After two and a half weeks in Montana I am back in Austin and it’s safe to say I am having withdrawal. I fished 15 out of 16 days and am suffering from social whirling disease, off-balance and completely unable to participate in conversations that involve topics other than trout. When I close my eyes I see a rise near a moss bed on the bank. I’m a fish out of water as I can’t seem to catch my breath in this oppressive 104-degree Texas heat. My back hurts, I need a pedicure, and while I see dresses hanging in my closet, I can’t remember where I am suppose to wear them. In the shower my equilibrium is totally off as I am clearly suffering from The Drifties — a lingering and dizzy sensation that I am still swaying on the water in an anchored drift boat.
The Professor and I dragged his Hyde all around Montana — and parts of Idaho — seeking trout and the bugs they might be eating. I’ll be honest, it was hard fishing this year. Grinding over patterns, looking for rises, often resorting to nymphs. On the water until dark, eating dinner after eleven pm (at the earliest), red wine until one am, then up the next morning to hit the road and find new water, all the while with the Hyde rolling right along behind us.
I miss it desperately.
Big Hole, Small Fish
We had several days on the Big Hole and while we caught a number of fish and had a ball with The Professor’s brother, we couldn’t really find any big Big Hole trout.
There Is No Crying in Fly Fishing
I have returned battered and scarred from the most ridiculous injuries on this trip. I sliced the tip of my finger opening black-eyed pea salsa and it took days to close up. Then I was a backseat victim of a windy backcast and got hooked deep in my ear. Super Nephew Super D had to perform boat surgery with hemostats to remove this impromptu extra piercing.
And worst of all? After a tough day of windy fishing on the Madison I was urgently wenching up the boat in an effort to escape swarms of mosquitos, and I inadvertently cranked the tip of the Hyde straight into my own skull. Ouuuuuccch!!!! I mean it really really hurt. Like a little kid, there was a delayed reaction. I was stunned for a few seconds and then…started crying like a baby. Ow-eee. When was the last time you cried on a boat ramp? The Professor was very patient at the time and we have laughed about it since, but I don’t think he knows I still have a sore bruise on my skull.
Luckily, just before my Hyde-to-the-Head incident, I caught this fish which numbed the pain for quite awhile.
Should We Just Get Take Out?
We did a late float on the Lower Henry’s Fork and despite decent hatches and a few rising fish, we didn’t produce much. At the very end with the take out in view, we anchored on a pod and moved a few on dries. I missed a great eat, and I think the Professor hooked up here. To tell you the truth I can’t remember…I am already starting to forget! (Perhaps a result of the drift boat head injury?)
The next day, we did another late evening float, this time on the Madison. Big bugs were out and about, but a lightening storm came out of nowhere and ate up most of our fishing time. Luckily Jack Attack saved the day with a Hail Mary Hook Up about six feet from the take out.
Leave It To Beaverhead
Our first day on The Beaverhead, The Professor’s brother pulled out this gorgeous chunky rainbow.
It was just the momentum we needed as The Beaverhead started to offer up some much needed dry fly action.
Especially on our next Beaverhead float. Rising fish on the banks pretty much start to finish.
But for some reason I went on a vicious streak of missing fish. The wind was taking hold of my cast, the wheels were coming off. I was ready to quit fishing all together, but The Professor and Jack Attack urged me to stick it out. Not the biggest fish in the river, but a very important game-changer for me.
It was a great stretch around Idaho and Southwest Montana. Day after day on the road pulling a boat, looking for fish, and loving life. Not a care in the world and nothing to Hyde.
More fishing stories to follow….