to land a steelhead? It took three today.
Fished today with Marty and Jeff. Picked up a couple fish, the second fish hooked by Marty was an absolutely insane duel. I haven't seen a battle like this..........ever! I had just been over to see Jeff landing a fish and turned around to see Marty up on a rock downstream of me. I could not for the life of me figure out what he was doing up there. Then he sort of yelled something, then I could see he was into one. By the time I got to where he was, the fish had done some serious work trying to remove all of his kite string from his reel. The thing just went and went. His new Farlex reel was barking like a junk yard dog as he struggled to hang onto the rod and avoid the handle whirring at 20,000 rpms. He is kneeling up on the rock doing every trick in the book to avoid being spooled. It was dicey to try and follow along the bank in this spot so he tried to do battle from the rock. Every time he got the fish stopped and started to try and put some wood to him, the fish would bolt again, the Farlex protesting loudly each time. This fish would not cooperate at all. Soon, we all knew what we needed to do. There were overhanging limbs touching the water well downstream of us and the fish was getting precariously close to wrapping the line in them. I went ahead of Marty wading across slick bedrock in nipple deep water. I got down to where the limbs were in the water and lifted the branches clearing the way for the line. Marty made his way down passing the rod to Jeff as he rounded some stream side vegetation. Jeff passed the rod back to Marty and he continued down.When he got to me, there was another exchange as he handed the rod to me as I held the limbs up and we worked the rod and line through the branches and got clear of it. Once below the tree, Marty set to work trying to land this fish. Every time Marty tried to pressure the fish he took line like it was going out of style.
At one point Marty could not,and I mean could not do a thing with this big boy. It wasn't from lack of trying. Again,every time he tried to pressure the fish in any way or change the rod angle, the fish would bark off 30-50 feet of line. I don't know how much line he had out but it was A LOT. All I know is that arbor was getting mighty skinny. Finally,running out of options, and backing and just to try something different, Marty graciously handed the rod off to Jeff. Marty was kind of like "see what you can do with him Jeff". Jeff used an old trick from his CW days and started sweet talking the fish(literally) up the soft current of the inside bank. He just pointed the rod almost directly at the fish and VERY SLOWLY just started winding it in. No rod angle changes, just steady pressure and a winch approach. All the while he is softly saying "Come on baby,come to daddy, come on baby etc" and any other nonsensical phrases he could think up. Marty and I were dying laughing as Jeff was definitely moving the fish upstream for the first time in a long time. It was working and he gained back a ton of line over the next few minutes. When we saw the back end of the running line still 40 or 50 feet away, Marty grabbed the rod and resumed the battle. The fish had begun to tire now and Marty quickly got the upper hand and tailed the fish for a couple quick pics and release. Total team effort and a very cool experience to see and be a part of. These fish will kick you butt!
The object of our devotion and affection