November 25 2008 – Great Grab

Six days fly fishing for kings in the last two weeks.  Six days dawn-to-dark on the water.  Most were cold, rainy, nasty days fishing high water.  Six days chatting with guys back-bounding eggs and Kwikfish.  Six days and only a handful of rolling salmon to encourage me.

Six days, one grab – and a too-large leader-loop severed by  bead-chain eyes.

Dang.

And then, on the seventh day, I got this slow, steady pull, on a very long line, in deep water.  I set-up and found a good, slow, head shake that erased the emptiness of six lonely, fishless days I had just endured.

I played this fish in deep water.  At one point, I felt another salmon entangled in my leader, but it soon came free.  I got out of the boat, ready to beach the fish on a gravel bar.

A big male.  Not chrome, not bronze, but that in-between grayish hue.  The fish slipped upriver under my driftboat, still anchored in the riffle.

Eventually, I pulled him out from under the boat and over to the shore.  A good, strong, deep bodied chinook.  A few sea lice still clung to the area behind the adipose fin.  A fish to bring a smile any day, and especially on the seventh day.

I held him in the river’s flow, and in an instant, he was off, sliding back into the pool, in the company of other salmon.

JN

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