Heart Break (sort of) at Rocky Ford

Discussion in 'Photography / Video' started by Salvelinus, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. Salvelinus

    Salvelinus Member

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    Maybe someone will be interested in this story.

    We all have seen those huge, uncatchable bruisers at Rocky Ford that we know have seen hundreds of anglers like us and are therefore way too smart for us. These fish scare the bejeesus out of those little 20 inch puners every time they switch feeding lanes. We know we can't catch them but we try anyway. There is always a chance, so I've been told. Well, last week, after retreating from the abysmal fishing at Grimes Lake, creekassualt and I arrived at Rocky Ford, eager to make the 180 mile drive seem worth while. I have a love-hate relationship with Rocky Ford. I talk trash about it when it's not around, but when I'm there looking at those bruisers, I don't complain.

    For the first time in my life, the first fish I saw took my fly, a little bitty baetis nymph, confidently on the first drift. For the 3017th time, I set the tiny hook too early and pulled the fly out of its mouth. That happened several more times before I saw him. Easily the largest rainbow I had ever seen at Rocky Ford, or anywhere else for that matter. Unlike a lot of the larger trout there, this one behaved as if it were actually in a real stream. This implies two things: A: the fish didn't look like it had just jumped off of a combo plate at Skippers, seemingly begging any angler kind enough to put it out of its misery, and B: It didn't sit there in plain sight flipping everyone the proverbial middle finger as only a trout that has been caught over three times and has seen more fishermen than all of the fly shop owners in Montana can. No, this fish behaved like a big fish, which means it was where no one could get to it, much less see it. It was right under the lower bridge, about two feet from shore, behind a patch of floating weeds. And it was BIG. And it was feeding, casually. The fish was smart, but his carefully thought out position was actually only an easy dap and downstream reach away from me. The current licked nicely along the weed bed, right into his lane. It really was not difficult, but, conveniently, it looked it. So I dapped once or twice, then made a nice little drift into his lane, whereupon the behemoth moved confidently and let the fly drift into that gaping canyon of a mouth. For the 3021st time, I pulled the hook out of its jaws. Crap. That might be my last shot at this wise guy. Dang, you have to wait forever to set the hook with a size 18 nymph hook. However, twenty minutes later, after resting the fish, I repeated the embarassment with a scud. An hour later, I returned with the original nymph. At the end of a good drift, the fish rose swiftly, powerfully, for.....my indicator. He sucked that thing in as if it were a 5 ounce cluster of salmon eggs. Crap. Now what did I do? I honestly did NOT want to snag a fish this big, especially on 6X. But my fly might have been floating right near the indicator. Did it mean to take the nymph? Would he get snagged anyway if he swallowed the indicator? Well, I didn't really have time to consider these possibilities with much care. I set the hook and made the best snag of my life (I have had zero intentional practice, by the way). The little nymph pulled right into his mouth, finally, and the fight was on. The fish was obviously surprised. He ran downstream, shook his head, and charged to the other side of the bridge. Every other fish in the vicinity spooked. Big Earl was pissed and they didn't want to be collateral damage. About my 6x, I was more than a little worried. This fish was an easy 27 inches. Let's call it 30 to make it interesting. The guy downstream stopped fishing, maybe to watch, maybe because my fish had scared the crap out of the little chompers he was fishing for. After several minutes, I yelled to creekassualt, "Get the camera, I want some good photos of this...." Twang. The fly popped back at me, I yelped in horror and the creek returned to its usual lazy state. I suppose the fish went back to hs lair. Maybe he moved; I didn't want to see him. I fell backward and covered my head with my hat for several minutes. Never mention photos before the fish is in the hand. Use sign language, grunt, whatever, just never count your chickens before they hatch. My only consolation was that the fish had technically been snagged. It was a damn good snag though, if I do say so myself.
     
  2. Chris Allen

    Chris Allen Member

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    Great story. Sorry about the loss though. Now you have even more reason to either love, or curse Rocky Ford.
     
  3. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

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    Damn that sucks and i feel you on the camera thing. i have had a lot of fish on and it doesn't seem to matter how long i have been fighting it, when ever i tell someone to grab the camera or video camera, off goes the fish more times then not, it sucks.
     
  4. Jeffro

    Jeffro Member

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    Great story!

    Reminds me of my grandpa teaching me to say "fish on," rather than, "I got one." He taught me early that you don't have one until it's actually in your hand. Man, I lost a lot of fish before I learned to say "fish on."
     
  5. fish-on

    fish-on Waters haunt me....

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    Wheeeww!!! What a story. I was cringing the whole time. This too has happened to me quite a few times and your tale definitely rubbed old healed wounds raw once again.

    Thanks for sharing brother man. I feel your pain and I applaud your resiliency because I know you will be at it again.....


    John
     
  6. Randy Hardy

    Randy Hardy Member

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    What a great and sad story!! The accidental take (snag) and then a decent hook set and then..... :beathead: A least you didn't snag him in the dorsal fin or somewhere outside of his mouth. Maybe next time huh?? :thumb:

    Randy
     
  7. Jason

    Jason Trout Bum

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    Even though no fish was taken to hand was still the best report I have read on here. Great!
     
  8. OPfisher

    OPfisher I

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    Its the ones that get away you remember. Great story!
     
  9. Wayne Kohan

    Wayne Kohan fish-ician

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    I feel your pain. Great report.

    Wayne bawling:
     
  10. Hoglipstick

    Hoglipstick tailing looped

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    That Bas*#rd!!! Don't let it get you down, man. Some fish are just that way. Hey, by the way - I'm sending you a fresh killed chicken and a good Santa Ria chant to rid your rod of that nasty Ju-Ju... At least I think it's a flyrod ritual, I don't read the language. O.K. Maybe just stick with the chicken blood thing. I mean you wouldn't want to say the chant and end up a professional walleye angler (If you are reading this and you ARE a professional walleye angler- don't jump. It was just a joke).

    You'll get him next time, only it'll be when the local T.V. Channel is doing a story on Rocky Ford, promise! :thumb:
     
  11. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

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    Good read!

    Bob, the I know that fish. I've hooked him about 3,461 times. Yes, his name is Big Earl. :cool:
     
  12. Jim Kerr

    Jim Kerr Active Member

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    You need to establish a code word for "camera".. Somthing that you won't forget like" peanut butter" or "Rasputin".
    Jim
     
  13. Mingo

    Mingo the Menehune stole my beer

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    Sorry you lost the big buy, but man you are a great storyteller! Your other story about your first steelhead was awesome too......you'll catch that big fat Rocky Ford pig the next time you go over there. I've been blanked there a lot, caught a few......but I've never hooked anything like the monster you tangled with.