November 16th, 1997

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Flying Fish!

Editors Note: This story was first published in the July 1997 edition of "Random Casts" the newsletter of the Fourth Corner Fly Fishers (4CFF) in Bellingham, Washington. The author shall remain anonymous, but the fun and comradeship of the club outing is evident in this true story. The story was then reprinted in the October 1997 issue of "Covering the Drift" FFF Washington State Council newsletter.)

It was my last evening of fishing at the Gustafsen Lake outing for the 4CFF in B.C. Just having hooked and lost three Kamloops trout in close succession, I was facing a bittersweet ending to the outing.

As daylight waned, I examined the moderately battered Tom Thumb at the end of my tippet and decided it still had a little useful life left. Casting out behind my pram, I began a slow row across the lake towards the lights of the camp.

Last year it was either Tom, Dennis or Mike who told me of their success in making this fly mimic the swimming action of the abundant traveling sedges across the surface of water.

After rowing less than 50 yards, my piscatorial thoughts were rudely interrupted. The bamboo rod that Lyle Hand had so carefully crafted for me was lunging for the stern of the pram with attached reel whining in protest.

As I grabbed the rod and lifted it upwards, a nice Kamloops trout went airborne about 40 feet behind my boat. I had 70 to 80 feet of line out and began a rapid retrieve of the slack portion of my floating line just as the fish made a major second jump to the right and closer to the boat. I was still stripping in line when a third jump even closer in occurred.

The next thing I remember happening was seeing "Mr.Kamloops" airborne at about eye level for the fourth jump, but heading right at me! With a thud, he bounced off my chest and landed in my lap. My brain shifted into neutral but by some involuntary reflex I opened my legs and deposited the aquatic kamikaze onto the floor of the boat.

Being adequately surprised, (okay maybe we should call it shocked) all I could think of was to take a quick picture. BIG MISTAKE! Before the frame had been exposed, my foe had completely tangled my fly line and leader into a less than artistic bird's nest.

In the fading light, I recall feeling for the leader and fly and finding it blessedly absent from his mouth. After a quick comparison measurement using my landing net as a reference, I placed this miniature missile back into the water where upon he beat a hasty retreat to the lake bottom.

The family in the neighboring boat cruised over and asked me if their eyes had been playing tricks on them in the dim light. I answered, "Unfortunately no." Their eyes had not deceived them. They chuckled loudly and roared off in the dark toward their camp.

With a flashlight, I began sorting out my line. I followed it around the back of the boat, finally feeling the leader and tippet. Tracing it to its end, I located the fly ... firmly hooked into the crotch of my pants! Of course this is where the fish had deposited it. I rowed and laughed myself all the way back to camp.

My fishing compadres onshore finally knew what they had suspected for quite awhile. I had gone off the deep end.

Reflections and afterthoughts:

Would anyone have believed me if there hadn't been a witness? I think we can all answer with a resounding No!, considering the dubious credibility of fisher types.

Why was I deprived of the glory (or satisfaction sounds better), of a legal landing by this "Evil Knievel" of trout? This fish turned out to be over 23 inches, the length of the net, and was by far the best Kamloops I've ever caught at Gus, weighting more than four pounds plus.

Could this be a nefarious plot by Gustafsen Lake fish in which Mr. Kamloops was actually a hired "hit fish" paid to rub out a member of the 4CFF? Or at least smear his reputation so he would be cast as the Rodney Dangerfield of the fly fishing community?

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