This story is a flashback from a few months ago, but still meaningful and exciting! I made a quick dash to a close spot in urban Missoula on the Clark Fork river after classes one evening.
After tying on a small nymph, and casting a few solid drifts, I repositioned to present the fly through a prime eddy where I was sure bugs and of course trout would be. Instantly my bright pink strike indicator moved, it was more of a slight hesitation on its drift rather than a direct and obvious strike or hit. And then comes my black out moment, running on pure excitement. I know I set the hook, as instinct and muscle memory told me to, but how did I know just when, how did I not lose this monster of a trout? For the strike was merely a tiny hesitation in drift. And how, was it only feet from my wading boots; surely he must have seen my movement.
Well by the grace of God he was hooked, and hooked well – I made sure of that. The line ran: 15, 20, 25 feet…I could tell from the pull that this fish was BIG! I fought the fish for what felt like an eternity, trying to bring it closer and closer to my net. I was in awe once I saw this beautiful creature come up from the deep and splash its large tail through the ripples of the water.
I wasn’t having success landing it and I could not help but thinking of what a big loss this would be if it were to get loose. Another fisherman that was nearby offered a very kind helping hand in netting, for he had seen this was a two handed battle. I worked the bend rod towards his net and finally, the fish was safe and in my hands! The guy’s reaction was. “Holy shit! That is a TOAD! Its a fish of a lifetime, wow! Let me take your picture.” I am ever so grateful for his help in netting and capturing this epic moment! :) As I was positioning the fish in my hands he sure enough jumped right out! MY heart skipped a beat, but to my surprise the guy caught it with one hand!! We both laughed.
I set my rod down and stared at the water as the Mighty Bow swam back into the deep.