Called in sick yesterday morning, yep real sick, went fishing in a little river up north of here. Started out losing flies in the trees, hooking a few little smolts, dodging kings going upstream and avoiding wading through the riffles where the kings were digging redds. I got to a small hole that had a giant of an cottonwood tree that had fallen across the river. Rolled cast a orange reverse spider into the middle of the pool up a couple of yards from the cottonwood, halfway through the drift, whump whump whump a fish grabs the fly. Set the hook and I can feel the fish shaking his head back and forth. This fish comes up just under the surface and slowly rolls his body back and forth. I'm thinking before I got a good look at it that I hooked a salmon. I look closer, (this is a small river and I was less than fifteen feet from the fish). I see spots, lots of small spots, going all down the sides to its belly, a heavily spotted tail and that pretty bronze color that cutts have when they have been in freshwater for awhile. I'm looking at the biggest cutt that I have ever hooked in 35 years of fly fishing. All I did the next for seconds was look in awe at this fish. I've had lots of 20 inch cutts, and hooked and lost some that were a smidge bigger, but this fish was way bigger than that, possibly 4 or six inches longer. But, back to reality, I had to do something and quick , I had to get the loose loops of line on my reel and hopefully get him heading upstream. My worst fear was the fish going under the cottonwood where I knew he'd break me off. I was just starting to fumble around with the reel handle when the cutt turns downstream and jets under the log. That was it, my line and leader minus the spider sails through the air and lands in a limp pile on the shore. Gone. But damn that was a helluva fish!