer, 2/3 of my backing was gone and the rest was disappearing fast.
He was either going to have to turn in a matter of seconds or I was gonna have to break him off. I just cranked the drag all the way down wondering which would break first, the tippet or the backing. I was worried about losing my brand new fly line. With just a few yards of backing left on the spool the pressure stopped.
I began reeling like mad and backing up on the flat into shallower water hoping to fight the fish there. There was a light but steady pressure on the line, enough to bend the tip of the RPLXi a couple of feet. I was worried that the big bone was swimming back faster than I could retrieve and was pulling a loop in the line, a sure way to lose him. All the time I was yelling at Angie to bring the camera!
As I got more backing on the reel my retrieve rate increased but the pressure got lighter. My heart began to sink. The fly line came in. Then the tippet and fly. The fish was gone. He had come unbuttoned when I cranked down on the drag to save my string.
Upon examination of the hook of Angieís Bunny Bitter it was obvious what happened: the hook was bent open. I never slowed the fish. I didnít do anything to him at all except make him mad.
Still, my hands trembled for minutes afterward from the adrenalin rush. No picture of this fish either, but the bent open hook is right here on my desk as a memento. Iím going back to that flat again!
I'm gonna try to pop a cool photo in here . . . hope it works!
Angie and Garth on the White Bay flat