Slack Line

A hungry backcountry brown.

At last! A long and deep pool of gin clear water! After a very long, sweaty hike upstream, where the river looked much more suitable for whitewater sports than for fishing, this was a really relieving view. I started scanning the water in the tail slowly progressing upstream. Nothing. I was close to the head of the pool when I saw the fish: a big brown trout patrolling the slow water in the far bank, lazily taking bites from the full of debris surface

With all that defeaning chirping from the cicadas around it wasn’t hard to choose a fly pattern. At its head, the pool was narrow and with a fast tongue of current in the middle. In its search the fish was following a rather inconsistent upstream-downstream-upstream path; always beyond the strip of faster water, of course. I had to wait for the trout to be looking away from me to make a cast. Some good casts were useless, as the fish changed direction unexpectedly. And when things were right in that regard, drag resulted in just a number of disdainful looks. A reach cast wasn’t enough to counteract the big difference in speed between the two pieces of water and I couldn’t wade more upstream of my current position. Not an easy challenge.

Finally, the trout decided to search farther downstream. Following it I got to a place where the problematic current was slower and, by presenting my fly downstream instead of across, I had a much better angle to make a successful reach cast. Soon after the brown was posing for the picture above.

When everything was finished I reflected on how many times the thrill of the moment doesn’t allow us to think clearly. Why didn’t I use a bucket cast in the first place? Placing a good amount of slack line in a heap just beyond the fast water tongue of the pool would have resulted in the longest drag-free drift possible. Simply I had not remembered it. I tend to be too affected by the sight of big fish.