‘Greasy’

Gosh, with flows up everywhere I was on the fence about fishing on Sunday. I mean, why get up early, check the flows, only to find out that I’m shut out?

As luck would have it, I woke up naturally at 3:30 am (again) and vainly went through the USGS gauge readings in multiple states before I found one piece of water that could be fishable. I hoped that the day would warm up, and so, waited before leaving the house.

When I got to the river, there were a few anglers at a spot that had been stocked recently. Now, I don’t usually target stocked trout, and I’d been to this particular area just once in the past four to five years. But, if history was a guide, this area would be fishable and hopefully loaded with newly released wards of the state.

My plan was to fish it for an hour or so and then move on to try and find wild fish. But, I was “greasy.”

Fellow BlogFlyFish.com team member Ashu Rao was the first person to use that word with me in a fly-fishing context. Fishing with junk flies is greasy. Flies that incorporate two junk patterns are outrageously greasy. Most certainly, trying to slam innocent trout fresh off the truck is way greasy.

For some reason, The Almighty was with me, and a pair of anglers left a choice spot soon after I got there. Others then left as well. I could see why, as the water was cold and there was scant sunshine. Various anglers rotated in and out of the water, as their chilled feet made them seek refuge very quickly.

I was onto fish fast. Honestly, after a lean winter with sporadic fishing I was happy to see some easy action, even if my mind conjured an image of Ashu as the Ghost of Fishing Past saying “greasy” over and over to me. To really up the grease quotient, I drifted egg patterns, Squirmies, and Mops at some slow, shallow slicks. The sighter would periodically pause, and I’d pull in another trout.

At one point, I put on a new, experimental egg pattern, and I targeted a transition area where there was a color change as the water went from shallow to deepish. The sighter paused, I set the hook, I felt tremendous weight, a fish moved, and then nothing happened.

I mean, nothing happened. The fish didn’t move, and I couldn’t move it. I applied side pressure and got even to the fish, and I still couldn’t budge it. So, I tightened more, hoping my 6x tippet and knots would hold, and really bent the rod. This is another case where the limber tip of the Thomas and Thomas Contact II really showed its value.

Slowly, I edged the fish towards the bank. At one point I saw a huge rainbow roll, and I couldn’t believe its size. A true Moby. We played back-and-forth a few times, when the fish surged and I reeled in feverishly when I felt it tire.

Soon, I felt that I was gaining the upper hand. I slowly walked towards the bank and got the fish to the shallows. It took a few attempts to net it, as the ‘bow was much bigger than my net. What a beast: it taped at a 28″ length with an 18″ girth. With those dimensions, UpCountry’s Torrey Collins estimates the rainbow was 12.1 lbs.

In CT and NH, I’ve previously caught broodstock browns and ‘bows. Maybe this fish was one of them. Or maybe, it’s the XXXL size that you can order from a hatchery. Either way, it was a fun experience to land it and to let it go.

“Ya want a picture with that, sir?” a nice angler asked me.

“No, thanks,” I said. “I’ll revive it and just let it go.” I almost never am into “hero shots,” and I certainly didn’t feel much like one after fishing an egg pattern to catch a hatchery fish. But, honestly, I was all smiles. Yes, it was a greasy day, I’ll admit. I even ran into some goldens to really make it a truly slick day.

But, on Sunday, I wasn’t feeling like a proud man. I just wanted to see some fish and not half-kill myself at a roaring river. The one-hour visit ended up being longer. I stayed for eight hours without a water or food break and just fished like a madman and didn’t hit any other water. Like I said: “greasy.”

During the drive home, I rang up Ashu, who coincidentally was also on a long drive home after a fishing outing. It had been a great day for him as well. May The Grease be with you, too.

Best early wishes for a Happy Passover and Happy Easter. I gave up both alcohol and caffeine for Lent. The alcohol hasn’t been a problem, but I crave a real coffee every morning. Looking forward to some high-octane stuff on Easter morning.…

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