Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I've been guiding on the Missouri for seven years now and have yet to get skunked until today. Yep, that's right. One of the Cucci clients, who is a dry-fly only guy, struck out...but I didn't so I don't know if that counts.

Here's the deal. Butch, who is a good guy and an ex-guide would rather throw dries and challenge himself more than he would like to catch a bunch of fish. He's like a lot of us. When I fish for myself I rarely throw a nymph rig because I just like the challenge of getting them on dries or the thrill of big fish chasing streamers. Butch also has fibromyalgia, which apparently is a horrible disease that flares up and becomes debilitating on a daily basis so we only really fish until about 2'oclock.

We did see fish up eating tricos this morning but it was sparse. We had a ton of bugs but the trout gods were just not shining on us. Usually we see pods of fish in places that they just weren't there today. There was a N/NE wind, which brings up another discussion Al Cucci and I had in the boat the other day that I will get to but first; another dick-head move.

We were eating lunch at the bottom of the Craig Islands, (I think they're actually called the "Pelican Islands.") There's a riffle that dumps down past one of the islands and out into the main channel. There has to be fish at the bottom of the riffle in the bucket before the main channel so we threw a few different big dries over it with no luck. So we stopped to eat just inside the riffle along the island bank.

I finished my lunch and asked Butch if I could see his rod while he finished to which he said absolutely. I threw a damselfly and an ant over the riffle and into the bucket and nothing. I spent a few minutes hitting every spot I could reach and then decided to change it up to a hopper.

I launched the bug out over the riffle and as it dumped out into the bucket Butch says, "Wow, that guy must be on a mission."

I looked out into the middle of the river and this guy is wading chest deep, holding his rod over his head. He was obviously in a hurry to get down-stream as he was pushing hard and losing his footing every once in a while, which would cause him to bob just underwater for a second and then pop back up. I looked down stream to see a white and yellow hide drifting un-attended about 100 yards in front of him. The dude must have been wading and didn't let enough rope out to anchor on and the boat broke free. It was now drifting along the far bank without its captain.

"No way," I said. "The guy is chasing his..."

Before I could get "boat" out of my mouth this huge rainbow comes up from the bottom of the bucket and absolutely crushes my hopper.

"Holy!" I said as I set the hook.

Now I have a fish on and I'm watching this guy chasing his boat down stream and Butch is in the front of the boat working on his sandwich. Do I brake the fish off, the only fish we've had on all day, to save this guy?

I know. That's pretty selfish and although I did think about it for a second I was in the process of horsing the fish in thinking it would just brake off and thinking about a rescue plan when his boat eddied out and someone on the bank grabbed it for the guy. Realizing it was all under control, I landed the fish and it was all good. It was the only fish we actually landed today...

So the discussion with Al was about weather and how pressure systems can affect fishing. Al says it's just about the bugs and that some weather patterns are more conducive to bug hatches. Although I agree that bugs are important and some bugs are more active or at least more vulnerable when they are active during certain weather, I think there is a physiological affect on fish with low and high pressure systems.

We had a north/northeast wind today, which usually means a cold front and high pressure. Although nymph fishing was ok for some guys, it was tough for others and the dry fly fishing was almost non-existent. We had plenty of bugs on the surface but the bottom line is that the fish just weren't eating them. My theory is that with low pressure, fish are hungrier because there's less pressure on their abdomen. With high pressure, they're not as hungry and can become more selective. I know that sounds simple but it's what I've noticed time and time again.

I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed some of the craziest fishing you'll ever see right before the storm hits. And it's pretty common knowledge by the locals that when the wind comes from the NE, it's going to be tough.

Al thinks it's the high pressure systems that bring the bugs and thus the fish eat. I don't buy that. There are plenty of examples of bugs carpeting the water and fish aren't eating them. You decide and feel free to chime in.

Keep 'em where the live...

No comments:

Post a Comment