Once there was a guy who was fishing a local "S" river... He was fishing hard with no avail all day during the final day of winter steelhead season. Most out there can relate that winter steelhead fishing can test the nerves of the most patient. Step and cast, step and cast was the game, and a dirty 4 feet of visibility was the game.
Everytime the fly brushed an object, the fishermans focus became more intense, as did the trying of patience as leaders were frayed and as hooks became dull.
The line tightened as it does when you slowly pull a fly into the clutches of a big boulder, except this time the boulder seemed somehow not quite as sturdy as others. As the angler pulled intently, and the fish woke rudly and decided to head back to the puget sound.
About 100 yards down the beach, the angler followed in full persuit, bent rod an all. The fish wasn't stopping until the fly suddenly "popped" loose and returned to the angler like as if attatched to a bungie cord. The size 1 hook had been neatly folded down upon itself as if pinched with a pair of pliers. The fish wasn't "hooked" like most normal circumstances would have, but as the fly was more bitten and held for the exciting multi minuet joy ride. The humbled angler retied, and started to fish again.
Used to live in the Bay Area in California many years ago now. I left just before the real insanity down there started. Used to do a lot of fishing as in two and three times a week those days. My kids were small and taking them out for a day of fishing was as much fun as anything as I could do with them. My ex hated the outdoors so it was also a way to be alone with the kids. I'd take them out on to a pier somewhere or out to the beach, they'd play and run around for the most part, once in a while taking an interest in what I was doing. I have fond memories of standing knee deep in the surf with a coat on and the hood up because the kids were behind me throwing whatever came to hand; at me.
One particular day, on the pier that was the old dumbarton bridge I was fishing for smelt. A 1 oz. lead with three droppers above it baited with pile worms. On just about every cast you'd get one or two fish. Quite often three. My son and oldest daughter were probably 6 and 4 respectively. They were both "fishing" and each had a pole. I'd helped my daughter drop a rig over the side of pier since the rod was bigger than her and there was no way she could have made any cast. She did open and close the bail herself though and was very proud of that fact. My son was fishing the same rig as his sister. Like all kids they kept wanting to reel in every five seconds but I made them hold out. When I let them reel in finally, my son winched in his rig to find it bare. My daughter however had three smelt, all at least 10 to 12 inches long. My son was devastated. In the midst of his crying and pouting he went so far as to accuse me of cheating. His mood brightened considerably when he came up with two fish of his own on his next cast.
I am originally from Missouri and visit often. I have fished the Current river for the better part of 40 years now and Montauk Trout park too many times to count. My youngest daughter was about five. We were visiting my folks and as always the trip included a day at Montauk. We were at a spot that over the years has proven to be a great spot to take young fishermen since there were always a good number of trout holding and being hatchery fish easy to catch with just about anything. So my three kids are scattered out fishing. (My son once again being outfished by his sister!) I was helping my youngest fish enjoying watching her catch fish. She suddenly said that she had to "go". I told to her to go back into the weeds and go. She whispered to me that she had to go "poop". I again told her to use the weeds but to go back much further and handed her the t paper I keep in my vest. The look of horror on her face was priceless. She told that she wouldn't do that and went back to fishing. Over the next 15 minutes or so the urgency with which she needed to "go" increased. Finally, my Dad who was laughing so hard he couldn't fish anymore, said let's go. My daughter pretty much made all of us run to the pickup and my Dad seriously bent the speed limit getting to the nearest "real toilet". My daughter was out of the pickup and into the bathroom before the pickup even came to a stop. To her credit she made it. Also to her credit she learned the weeds do work just fine. She draws the line at leaves, though.
My favorite fishing story is not even about a fish I caught. Two summers ago I decided to get my little brother into steelheading. He was 12 at the time. Although it wasn't flyfishing. My parents were apprehensive to let me take my little bro down by myself so my dad tagged along. We didnt leave the house until 1030 (it was a last minute plan). So we got to the mouth of the Deschutes at noon. As we came to the first hole we were going to fish a drift boat was coming down through the rapids and sank... The dog couldnt decide which way to go but eventually ended up on the same side of the river as his owner. From our vantage point on the hill we could see the outline of the boat being drug along the bottom. There was someone in that hole already so we went upriver to another hole but as we were walking along in the brush a rattlesnake buzzed us, which was the first time that had happened to me on the Deschutes. Meanwhile I am trying to convince my dad that it is safe for my 12 year old brother to be around. Ended up going back to the first hole where the drift boat sank. I was fishing with my flyrod trying to hook a steelie and than I was going to hand the rod off to my little bro. He was fishing with a spinning rod behind me. When he would cast I swear it looked like he might follow the lure in. All of the sudden I see a steelhead jump fifteen feet out from me as I strip in my line to cast to it I see it jump again and again in the same spot. I look upriver and my brother's rod is doubled over and he has this look on his face of shear disbelief I ask him if he has a fish on and he says "I am not sure" while a 6 pound steelhead screams line from his reel. He ends up landing it and it is a hatchery fish so we are able to keep it and I could just see the pride on his face as we ate it for dinner that night. One trip, one steelhead. I am not sure if he can maintain the 1000 mark though...
This is classic from a late buddy of mine. We float the Beav during the PMD hatch in July. As we spot fish we do the usual by floating past getting out and stalking back up to them taking turns on who stuck the last one. Well my buddy has a reputation of when nature calls there is no negotiation. His turn we crawl up a grassy bank and get to a rod length away and start talking about where to place the fly and timing his rise. I say put it right there and he says oh sh*t. I turn and say "what" . I gotta go he says. WTF NOW I say. YUP he says ok hurry up. So off he goes and I keep watch of the fish. Not more than a minute later he comes up behind me and says OK wheres he at. You gotta be friggin kidding me you already went I asked. YUP !! OK the fish has moved about a foot to the left I say. Dammit he says !! What know I ask. I gotta go again. No Fing way man !! Gimme your rod loser !! So off he goes. 2 seconds later and not more than 30 feet away he surprises and deer that bolts out freaking me out and jumps in the river blowing the fish. I cussed him out the rest of the day but later that night over a few brews I could not stop laughing. That guy was something else !!!
I love sight-fishing, because it 1) lets me know there really is a fish there, and 2) if I can see it, I can (usually) put the fly in its face, and (maybe) catch it.
So one day floating the Sol Duc, I beached up, and (stealthily) walked along the bank of the gravel bar, trying to scope for fish. I saw a wavy shadow out in prime holding water, so I headed back upstream, and started swinging a wet fly down to where I saw it.
About then, a driftboat comes down the river, and I yell to them about the fish in the river they're about to pass over (I'm just trying to get confirmation of what I've seen, since they have a much better view, and not trying to wave them off). One of the guys leans over looking into the river, and yelled to me "It's a big one!".
More determined than ever, I carefully measured the line I had out with my eye, and just as I was stepping down and getting into the "zone of opportunity", I felt the fly stop, and I pulled back a little bit. No head-shake, but resistance that wouldn't go away, so I pulled hard towards the bank, trying to set the hook. I felt a steady resistance that moved with the current as I pulled, so I started pulling up, reeling in as I dropped the rod tip. After a few seconds, I realized it isn't a fish, but it felt strange.
As it got closer, I saw that I'd hooked a long piece of faded-out surveyor's flagging tied to a rock. It was waving in the current, just like a fish, and had just enough weight and resistance in the current to feel weird after I "caught" it.
I was happy I was able to nail the distance and spot on the swing, but also chagrined it was just a steelhead "fakey".
At the take-out, the guys in the DB were sitting around after pulling out, and they asked me about my "big fish" when I rowed in, and I mumbled something about "mistaken identity". They smiled knowingly, then busted up laughing. They knew what it was all along.......