February 3rd, 2003

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

. . .A Pleasant Day - Finally!
By Stan Hass (aka Skeet)

I took the time and met "Z" and "Linemender" at Rocky Ford in the middle of Washington State's desert, on a crisp January day. Linemender was already there when I arrived, but as I had never met him in person, so I didn't know it at the time. Z arrived later and I had a very pleasant day in the company of these two guys.

First off, let me explain something. This is kind of new for me, as I am usually the consummate "Loner" in my fly fishing endeavors! I have spent most of my adult life in the pursuit of fly fishing on uncrowded waters, by myself or with the girls (wife and daughter), with maybe the Chessie as my sole companion AND I had no patience with others interfering on my solitude! I did not go out of my way to be un-sociable but neither did I try to "be" sociable. I felt it was my god-given right to my piece of space while on the water and I had developed a pretty good stand-offish aura about me.

My wife, bless her, has always just attributed it to the "cranky old fart" syndrome and let me live my fishing life as I saw fit! She on the other hand, is always polite and amiable to everyone. . .on the stream and life in general! So maybe I am "mellowing" with age and possibly realizing that I might enjoy this fraternity of fly fishing even more than I have?

Needless to say, Z and Linemender were great companions to a newbie on their waters. I arrived at the Ford around 9 a.m. this foggy Sunday morning in January, after taking a few wrong turns finding my way, rigged up and headed down to the creek.

My first glimpse of the Ford was from the roadway amid a million acres of sagebrush canyons and to my surprise . . .no snow! I left my home in fog, snow and rain figuring this how the rest of the world looks! The weather was balmy and I didn't need all my rain gear, just a long sleeved shirt and fleece jacket. I had tied on a #14 Orange scud pattern, which Z had recommended and headed out.

At the footbridge I stopped to get a "feel" for the water by just watching. . . AND my gawd, there was a 4 or 5 lb. Bow right off the bank in about 2 feet of water! The water is so clear I could count the spots and see the brilliant coloration of these fish. Of course I promptly spooked him as I cast upstream of him. These bows are very, very leader shy and your casts need to be presented as drag free and as delicately as you can. I was about to cross the bridge when I spotted a behemoth of a trout just upstream of the bridge and figured I'd give it a try. This water is unlike the pocket waters and riffles that I favor, where I am fishing the water and not the fish! Here, you are sight fishing to these bruisers. Anyway, I did achieve a drift that brought the scud right up to the nose of this fish. . .and he took! I would love to be able to describe the ensuing battle with this monster, but alas, I set way too hard for 6X tippet and snapped it off! Hopefully no one noticed what I call the ensuing "GD'it Dance!" By now I was shaking so bad I had to lay the rod down and wait out the shakes so I could tie on another fly. This was by far, the largest bow I had ever set a hook into!

As the morning progressed, I met Z and Linemender, hooked 3 more monsters, missed some takes and generally had a great day. Z and Linemender were gracious hosts, putting me on favored holes, coaching and sharing stories and at one point arriving with the net as I played a fish that, again, I lost.

At lunchtime we headed up to the rigs and spent an hour visiting, sharing stories, trying each other's coffee and Z pulls out his new cane rod! He rigs it up and allows me to cast it and drool profusely on it. He even offers it to me for the afternoon's fishing! I am still in awe with this gesture. . .I don't think Z has fished it yet! He knows I crave cane and he also brought along another that his wife had given him for Christmas just so I could also drool on it. This is in no way showing off. Z, through our visits on the Chat Room and the Bulletin Board here at FAOL, has recognized a fellow Cane addict and even though he wasn't fishing them that day, brought them along.

In the afternoon, Linemender put me on a hole with about 6 or 7 big bows stacked up in there, coached me on how to approach this spot and let me have at it. Again, I hooked another brute and by the time he made a downstream run right through Linemender's hole, pulled about 50 feet of my line out, trashed all the water for the next few years, he pulled loose. . .of course I had failed to set the hook!

Z and Linemender had worked their way downstream and I stayed in the same spot to try and entice, to no avail, another of these fish. A young guy had worked his way down to my spot and began to visit. He did not encroach on my water. . .he laid his gear down, pulled out a sandwich, sat on a rock. . .and began to visit. In the following 15 minutes we shared information on his beginnings in fly fishing, family, why I use a 7'-3wt., his preference in rods, flies and his desire to try his hand at Steelheading with the long rod. Again, to my surprise, another pleasant conversation with somebody that I do not know, about things that are important to each.

As the day came to an end and we all went our separate ways, I had time on the drive home to reflect on the day.

I had met and fished with two guys who made my day pleasurable, hooked the biggest trout of my life and visited with a fellow fly fisher who took me at face value as just another member of our fraternity. Next time, I will get a name to go with the visit!

As I said. . .a pleasant day!

P.S.-I didn't fall in like somebody else did - no names to be mentioned! ~ Stan Hass (aka Skeet)

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