Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5.27.2013: MERCED RIVER w/ The Bob

Got up at 5:00 and left at about 6:10.
Went straight to the El Portal Mercado and started fishing.
Lost one right away when I fished the B and Y PM from the shallow calm to faster depths.
Lost another, and then a bit later hooked into a nice 'Bow.

I took the following video, but what it doesn't show clearly is that the fish made a beeline for the rocks. I put the rod tip out to the water and dragged him out. As I did I saw this huuuuuuuuuge shadow of a fish, three times the length of my 'Bow.
Geoff Malloway @Central Coast Fly Fishing said that it was probably a big brown or squawfish.
I thought it might be either, but my memory isn't as good as it was... : )

We then went to the Picnic Spot, and had no luck there.
We met some peeps fr/ Colorado and Kansas, who just had to decide to picnic right behind us, even w/ all of the wilderness to park...whatevs.

At Rocky Curve Bridge I had one solid take and missed him while focusing on getting a good drift. I was hitting the calmer seam where the brush met the swirls, across the river, where I had the rushing white water to contend with.
There were at least three or four other fish in that pool, as I saw them chasing my B&Y P.M.
I'll come back next time w/ those Super Dupers!

That 10" 'bow was an accident. I was picking up to begin casting again and lo! fish on!
It took me a couple seconds (maybe 5?) to think about landing the fish.
I have an old (and in a certain light, bad) habit of pulling on the line with my line (left) hand to set the hook, instead of simply clamping down with my index finger and raising the rod tip. (However, I have heard that this isn't as bad a way of setting the hook; in fact, I've heard it mentioned to be preferable in some circumstances.) I formed this "bad" habit on my first trip to the Stanislaus River last year.
The video from that trip proves my point.
Anyway, I remember consciously thinking that, "Okay, I've got a fish on, I'll just slowly release the pressure with my line hand while keeping the tension and meet my left hand with my right hand, handing the line to right index finger. From there, I'll just strip in the line."
And that's all she wrote! Bagged a beayouuuuutiful rainbow.
The interesting thing was, as video and photographic evidence show, the elk hair caddis (green, size 12?) I caught him on was pretty much destroyed by this fish. I am somewhat confident that the elk hair caddis I had still had the elk hair attached.

In this zoomed in photo there are still remnants of the elk hair:

In this later photo, you can really tell that the elk hair is almost nonexistent:

However, I will say that this hook was really in him good, and he didn't and couldn't spit this hook out until I took it out. Thus, I think he "chewed" on the fly for a bit and beat it up while it was in his lip, and thus a lot of the elk hair is gone.
At first I had assumed that the fly tier did not do a good job, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
One fly, one fish landed, and I'm happy to retire the fly in my fly box seeing as it's the first fish I've gotten off of a fly rod in 2013. Besides, the hooks are still pretty sharp!

At the South Fork->Main River I caught a 9" smallmouth bass on my first cast!
I had a good feeling, or good vibes about that location.
It's interesting. I've heard it called confidence as well.
It's that feeling where you just know you're gonna get action.

After catching the smallmouth, I moved down to some of the casting "portals" or "windows."
There are 4-5 of these windows, and each of them give a different view.
I've a mind to head down there sometime w/ my waders and hit those spots w/ the Fly Fishing setup.

All in all a good day, and I'll be heading back for sure before the summer's end!

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