Sweep and fire!
The smoke curls off the Lancero and dissipates into the clear and crisp air of the land of the Nez Perce. Dinner is over and it is time to bask in the afterglow of a few drams of single malt and the fading light of perfect late summer day of fishing. A full harvest moon looms on the horizon, playing hide and seek behind the wispy clouds that signal the front of an on coming storm. All is still and quiet, except for the occasional horn rattling from rutting bucks in the adjacent field. Then slowly, from across the table from me a voice says
"You know these are the exact brand that Castro smokes"
"Wow, its no wonder he likes these" I say two and a half hours later as the best cigar of my life still burns strongly. Simply amazing......
That is just a snapshot of one part of a fantastic week with great brothers. The places we fished, the things we saw, the brotherhood of like minded anglers and people that we encountered could fill a book. The Big River is wild and unpredictable. She is selfish at times about giving up her secrets but with time those secrets will slowly be revealed. There was action and there were fish hooked and landed but that hardly mattered. As my friend Marty said so well, and I quote " Catching a steelhead is always the goal, but it's not the point". As I grow older and move between the seasons of my life, that statement rings truer and truer every day.
Fishing there is about long lines, long rods and long casts. Don't kid yourself and try and cover those far off lies with a short head line and a 13'6" rod. The main reason is, because you can't do it, especially with any consistency. It is a lesson in futility. Get the right tools for the job and go to work. Getting perfect turnover to the fly every time at distances in excess of 100 feet is no easy feat and one that I aspire to become better at. It ain't the North Umpqua by a long shot and it takes me awhile to get out of my bucket hopping, ADD mindset and settle into some 2-4 hour cast and step sessions. I am out of my element but yet can find the groove after a few sessions and make these longer lines and rods work for me better and better the more I fish them.
So challenging and yet so relaxing at the same time. The Big River moves at her own pace, and you must become tuned in to what she tells you. All other rivers have their challenges but the Big River makes you reach down deep to a place that other rivers don't require.
My words and ramblings do little justice to the magnificence that is the land of the Nez Perce.
Until we meet again........