Bill and I were anchored together on the Lower rogue, alone, one drizzly afternoon. Everyone else had packed-it-in by noon without hooking a single fish.
About three o’clock, I hooked-up with a nice king of about twenty-five pounds. At the time this fish was among only a handful I had hooked fishing flies and I was brimming with joy simply to have hooked the fish. It made a graceful, arching leap into the afternoon glare and promptly exited the great hole where we were fishing, two seals in close pursuit.
By the way, the Lower Rogue is the only place, so far, where I have experienced fair-hooked king salmon making graceful, three-feet-out-of-the-water leaps. More on that topic another time.
I anchored in shallow water, clumsily followed downstream, talking to myself as I worked on the slooooow process of retrieving close to three-hundred yards of backing and my fly line.
Sure that the fish had either been taken by the seals or simply come unhooked, I was surprised to find it exhausted, laying in six-inches of water along the gravel bar.
I beached the fish, bled it, and eventually made my way back upstream, into my boat, and rowed out to rejoin Bill mid-river. I was elated.
Bill was chatty and shared my excitement. “What fly, he inquired?”
“Clouser,” I replied.
“What color?” he asked.
“Fish Hair,” I replied, “Polar White belly; Hot Pink sides; Kingfisher Blue for the back.”
“Any Krystal Flash,” Bill asked?
“Nope,” I replied,” just forgot it.”
We fished together the rest of the day, anchored about 10 feet apart, with no sign of interest from the salmon.
Next morning, Bill and I were on the water at first light, fishing alone again.
The sun was up in the sky and it must have been close to 10 o’clock when he hooked-up, pulled anchor, as is customary, and soon beached his fish.
Within seconds, he was on his cell phone. A gentle breeze carried his voice over the water; he didn’t know that I could hear every word.
“Yeah, Bill here. “ “Yeah, the fish are in.” “Yeah, you won’t believe it.”
“No competition.” “No wind.” “Get up here right now man; tonight, tomorrow morning.”
“Just get up here.”
“It’s a special pattern I tie – Fish Hair, Polar White belly, Hot Pink sides, and a Kingfisher Blue back, no flash.”
“Yeah man, it’s happening right now, you’d better get up here. “