My morning of unproductive nymphing was cut short when I walked to a spot that is a somewhat reliable place to find rising fish this time of year. And they were there, rising as I'd hoped. Better yet, I could clearly see a very large rainbow feeding from the surface every minute or so. I tried to get a sense of its rhythm and then watched it swim right up to the elkhair caddis I drifted through its lane. It took a good look and rolled away in refusal. I tied on a small blue wing olive and tried again. I made the same cast and held my breath as the fly got closer and closer. Sure enough, it took another look, but this time it casually inhaled it and I felt its bulk as I quickly lifted my line. Right away it made a lightning quick run across the stream and the slack line flew through my fingers. It was now on the reel, which was a relief. It took another run downstream a bit, taking drag, and when it stopped I put a little pressure on it to coax it upstream. I felt it shake its head violently. And that's when it got off. That's also when the swearing started. Sure, it happens and I don't know what I could have done differently that would have landed this fish. But this would have easily been a personal best on a dry fly, so it stung. And I have lost so many big fish this year that it's getting to be a pattern. I'll try not to whine about it any more, I won't even get into last week's EB Delaware heartbreaker, but it's becoming a theme that I'm not too thrilled with. They're not breaking off, so the only remedy I can think of is getting a hook sharpener. And maybe working on a firmer hook set. Otherwise, I think I need some good luck.
So that happened. I was so rattled that as I pulled out my box to get a fresh fly I somehow spilled the entire contents into the stream. I quickly grabbed most of the dries, but about two dozen nymphs sank and drifted into the depths. Ouch. I had a feeling keeping them loose in a box was a bad idea and this confirmed it. I guess it could have been worse- that big rainbow might have appeared and gobbled up the stray dries that were making their way downstream. Ok, that's a stretch, but it felt like the kind of day where that kind of thing could actually happen. It wasn't a total wash- small consolation, but I did get a decent stockie brown shortly afterwards. And I got reacquainted with my home stream. More importantly, I also saw a real slab of a brown there behind a rock that I plan to return for. And I sure as hell hope to land it.