Fly Fishing Idaho
Here is an awesome account from Frenzier, Angler Anon-er, Braxton Marlor. Good Stuff!
Into the Abyss
By: Braxton Marlor
A cuss word hissed out through my lips as I tripped over a boulder submerged just beneath the surface of the water. My weight carried forward and my torso dipped into the river. I flailed as water began to fill my waders with the icy cold h2o. Walking back to my truck to head home in the 10 degrees (F) you would think I would have felt foolish and defeated but on this day, I couldn’t have been happier.
I had talked two friends into coming on an afternoon fish with me to a river we will call “cold creek.” I had been fishing there a few times in a few weeks previous but had landed nothing bigger than an 18-inch rainbow. Knowing that monsters lurked underneath ledges and cracks in the ground I yearned to have my hook find one of their spotted noses. We spread out trying different holes and runs to locate where some fish were hanging out. I had pulled out four 14-inch rainbows that were a pleasure to the eye but my arm and shoulder were ready for a tussle; and they were beginning to feel robbed of this experience. One of my amigos, Chase, came rushing down the bank, as I released yet another puny bow, asking for the net. I obliged him as he told me our other friend, Kyle, had a pretty good one on. I met them up there to see the fish. It was a 21-inch bow that went probably 4 or 5 pounds. Boom! Great fish, pretty color, spots all over the place and shaped like a football. This excited me to know we might be into the land of giants. We converged on a run that looked to hold fish that would rival the one that swallowed Moby Dick. A large trout had rolled a couple times on each side of the river, which had us quiet and dialed in to our indicators. My thingamabobber took several trips up and down the run, looking like an oversized piece of yellow corn letting me know that I was hungry in my belly and also starving for a for a trout to take it down. As a bald eagle circled overhead and the whistle of duck wings flittered in my ear the corn kernel indicator took a dip into cold creek. I jerked the rod back trying to set the hook deep into the unsuspecting trout and it went taught as if I had hooked a log. But nay, the log jerked back until I knew it wasn’t a log but a good trout! I spoke to my colleagues, “This feels like a good fish!” Then right at that moment the rainbow tried to get airborne but its weight would only allow it to flop out of the water like a large whale. This sight had us going crazy at the immensity of this fish. The fish took off upstream and knowing that this battle wasn’t going to be won easily we decided to walk closer to it in fear that leaving it to its own agency he would love to get the hook out of his mouth and leave me broken hearted. As we got closer the trout darted to the bank, close to Chase. He peered into the water and yelled, “You have two fish on!” I had a two-fly rig I was fishing with and the large fish was on the bottom fly and while during the fight another fish that was about 17-inches decided to join in on my top fly. Trying to comprehend that at I stood dazed for a beat. In this dazed stated my line all of the sudden went slack, and my heart sank to the lowest depths. I had lost the fish. Scrambling and praying I reeled in quickly hoping for something that probably wasn’t there anymore. In this despair my rod suddenly sprung into action again and the behemoth changed his course from running right towards me to running back up river and closer to cold creeks bank. His final run was swift as he dove towards the bank and held steady. We made our way over to where he was to find that he wasn’t there at all. We followed my line underwater to where it went underneath a rock. Thinking the fish held up under the shelf of this rock I handed my rod to Chase, as Kyle was ready with the net. I slid my hand into the hole to tickle the fish out of the ice-cold water. I reached and reached until the whole right side of my body was in this cave the fish had held up in. He was deep into this watery abyss where I could not reach him, and as far as I knew he had disappeared forever. We tugged on the line to coax him out but the top hook was obviously snagged on a rock or possibly a tyrannosaurus rex fossil. I felt helpless. I pulled out of the cold water into the frigid January air perplexed at what to do next. As I pondered, I looked around until I saw something odd. Spots. They weren’t natural amidst silt and large lava rock. I pieced things together as I noticed a small crack in the earth and within that crack characteristics of a fish started to become clearer. “He’s right there!” I yelled at Chase since he had a better point of view than Kyle. “Where?” he muttered. Rather than answering his question verbally, I slid my hand into the crack in the earth and felt the slick side of a large fish. He lay there still. I reached further up his body until I could feel a gill plate and a head. The crack in the earth was just big enough to fit him through as I reached my hands in to pull him out. I held the fish aloft and pure excitement ensued. The trout had spots like the leopard rainbows you see up north in Alaska. The stripes of color were vibrant and lacked no luster. Its belly fat hung over my hand as I held it in the water admiring it. This things diet must have consisted of adult bald eagles and baby moose. We didn’t have any official measurement takers at the time so we just guessed the weight and length from past fishing experiences. We guessed it to be about 26 inches long and around the 13-pound range.
This isn’t a record-breaking fish nor is it really even close. But for me it was one of my personal best fish I’ve ever caught and by far the biggest on a fly rod. We always seek to catch the bigger fish but what makes this fish a special one is the story I can tell of the rodeo he took me on and how I shared that experience with some good guys. Although my day ended with me falling head first into the frigid river chasing a 10-inch brown, this day will be on my mind for quite awhile.