|Angler's Delight Pt.
by Long Strongdaily ©
I cast a size eight Cosseboom. The salmon couldn't resist, on my third cast he rose, as if to have a look at the offering, on the forth cast his mind was made up and he nailed it! The salmon immediately jumped in a vain attempt to throw the hook! He then proceeded at break neck speed to the tail of the pool! I had great difficulty in preventing the salmon from heading down river. He jumped twice more before heading to the middle of the pool and began to sulk. I moved below him and attempted to move up river again. The salmon responded by doing a three-sixty cartwheel about ten out of the water. It was at this point that I heard a loud splash up river. Judging from Virginia's reaction and the angle of the bend in her fly rod, I knew she had hooked into a very large fish! I was now torn between my interest in my own salmon and hers.
"He's heading down river towards you!" Virginia yelled.
I was in water as deep as my chest waders would allow and knew that if Virginia's salmon went between the riverbank and myself, we'd be in trouble! I had little time and less of a choice!
I had to get closer to the shore as quickly as possible! Virginia had the bigger salmon and I wanted to see her to land it! I took my chances by slackened the drag on my reel and headed for shore! I was only half way from where I wanted to be when Virginia's fly line whizzed pass me! Fortunately for both of us the salmon passed on the outside. If I hadn't moved when I did he would have been behind me! I next directed my attention to my own salmon. I turned and began to pick up the slack in my line. I retrieved almost all my backing, convinced that my fish had thrown the hook. "That's fishing", I thought out loudly to myself. I was just about to concede that I lost the salmon when he came straight out of the water not more than ten feet in front of me! My line and fly were clearly visible still attached to him.
I pulled in the slack as quickly as possible. I surmised that when the line went slack the salmon sensed he was free and returned to his lair where I first hooked him. In any event we were now both embroiled in a new test of nerves. Virginia's salmon was now at the tail of the pool! She was putting as much pressure as possible on him in an attempt to get him back to the middle of the pool. My concern then became whether or not the two salmon would cross and entangle our lines! My best bet was to move further up river and hopefully have my salmon follow me and where I could land him as quickly as possible. Another ten minutes passed without further incident and I had a nice fourteen-pound salmon landed on the riverbank. I now turned my attention to my wife's situation with her salmon! Virginia's battle was not yet even near an end! She had managed several times to bring the salmon to the middle of the pool. The salmon however was just as determined to return to the tail of the pool where the faster running water would be to its advantage and it felt more secure.
I suggested to Virginia that she try to get alongside the salmon or behind him. Either of these positions will, almost always, cause the salmon to go back upstream. This is where she wanted him in any event if she was to have any chance in landing him! Nakita moved cautiously down stream. Almost all of her one hundred yards of backing were in the water. Should the salmon make an earnest attempt to run further down stream, Virginia would surely lose him. She hadn't enough line on her reel to allow him to run out of the pool.
"You have to get further down stream and fast! If he makes a run for the river you'll lose him for sure! You don't have enough backing!" I told her.
Virginia recognized the situation and moved quickly, retrieving line as she went. She was now almost directly opposite her salmon when he did exactly what I thought he might. The salmon made two consecutive jumps and headed down stream at a dizzying speed! The fly reel screeched in protest as Virginia attempted to restrain his run. We were both convinced that this was one big fish that wasn't stopping till he hit the open ocean! There was nothing we could do to prevent it! There was so little backing on the reel we could clearly see the spindle! Amazingly and for no perceptible reason, the salmon stopped! His precise holding spot we did not yet know!
Now maybe he had given us a chance, maybe the last chance, to get back as much line as possible, and hopefully get behind him and have him move back up into the pool! There Virginia would have a better chance of subduing him! We both moved down river as quickly as our two legs could carry us, retrieving line as we went. Then we were really in trouble! The water was too deep for our chest waders and the riverbank too high, as well as too heavily treed, to allow us to get by! There were few options left. The first option was to allow the line, which was now over fifty percent recovered, to go slack and hopefully the salmon would go back up river where we could continue the fight.
The second option was to engage him in all out battle and, without any great expectation on my part, hopefully win the duel. I preferred the first option. Virginia was in a sweat and exhausted but not yet willing to concede defeat. In fact she was more determined than ever to land, what she thought, the biggest salmon of her life! We both decided on the first option. Virginia let the line go slack and after several minutes, near the middle of the river, she noticed her fly line was headed up river! We looked at each other in disbelief and laughed! Virginia began to retrieve her line, laying it on the water behind her as she headed back up river.
"Don't put too much stress on the line or he may turn back!" I shouted.
It was far more difficult to move back up than it had been to come down river! We were now battling the water current. We were within a hundred feet of the tail of the pool when we saw the salmon break water, dead center in the tail of the pool. Our luck was holding! I was amazed that the salmon was still hooked. We were now directly opposite him at the tail of the pool. He was in the fast water and sulking. It's difficult to move a salmon this size anytime, in fast water it is almost hopeless. You're at his mercy and he will give few, if any, opportunities to gain the upper hand. Virginia held the maximum amount of strain possible on the salmon! Hopefully without breaking the tippet or causing him to head back down river again. The rod tip wavered above the water, up then down, to the right then to the left! The salmon was trying desperately to rid himself of this annoyance impeding his normal daily routine! Suddenly the salmon made a leap into the air, hitting back upon the water he headed back up stream at break neck speed, stopping just below the run in. The salmon began circling the pool. His actions were to Virginia's advantage! Each circle the salmon made allowed Virginia to restrict each one a little more than the previous one, and regain lost line. His circling lasted for almost twenty minutes, each encirclement surrendering precious line. Virginia had now gained sufficient line where the fly line itself met the first guide on the rod! Virginia gained a new confidence as she could foresee an end to this tug of war. We had, for the first time, seen the salmon sufficiently long enough to estimate its weight. I suggested it might hit forty pounds or better! Virginia grinned and said she it felt as if it were closer to two hundred! She was totally exhausted by now, only the expectation of the end being near gave her a renewed strength to continue. The salmon rolled near the top of the water several times. Virginia continued to draw in more line. This was a sure sign that the salmon had had just about enough!
"Don't be over confident - he still has fight left in him yet!" I cried!
I knew I shouldn't have had opened my mouth. Just as I said it the salmon made a dash back across the pool. The sign of disbelief on Virginia's face told it all! She was now the one ready to quit! I consoled and encouraged her to keep the strain on him and bring him back over. She handled herself like a master's champion. Lifting her rod tip she applied the extra pressure to convince the salmon to follow her lead. While it took another ten minutes to so, Virginia bought the salmon close enough to hand tail it. The salmon surrendered peacefully, his battle lost! He had no more fight to give! I placed a tail wrap around his tail and attached it to my scales! Thirty-nine pounds to the ounce! It was a record for her and one that I had not, at least to this date, matched! Virginia sat on the sand leading into the pool with her feet in the water. She was delighted at her victory, with no strength to even stand; she stared at the huge salmon held in my grasp!
"You want to let him go! Come on! You caught him you let him go!"
"No! I haven't got the strength! You do it for me!" Virginia Implored!
I wanted some picture however so I eased over towards Virginia to permit her to remove the camera from my flyvest pocket! She stood up and moved towards me and in doing so startled the salmon whereupon he made a lunge and broke my grip on his tail. He had just set the terms of his release himself! We watched as he slowly lumbered toward deeper waters. Virginia and I looked at each other aghast! The biggest fish either of us had ever caught and we didn't even get to photograph it! I laughed to lighten her disappointment and said:
"Isn't that what salmon fishing is all about!"
"You got that right!" Virginia gave me a hug as we sat discussing the just ended events.
"I played that salmon for exactly eighty minutes! Then it got away before we even got a picture of it! Everyone we tell will say "Yeah! The big one always gets away!" Virginia said dejectedly.
I agreed and suggested the next one might be even bigger! Having rested for some time we were about ready to leave when suddenly there was a canoe in the middle of pool. Virginia, nor I, noticed it when it arrived; it was just there!
"Hi! You two still fishing!" as Alex and Allen made their way toward us in the canoe, smiling.
"That was one great ride down the river! It was everything you said it would be. Lots of fast water and a few good rapids! It was a great trip! The waters were as good as anything we've ever been on!"
As they came ashore Virginia caught my eye and appeared to say: "Don't do or say anything to embarrass anyone this time!" I chuckled and pretended to not have had seen her.
"You two made excellent time! That's quiet a distance from where we left you!"
"Yes! It was! The waters were real fast though, being in flood and all. It was just super!"
"You'll have no trouble getting back to sleeping quarters tonight. You are only about two miles from the mouth of the river and it's still three hours or more before sunset!"
"That's great! We were beginning to get concerned with just how far we had left to go! It'll be nice to get a shower and good nights sleep! We didn't get much sleep last night with all the rain, thunder and lightning and winds!"
"Yes! It was a wild night but not as bad as it can get sometimes around here!"
"Did you have any luck here? Catch anything?" I explained the action we had with special emphasis on Virginia's battle with a thirty-nine pounder! Their eyes grew like saucers.
"I never thought you could ever handle anything that big, mam! You enjoyed it though! Hey Mam?" I had great difficulty resisting the temptation, I looked at Virginia as she responded:
"Yes! It was all I could handle! It was huge! I couldn't even hold it!" Virginia remarked and I couldn't resist the temptation!
"Yes! She's seen a few things today that she thought she'd have difficulty in handling! But she's always willing to try at least!"
"I told you not to get smart!" she said very unconvincingly as she elbowed me in the ribs!
I knew the arrival of Allen and Alex had renewed her interest in the events of earlier that morning and blushed as she saw me glimpse at her reaction to my comment and responded: "There's a lot of things that you thought that I'd have difficulty in handling! I surprised you today though! Who caught the biggest fish? There are a lot of big things I can handle if given the chance!" Alex was surprised by her comment, if not suspicious!
"I've always been willing to let you try whatever you want! Like landing that fish today all by yourself! Then there are other things that only a woman can handle! I don't complain!"
"No you don't! What's your point!"
"Nothing more than agreeing with you that's all! Like you telling me earlier today about a guy up river having a leak! You said he was hung like a horse and it got you turned on! I didn't get angry! Did I? In fact I told you to go for it if the opportunity presented itself!"
Alex was now aware that he had probably been seen masturbating earlier that morning and immediately went back to his canoe; somewhat sheepishly and without saying a word.
"Alex! You want to leave already?" Allen shouted.
"Yes! It's getting late and I think we had better be on our way!"
"O.K. I'll be right with you!"
Just then a salmon broke water not more than ten feet from the canoe. I grabbed my rod, stripping out line as I made my way to the water. I had him on the fourth cast! It was a nice ten pounder plus! The salmon made a mad dash to the opposite bank and then cleared water for good eight or ten feet. Hitting the water he ran as if chased by a shark up river turned and went to the tail of the pool! The salmon settled in the middle of the river in the fastest water. Alex, Allen and Virginia forgot our discussions and watched me play the salmon! He was knee deep in the water standing next to me, excited as a kid at Christmas time!
"Do you want to land him?"
"You mean that!"
"Sure I mean it! Here take the rod and I'll help you! You gonna have to listen carefully if
you're going to have any chance of landing him! This guy isn't ready to die yet!"
"Yes! O.K! But what if I lose him!"
"Don't worry! You won't! I'll be letting him go anyway! There's more where he came from!"
Allen took the rod and began playing the salmon. It was as if it where his first toy! He was so excited that I thought he might not survive his first salmon experience! He later landed and released a ten-pound salmon. It was then that he suggested that perhaps if we were going fishing tomorrow would we mind if he, and Alex if he wanted to, came along! I certainly had no objections but before I had a chance to respond Virginia replied:
"Sure! We'd love you both to come along wouldn't we honey!"
"Sure! Why not?" I replied, surprised by her enthusiasm!
"Give them our phone number so they can call us later this evening! We can finalize our plans for tomorrow at that time!"
"That's great! We sure will!" they replied in unison.
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