What a weekend. The cold Fall weather hit me the first night as I slept in my 30 degree summer down sleeping bag 4 hours after we landed in Northern CA. I shivered through the night waking almost every hour due to the combination of 1. excitement because I was far from home and so close to wild trout, and 2. the reality that I am used to sleeping with the wifee in a comfy bed in ideal Southern CA weather.
I knew this Weekend was going to be a special one once El Pescador, the infamous author of wayupstream, found two pennies head's up on the ground as we loaded our gear into the back of the truck.
Mikey Wier, a true fish-head, fly connoisseur, and brains behind Burl Productions, picked us up at the airport in his rig and pontoon boat tied to the trailer. I rarely have opportunities to float sections of rivers so my excitement and giddiness was apparent. This didn't help me sleep much the evening before the expected float down the *unknown* river but that didn't matter.
The following morning we met up with Mikey's fellow comrade Chris to begin the mini floatzilla. The boys got their rigs together as I watched. I quickly realized I didn't have the same gear they were rigging up. No 4 wts, No stimulators, no fancy, little size 18 Adams in 6 different variations. I knew this trip was going to be different when they pulled out big, furry, ugly streamers from their fly boxes and secured their 6 and 8 wts on their boats. I grew up fishing small mountain creeks and streams with primarily small dry flies in technical waters.
Luckily, I was able to borrow their setups as we pushed off the bank and headed down river. My world of fly fishing was shattered. It was the first time I chucked an 8 wt streamer rig for trout. The first five minutes into the drift, El Pescador lands a beautiful, greenish shade Rainbow right out of the gate. I am not talking the usual 8-10 inch wild CA trout; this is a nice, hefty trout. As I begin to get the hang of throwing and stripping the hairy beasts, I eventually landed my first trout of many for the day.
I was so excited catching all these fish that I somehow let Chris's net float down the river ( a first, oops) as I managed to pose for a picture. Funny thing was that El Pescador and Mikey, while playing a fish downstream from us, grabbed the floating net and used it to land the trout they were fighting. Can you believe that?
We came around a large bend in the river halfway though the float where schools of fish curiously stared and scattered around our boat. I chucked the hairy beast near the bank and stripped wildly as I saw what was coming right for my streamer. I will never forget the moment I watched a rather large Rainbow aggressively chase and take the fly. In my momentary bliss, I realized that fish was a personal best- the first largest trout I have ever caught on a fly.
A few minutes later Mikey sets the hook on a decent trout ever so casually. I couldn't help myself but grab my 4 wt and cast out into the same seam where I proceeded to land a similar size trout on a 14 elk hair caddis. This was another first - My first double hook up.
That night I slept like a warm baby as I recounted a stellar day of fly fishing with many firsts.