My phone rang.
Still half asleep, I was being asked by Leo to make a drive north. Snap, Crackle, Pop and my mind was issued that little spark of adrenaline needed to say let's go. Leo and I have fished together many days. Not many of us can fish shoulder to shoulder and cover the same water together like we can. Crossing lines, perfectly timed synchronization in casts and drifts and a whole lot of fish. The kind of team work that some would not be able to mentally accept. Kenny knows exactly what I am talking about as he has the same ability and tempo of calm character. We fished away the day. Leo took a nice salmon early and all was well.
There are certain fish that we remember and most that we forget. They have the ability to live with us for a long time and today I would add another to the mix. This sole fish I landed today was not the largest Landlocked Salmon in the pool but one to ponder.
I had been alternating all day between swinging with streamers or cut shanks and nymphing. So far the only action, for me, was to the nymphs and it was three fish on and three fish gone. All dropped hooks as runs and jumps made for some long line releases to safety. Then about four o'clock the indicator went down hard and I could immediately tell a decent fish had taken my #12 Red Head Prince as I raised my rod quickly. The first move was to sulk but only for a moment. Then the search for escape sent my line humming up river and through the rapid that enters the pool. A continual thrashing back and forth with one big jump and burst of speed brought the fish back to center stage. Then the long run all the way to the farthest reaches of the back eddy under some hanging willows. What I fear most with these crazy fish started to happen. They are notorious for exiting down river and not stopping. Using the strong current below the pool wanting to go back to the lake and fining their nose at you as they do.
As the down stream movement started to take solid hold I said over and over "no, not down, please, no, not down'" and I simply didn't wait for the fish to get below me. I ran along the open area of the bank till I was locked up against a big rock that blocked my movement. The fish was still moving down. Immediately, and I mean instantaneously, I threw line off my reel letting the swift current of the tail out set a bag of tension as if the danger was now coming from down stream. The salmon was so close to spilling over and out of the pool and thankfully responded to the tension and began swimming back up river. I have used technique many times on big fish. Never has the hook dislodged as if slack were being introduced into the system. A few more runs away from Leo holding the net and heads up it was over.