Fishing with Siblings
“One more cast,” I say to my brother.
There’s a sizeable brown trout rising with regularity on the bank opposite him. The taunting is at a fever pitch, and he can barely keep it together to place his fly where this sage of a trout will look up and sip it.
I’d been fishing this river for years, primarily in the off-season, to not be one of the many anglers who crowd here during summer months. With immeasurable knowledge acquired after too many refusals to count yet connecting with a handful of really nice rainbows and browns, I felt like the skills were coalescing for me at just the right moment to coach him into this beast.
He checks his fly, dries it, and looks at me with exasperation. If he doesn’t connect on this next cast, I think we’ll both lose it.
Picky trout can bring incredible joy and extreme heartbreak. Even with that, I’d rather chase one quietly sipping fish all day, than catch stockers on every cast. Though there are days when that is pleasurable, too, especially when fishing with a new angler. This is not one of those cases. We’ve both fished nearly all our lives, and I can hardly wait for him to catch this brute.
Trout on some western rivers can be fussy regarding food choices thanks to cold, clean water and abundant bugs. These rivers also tend to get lots of fishing pressure, educating the trout with each drift. All of this rings true in this fishing scenario. I can almost tell by where and how this trout is rising that it has earned advanced degrees in interpreting imposter flies.
A Tricky Cast
“Don’t forget your mend,” I say helpfully, yet with a hint of impatience.
Granted, it’s a challenging situation he’s in. The glare from his bank is horrendous, and the current between the fish and his stance is swift. It’s rising consistently next to a large boulder, and I’m standing above the hole about 10 feet up with a perfect vantage point. The pressure was on. Both as the older sibling trying to put all the puzzle pieces together to catch this fish and because I had caught more fish than him on this particular day.
He begins a false cast to ensure his distance. We’ve been through this what seems like a thousand times by now, with refusal after refusal and a few blown casts to top it all off, but I can tell by the way his tongue is sticking out of his mouth that he’s entirely ready for this one to be THE ONE.
The Thrill of Success
“Mend,” I yell. He’s on it. The drift is happening, and immediately he mends. I vacillate between watching the fish and his fly. Both are coming into view, and the fish pulses its tail and prepares to pounce. Wammo! He’s got a 23-inch trout on the end of his line attached to a 3-weight fiberglass rod, and the fight is on.
I’m jumping up and down and running back and forth, coaching him in the fight. I’m not sure he’s listening to a word I’m saying as his instincts from years of landing fish kick in.
With the raging current, I worry this fish will flick its tail and take off downstream, so I set off with my net, clamoring over boulders to lend a hand.
With a great sigh of relief from us both, the impressive fish is in the net. Celebratory whooping echoes up and down the river corridor.
A day to remember, indeed.