Dad and I went to Pineville to fish and Joe and Dave went back to the LFZ for more action. When we pulled into the Pineville parking lot there was a decent amount of trucks in the lot, but it looked there was some room to move around.
We got all of our gear on, and decided to head downstream to the area where my Dad hooked his first Steelhead on a spey rod. A gentleman was walking out and said he didn’t touch anything and there was a drift boat working downstream. We had enough room to hop in above the driftboat so we both picked a spot and started fishing. I followed Dad down through the run as he slowly stepped it off. He was using a Purple Mahogan and I was using an Olive Mahogan tied on a cotter pin.
Nothing was happening so Dad took a break to take a leak and I kept working down through the run rather quickly. I was working the water the best I could and even made a few extra long casts for the hell of it. I was going to keep going downstream, but a guy hopped in below me about 30 yards away. I kept fishing, hoping he would start to move downstream, but he must have had concrete in his boots. I decided it wasn’t meant to be so I reeled in, headed upstream and told my Dad I was going up above the bridge to find some room. Meet at the truck around 11:45-12:00.
I walked up to the bridge and there were people on both sides of the river, but there was room to hop in at the boat ramp and work downstream…..at least I thought there was. I made about 5 short casts and got low holed again. Son of a…….man I can’t get a break this morning, but damn it’s nice today. Time to make something happen I thought. So I did & made a move.
I only had a little over an hour to find a spot and fish. I briskly walked upstream past the island at Pineville to head to an area I fished a few years ago. I got to the woods where the trail was and there weren’t any fresh footprints in the old snow. Sweet, I might have some fresh water to fish. Kept following the trail upstream and there wasn’t another angler or driftboat in sight. Awesome!! I walked a little faster to get to the head of the run. Found a spot to hop in, looked at my watch, 45 minutes left to fish before lunch. There was just enough time to cover the whole run, even though it would be stepped off quick.
I took off the Olive Mahogan cotter pin and put the tube fly crayfish on the end of my line. Work your magic again baby!! Covered the water in close then started letting her fly. The current was a great speed and I barely had to mend. The tip of the rod was all that was needed to steer the swing and control the speed. Worked down the top half of the run and had to hop out to get around a few trees that made casting impossible. I hopped back in the river when I had enough room cast and starting working down the run again. It worked out good because a driftboat was starting to come downstream and they could fish where I was just fishing.
I looked at my watch and there was about 15-20 minutes before I had to start heading back to the truck. “It’s now or never,” I told myself. The sun was out and it felt great. About that time another bank angler had arrived on the far side and began fishing across from me. He must have received a phone call because he stopped fishing and I could hear him talking.
Just downstream from me there was a nice sized boulder that created a great seam below it and into the tailout. I worked a few casts all around the boulder and let the line swing into the seam below. Stripped out some more line and began angling casts downstream so the slow water in the seam wouldn’t mess with how the line was swinging. I stepped downstream, made another cast and was stepping downstream as the fly swung because I only had so much time to cover the run. Made another cast and mid swing as I was starting to make a step…YANK, YANK, BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!! A hot silver fish starts screaming down and across stream, rolling and thrashing the whole way as my line gets down into the backing. Come on baby!! Stay on!! I kept the pressure on and the steely turned and came running back into the run. I was reeling like crazy, trying to keep the line from binding up. The steelhead got close and I could see it was a nice size female. She felt the stones on her belly and took off on another short run out into the seam I had been fishing. Worked her back in close to shore where she sulked for a little while before succumbing to the pressure of the long rod. Led her close to shore and corralled her in the shallow water. Sweet!!
I grabbed a hold of her tail and looked at her other side because I though I had noticed a sore. On her belly near her pectoral fins there was a sore which had a hook still in it from when she was foul hooked. I removed it, took a few pictures, got my hook out and revived her. She took off rather quickly and I was nice and warm. Splashed some water into the stream and said thank you. She had nice big fins with perfect rays that weren’t bent at all. Checked my watch…..11:45. Perfect.
Broke my rod down and headed down the trail with a big smile on my face.
Dad stayed where we had started in the morning and worked through the run a few times without any luck. He talked with the other guy that was there when I left, but he didn’t have any luck either. Time for lunch and time to put on a new piece of tippet.
Joe and Dave never made it back for lunch, so after eating Dad and I went back to Pineville. I convinced Dad to head upstream with me because the water was better, good room to cast and there wasn’t going to be anybody up there.
We headed up the trail and my tracks were the only ones present….nice!! I showed Dad where to start and where I hooked the fish before lunch. He hopped in and I went above him so he could fish through the water first. He started out alright, but the nearby shrubbery kept reaching out and grabbing his D-loop. I think he got a little frustrated because after about 10 minutes he reeled in went downstream below the obstacles.
I kept working downstream and was swinging the tube fly crayfish into the water where my Dad was fishing. On two back to back casts, the fly swung into the slower water and felt very light tugs at the end of the line. The first time I set the hook….nothing. The second time I dropped the loop and waited to feel the weight….nothing. Made a few more casts with no takers so I hopped out of the run to get down towards my Dad.
He had hopped out when I did so we chatted a little about casting, flies, where to cast etc. He wanted to take a break and have some crackers so he told me to get back in the river so he could watch. I kept stepping down the run and then he hopped back in and started following me down the run.
I got close to the tailout and asked him if he was casting all of the fly line down to the running line. He said, “No, but I can cast it if I want.” So I replied, “Then do it!!” He stripped the rest of the line out and started firing it out there. I kept heading downstream while fishing so I could get to the next run.
About 20 minutes had passed and I was about 50-60 yards downstream of him when I heard a whistle. I look upstream and saw his rod was bent and throbbing with a fish splashing out in the middle of the river…..yeah baby!! I reeled in my line and started walking back upstream to give him a hand landing it. About halfway to him he gave me wave to stay where I was and the fish came unhooked.
That was it for the afternoon. I kept working downstream with no pulls and Dad didn’t have any more hookups either. When we met up he said that Steelhead he had hooked, yanked the heck out of it on the initial take, came up and rolled around and the line got wrapped around its tail. That’s why he had waved to me and the fish just happened to come free at the same time. He was still pretty excited though!!