In this photo I'm fighting a fish. The best fish I have EVER hooked...by far.
Before this shot was taken I was standing on dry land rolling out short casts to those small branches sticking out of the water to my left, running a skater into the stumps. In a split moment the single most impressive boil I have ever seen happened! It was insane. At least 25lbs of dime bright thickness rolling in the most violent rushing maneuver only a few feet from me. The fish missed the fly. It was like a crocodile trying to bring down a wild beast. "Mia did you see that." She was just to my side watching. "NO." she says...as I give the fly one more twitch before it swings into the stump, it triggers a second charge from the predator! We both watched the mouth open, suck in the fly and do a complete flip with the only part of the fish to not leave the water the head of the king sized brute! Mia says to me, "I sure as hell saw that!" My reel is screaming with joy. I am in total awe.
10 minutes later after multiple cartwheels, ripping runs across the river, and mega head shaking the most fascinating steelhead I have ever encountered decided to go back to the ocean. I had 20 lb test and cranked my drag to full tilt. I cant even pull it off the reel at this setting! I had Joe tune the drags of our reels before we left for maximum impact. It still went! Pretty soon it was around the corner and my line in the logs. No following from this station. The whole run was lined with a huge log pile. When I quit feeling the throbbing, I just cranked in the line until the fly came home. This is the Dean I had heard stories of. This was the moment that defined my experience. This was my high!
This story, as epic as they all were for us, only tell a smidgen of the tale. The people we met, old friends we shared time with, and local characters made the whole gig complete. We have more stories to tell and hope to share them all.
In time, we will.
In time, we will.