Yeah...You know what I'm talking about. The One! Or Many! The fish that makes you lose sleep at night! The fish that haunts you!
I can't remember a year go by that I didn't suffer defeat from a piscatorial kind. I can recall three within this very year and the most recent was just last week. I don't know what's worst, not knowing what the loss really was or trying to figure out how it could have been prevented. Regardless the experience is haunting me.
This years first account came early in the winter swinging flies in an icy cold stream. To add insult to this injury the location of the loss has defeated me in the past as well. It's a high percentage micro seam that when you get your fly to swing just right, hold on! On this day the take was so solid it felt like I snagged into the rocky bottom. Holding steady pressure something started to give and in the next second the explosion of a solid rainbow came leaping into the air and out came my fly. Only a glimpse still burns in my memory.
Over and over, what could I have done different!? I don't want to talk about it.
Another frame etched in memory occurred just a couple months ago on a warm water reservoir. I was enjoying a day of fly rod fishing for bass with great success I might add. Dropping a streamer into the depths of a boulder field I detected a tell tale tick. Upon hook-set, I knew right away I hooked into a good fish but it wasn't until I saw his bronze tiger striped flank that he was well above average. I held tight to him but he dove for the depths and somehow in that rocky underworld he managed to escape.
Like Houdini...How did he do it!? I checked my tippet and fly was still intact. Although I was happy he didn't get free only to deal with a hook in his mouth but at the same time mad knowing my system did not fail. Must of been me! But what could I have done different?
This most recent event was even witnessed. The setting, a pristine trout stream nowhere in Wyoming. Fishing a hopper and having a great day. Casting was good, fish where happy and looking up. A seam with a bubble line appeared up ahead and I stretched a cast to ride a downstream drift. Shortly into the drift the big brown appeared, as my guide put it, like the scene straight out of the movie Jaws. Almost in shock, I still remembered to set the hook but it was not meant to be. We briefly connected but it wasn't this brown's first rodeo. Back-stepping while stripping, I could never keep a tight line on him as he shot downstream and escaped my hook. What could I have done different!?
Is it skill or lack of. Is it luck. Is it fate. Although I never want to see a failed piece of the puzzle it's almost easier to accept knowing that there is something to blame. In all three of my accounts there was not an equipment failure.
Although scared for my next failure I must let passion drive me forward and not fear whatever the outcome is to be. Try and try again and success should be assured. Or will it! This is what haunts me!
The Tormented Angler