We bush wacked our way downstream into the flat where we could see heads softly nudging and sipping the PMD spinners under the elephant ear. And of course, the fish consistently rising were on the far bank. It was easily a 50 foot cast, which was at the extreme end of my clients powerhouse. The problem would be in achieving the perfect drift in the flat velvety water even if the fly hit it’s target. Immediately my client wanted to deliver a cast. I told him to wait and lets just see what else we are missing. I knew if we made a cast to the fish on the far bank we would most likely spook the entire flat and particularly the fish that might be in between. As we sat there, the fish on the far bank continued in synchronicity, gently sipping and following into rhythm while throughly taunting us. My client was like a quivering labrador retriever and those fish were the tennis ball that was just thrown across the river, he couldn’t focus on anything but the prize on the very far side. I couldn’t blame him, they were getting to me too. I could feel his impatient desire to get it done and at the same point also slowly starting to loath his guide. I wanted those fish on the far side but I wanted to pick several opportunities and turn this flat from a one fish run into a multiple fish run. Several minutes into the silent recon a subtle head showed in the shallows behind a small rock on our side, a small lie that looked too shallow to provide enough protection to hold fish. Thirty more seconds and another rise on our side but from another fish. The fish on our side had slow rhythm and only broke the surface every 3 to 5 minutes but they were there and they were moving around. If we would of waded out for the fish on the far side we would have never seen them. We lengthened our leader by putting on some fresh Rio Tippet, pulled out some extra fly line and devised our plan of attack on the fish closest to us. It would be a one cast shot, high sticked and then the rod dropped followed by an all out feed maximizing our stealthy drift without notifying other fish we hadn’t seen. His first cast fell short and I hastily blurted, leave it! He followed through with our plan even though it didn’t reach its destination and bam! A nice fish slapped his dry fly, fish on. I let out a silent sigh of relief. We kept the rod tip downstream and towards the bank and angled the fish towards us and away from the others. We admired the moment and the freckled rainbow with a small dry fly hanging from the upper mandible. We continued this game and started playing “battleship.” A-1, A-2, A-3 and so on. We were able to get 6 different fish to take our fly with a few refusals. Eventually 30 minutes or more later we were at the fish on the far side. He made one of the best casts of the day and hit the target. But in attempting to make the mend to the far side in order to get the perfect drift he spooked the wily fish. It was an almost impossible shot. We let them rest and changed our attack but they never took our fly that day. Fish your feet, be patient and work slowly into a run. And most important enjoy the hunt and everything it encompasses.
Fish Kennedy Brothers
Northern California Fly Fishing Guides
Trout and Steelhead