Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Mental in Montana

Fishing like many things in life is about learning; today I have learned the hard way! They say that "too many cooks spoil the broth" in my case it was a case "too much thinking not enough fishing!" You guessed it, the old blankety blank cheque book and pen! How, in Montana of all places? The fact is that Henry and I are visiting perhaps one of the most beautiful fishing destinations on earth right in the midst of huge snow melt. Yep, you read right. Snow melt .... in mid June!

This has put the rivers way up on normal levels and so the Yellowstone that we originally set out to fish is a non starter for the week. It has to be up at least 2 if not 3 perhaps even 4 feet. Put it this way, I love water and catching fish but I would not so much as place a toe in the big Yellow right now, it would be suicide. So, based on knowledge and advice gleaned from various fly shops and helpful staff here at the ranch Henry and I grabbed a Yellowstone National Park pass and set off in search of the Fire Hole River. I was advised to take small nymphs and plenty of Pale Morning Duns or PMDs as they call them here. Well stocked and a range of Hardy gear at the ready we set off in earnest. During the trip I think we broke the world record for the most times two people have said "wow" and "awesome" on the way. The scenery was breath taking to say the least. So too was the wildlife, herds of bison, pelicans, squirrels and I think marmots or something akin. It took us a while to get to the fishing in amongst the nature watching!

Once through the park border we made haste for the river and by the time I was tackling up I was honestly shaking like a leaf. The excitement was bubbling within like no other excitement I can describe. Fueled by coffee, jet lag and an early morning rise due to extreme buzzing (the brain won't stop!) I could hardly thread up the Marksman. But finally it was done and so last minute checks over we dropped down a steep bank to the river.

From the moment I made my first cast I was wary of the "small fly" advice. The river seemed massive and flowing at such a rate that a #10 Klinky Adams seemed lost amongst it all. I tried a nymph under it but had nothing that was nearly heavy enough. My first lesson was learned. My gut instinct in a fly shop yesterday was to buy up some seriously heavy bugs, but for some reason I didn't! Minkies ... didn't have those or buy either! A sin after my success on the New Zealand venues such as the Tongararo! But I did have some big wool Sculpins and quickly swapped to this pattern on an intermediate line. To fish it effectively I would have needed a super fast sinker such as the Di 7! That was way back up the incline in the car. Second lesson ... always go prepared! I usually do but this time had trimmed the kit down and now stood un-confident and rapidly losing hope. Time for a move ....

I could go on but I guess you can see where this is going .... Henry and I slogged from one bit of water to another all day. All the sections were high. Many were very busy with other anglers and none seemed to be having much success. I am a full time fishing guide in the UK but oh how I wished I had a guide today! I am sure some local knowledge would have put me straight. On the other hand I think that local knowledge had also been my undoing. Sometimes you must go with your own gut instinct.

In all honesty though fishing is a great leveller. I guess I thought that the Montana fish would come thick and fast; in many situations they would I am sure. But not today and that's how it should be. My anticipation is now at fever pitch, on the one hand because I want to see my first Montana Trout while of course there is also a job to do! Henry may now have many fabulous wide angle scenics (plus bison!) but it is time for some fish! Tomorrow we fish a spring creek which sounds very interesting (and challenging) but then on Thursday we will be fending for ourselves once more. I relish this challenge but this time we will go armed with the right flies and choose our venues more carefully! That's the great thing about fishing, tomorrow is another day that will dawn with fresh hopes and dreams. Fishing aside, waking up in an area as stunning as Montana is nothing short of a privilege.

On that note I think I will head off for some shut eye and to dream of the moment when I hook my first Montana Trout. Will it be tomorrow? That's the great thing about fishing ... its unpredictable!

1 comment:

  1. Tight lines for tomorrow! I know you will moderate this out, so I think it is just cos you are crap.... kidding.. I am sure it is just because you have to share a room with the man that never sleeps and has no concept of quiet in the morning... :)

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