I was feeling pretty good about myself.
It happens every one in a while, because at some point thanks to sheer number of hours on the water, a day eventually culminates better than one you’d call great. Great had been surpassed with the releasing of an 18-inch rainbow with deep, elegant colors broken up by a peppering of consistent dots. It was my fourth net-filling fish and it wasn’t even noon. This isn’t an instance of self-promotion, because I’d have to think I was better than a C+ fly angler to voyage into narcissism. Saturday morning isn’t par for the course. There are guys that cast six times on the Upper Sac and catch six fish. They scout, stalk, cast and bring to hand the exact trout they wanted. Other dudes go up there and have 20 fish days. Half of that is a great day in my fishing log. I watch Youtube videos of what guys like Lefty Kreh and Mikey Wier do – their casts, their fish, their grasp on the sport. I check out the Orvis, Leland Fly-fishing or Sage clips, or watch full-length films like Trout Bum Diaries and feel nothing more than neophyte. When I was in 8th grade, I went to a basketball camp in Colorado. The coaches there told us to videotape our shots so we could look for clues as to why we were inconsistent – elbows flaring out, using the left thumb to push the ball, a lack of back spin, feet not square, wrist not cocked, eyes on the ball rather than the target. I thought my shot was ugly. It looked like a little kids’ shot. I wanted a basketball player shot. So I worked. I’ve contemplated fly casting camp for some professional insight, but then, at just the right moment comes a positive turn like Saturday.
I used the same combination of flies that had brought me success of previous trips (a No. 16 dark lord dropped off a jimmylegs) and it had been an incredible morning.
As Kurt and I shoveled down steak sandwiches en route to the next stop on the Upper Sacramento River, we discussed some of the good days we’ve had and the plan for the afternoon. We crossed the low water and worked to a deep pool where I lost a brute in June. We both nailed 18-inch fish. Unbelievable. And the day just got better. On a long sweeping turn I caught a couple smallmouth bass, then drifted through a school of cookie-cutter 16-inch fish to end the day.
I didn’t exactly feel like Mikey Wier, but I did feel good. I’ve never fly fished with a guide, nor had any lessons. I’m 100-percent self-taught with the exception of trying to figure out what the heck is going on in those professional Orvis instructional videos, and I had myself a legendary day.
Of course, if I go out and get myself skunked next time, I’ll feel normal again, and my tone will probably change. Such is fishing.
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