Loose, man, loose.
December 30, 2008 (probably)
Still dark, had a late night so a little cranky. Drive North to find today’s client waiting in the dark. Ready. Good sign.
SS flat, tailing singles. First cast at first fish and BANG, fish on.
“Easy, now. Let ‘im go.”
“I let him go.”
(With mounting trepidation) check drag and it’s a brick wall. Nothings coming off of dat reel.
“Um… loosin’ ya drag.”
Check again: “More.”
“Ya. Really. Da’ drag need’ be loose, man, I tellin’ ya. Loose.”
We miss a few more before the tides done there and head to the windward. Next couple stops have nothing, so we end at the End, walking the beach and seeing nothing. Finally I spot a small school heading away from us. Reel in. Walk beach. Get ahead and strip out line, ready again. Here they come.
“Ok. Cast now… a little left. Good. Let ‘er go. Strip, strip. Got ‘im!”
Fish blasts off and the line jumps back slack. Check drag: tight as ever again.
“Loosin’ ya drag.”
Cast again and miss a couple more: one trouted and one legitimately pulled out. No worries. We’re seeing fish. Keep walking and miss a few more to the usual suspects. Lined fish. Stripping too fast. Etcetera. Then we see a big pair coming down the beach, heading the right direction this time, right for us. Cast, strip, strip, strip. Fish is on the fly, following, going to eat?… never know because with about 4 ft of line out the rod tip dude starts swinging the rod away from the fish.
“No! Why ya swing de rod? Pull de fly away from de fish like dat, man.”
“I was out of fly line.”
“No. Man, I tole’ you: don’ stop strippin’ de fly, les I say so.”
I’d told him stories all day of how we catch fish with the leader in the rod tip, but I suppose that, just like the drag deal, the skepticism factor was too high for such tall tales. Or something. Ok. Still no worries. We’ll find more fish…probably.
Finally we spot another school along the edge. Another perfect setup, but they’re tougher this time. The same strip doesn’t work so we mix it up. The fish go nuts: some blasting off entirely while others charge the fly then bolt.
“Don’t stop strippin’! Strip, man, strip!”
There, a fish blasts up on the fly, sees us, does a complete 360 and grabs the fly with about 2 (no joke, not a word-o’-lie: two) feet of leader out the tip.
“Let ‘im go.”
Finally we’re hooked up and into the backing. And all is well… because we land it.