I stole Leland's Steelhead

David Holmes

Formerly known as "capmblade"
#1
Yesterday I decided to put in some time on the _______ River figuring that maybe the clouds and rain would get some fish going.

I drove up ____ _____ road and parked by the rope swing. I rigged up, put on my waders and marched down to the water. Who was fishing directly across the river from me? None other than the local demigod himself, Leland Miyawaki. He was wearing safari shorts and was sandal deep in the water. Somehow he was spey-casting (doesn't that require two hands?) while smoking what looked to be a 14" stogie as thick as a cucumber.

He was really taking his time but I rushed down that run quick as one-two-three. My plan was to cover as much water as I could before giving up in digust like I usually do. I had so little confidence that I would hook, much less catch, anything that I was fishing with my 5 weight which was all that I had in my car at the time. I was swinging a big black and purple rabbit fur streamer with a big cone head and a trailing hook.

I left Leland at the run and turned the corner and walked about a quarter mile to the next run. I fished through it quickly. Still no strikes or bumps. I decided the next run would be the last and started toward it. As I neared it I noticed the tailout just prior to the run was kind of deep so I waded out until I was waist deep and began casting toward the opposite side (Leland's side) of the river. As Charlie Cooper taught me on the Yakima, I cast nearly directly across and mended downstream for a nice long swing.

Just as I was thinking "why do I even come here? There's never any fish here." I noticed the swing had stopped and end of the line was under water. All of a sudden there was a heavy weight on my rod and a fish exploded out of the water at the end of my line. I ascended out of my body for a second and calmly thought "hey, that's probably a steelhead I have on there. Neat." and then I was back in my body, heart pounding like sledgehammer. I'd never landed a steelhead on a fly before and it had been a couple of years since I'd even hooked one.

The fish thrashed at the surface again and then took off downstream ripping line out of my dollar-store Okuma reel. I had forgotten how strong these fish are! My line was ripping out at 2 o'clock and then the fish surface again at 12 o'clock. What the????? Looking closer I could see the fish had wrapped the line around a rock 30 feet in front of me. I started "running" through the waist deep water furiously reeling in the slack that I was producing. I was able to free the line and then the fight continued.

To make a long story slightly less long.... I fought the beast for another 5 minutes and landed him on rocky beach. I don't know who was more exhausted - him or me! Gasping for air, on m my knees, I groped for a melon sized rock and two bashes later he was quiet. I looked up just in time to see Leland coming around the corner a 1/4 mile away. At least, I think it was him.

It was a long walk back to car -- the fish was heavy! I measured him at 30" and 7.5lbs and 10+ on the tasty scale. I feel like the day I lost my virginity 19 years ago, only this time there's more pictures!

p.s. I realize was really puerile thread title. For all I know, Leland caught 6 steelhead in the first two runs that I blazed through and then quit for the day, never even getting down to the that third run. It's all in good fun, Leland!
 

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Richard E

Active Member
#3
Great story, and I don't mean really to take away from your day, but . . .

isn't that an adipose on the top of the steelie? I can't tell very well from the picture.
 

David Holmes

Formerly known as "capmblade"
#4
Richard said:
Great story, and I don't mean really to take away from your day, but . . .

isn't that an adipose on the top of the steelie? I can't tell very well from the picture.
Richard,

Do you REALLY think I would be dumb enough to post a picture of unmarked steelhead on this board?

That would be insanity.

He was definitely clipped.

I would have appreciated maybe a private message instead of being called out publicly, but whatever.
 

chadk

Be the guide...
#7
Not even close to looking wild and unclipped. You can click on the pic, maximize the window, and see it perfectly clear....

Nice going. I know that tailout well! I see lots of guys skip right past it eager to fish the nice looking run below.... Was 'Leland' up closer to the power lines?
 

David Holmes

Formerly known as "capmblade"
#8
chadk said:
Not even close to looking wild and unclipped. You can click on the pic, maximize the window, and see it perfectly clear....

Nice going. I know that tailout well! I see lots of guys skip right past it eager to fish the nice looking run below.... Was 'Leland' up closer to the power lines?
I'm not tellin' where he was. I don't want to give away any more info. :) :) :)
 

miyawaki

Active Member
#12
Capmblade,

Pretty funny stuff.

I would think of your fish as a gift from me rather than one stolen from me because I had been conducting a dryline steelhead class an hour before in the water you caught your fish (if it was the tailout of the large pool around the corner). We were thrashing the water in there pretty good for an hour or so.

After the class ended, I drove around to where you saw me and had just begun to cast across into the seam you were going to nymph. I shortened up my casts to give you room to fish figuring you wouldn't be there very long since that spot is not conducive to wading down river more than a few steps and, as you wrote, you were fishing it pretty fast, which, in the end, was fine with me.

A funny thing about that spot. I have caught quite a few fish on your side, river left, fishing from river right. I have never caught any fish fishing where you were except for one – about eight years ago, when I landed my largest and only wild steelhead, for that river – a big nasty brute of a wild buck.

Anyway, I didn't fish any further down from where you saw me as I was soon invaded by the "splash and gigglers," whenI put out my 14" cucumber stogie and departed.

Congrats on your fish,
Leland.
 

David Holmes

Formerly known as "capmblade"
#15
Leland,

I thank you for your gift fish. And thank you for giving me some space when we shared the run. You are a giant among men.