Author’s Note: This post first appeared on Upland Equations on June 13, 2013.
Every so often, a fisherman catches a fish worthy of a nickname. I caught a whopper last night whose name came to me instantly. No offense to anyone named “Bob” (including some of my friends), but I caught a fish last night that I immediately nicknamed, “Bob” or “Bob, the Slob” to be more precise. You see, Bob has what people call “a little bit of a weight problem.” This large rainbow has a gut like Tommy Boy. And with a fish, that’s not a bad thing!
|Bob, the Slob has a “little bit of a weight problem.”|
I have a secret fishing spot not far from home I dubbed, “The Mini-Madison” because it reminds me of fishing the Madison River in Montana, except instead of being a 50-mile riffle like its namesake, it is only a 50 yard riffle; hence, the nickname. Over the years, I have caught numerous bruiser browns, colorful cutthroat and rotund rainbows in the pockets and runs of this secluded stretch. I wrote about this special fishing spot in my book, Heaven on Earth: Stories of Fly Fishing, Fun & Faith.
After nine years of fishing there, I love this secret fishing hole!
However, this year the fishing has been super slow at the Mini-Madison. I have fished it about ten times and moved a few browns only to have them refuse my streamers. A few weeks ago I hooked a fat rainbow, but watched it flip free right by the bank. Last Friday morning, I hooked and landed another decent rainbow, but this was the only fish brought to hand so far this year. With the lack of success, it seemed that my luck had run out at the Mini-Madison. But after a rainy day, I saw a break in the clouds last night and decided to give it another try. I am so glad I did!
Upon arrival, I fished an Olive Circus Peanut through all of the regular lies where I have stuck nice fish with no takes. In years past, the browns of the Mini-Madison could not resist the Circus Peanut, but now they are totally on to it. So I switched to Kelly Galloup’s Crawl Daddy, an articulated streamer with a deer hair head, yellow dumbbell eyes, and rabbit strip claws, tied to look surprisingly like a crawfish, with some of the flair of a Circus Peanut or Galloup’s famous S. Dungeon. I picked this fly up last summer in Galloup’s Slide Inn along the Madison because it looks like a killer.
|A chubby rainbow caught on one of Galloup’s Crawl Daddy’s, which is an articulated streamer tied to imitate of crawfish.|
Below this small willow-covered island, I casted this streamer and jerk-stripped it through some holding water with nary a bump. So I scooted down river and cast to a deeper spot where two currents came together. With no followers from the jerk-strip, I just pitched the Crawl Daddy into the heavier current and let it swing below me. This was the ticket.
Almost at the end of the swing, I felt the strong, unmistakable jolt of a munching trout and I instinctively jerked back to drive the point home. At the hook’s bite, the acrobatic, beefy rainbow flipped out of the water and then peeled more line off my reel than any other fish has in a long time. At such moments a fisherman’s eyes bug out of their head and they wonder just how big the fish is at the end of their line. I giggled nervously.
As a side note, it took me a long time to learn that streamer fishing for big trout is not a tip-toe-through-the-tulips affair. I used to think I could get by streamer fishing with 4X Tippet (i.e. 6lb test), but I can’t count how many monster fish I lost when the tippet failed.
One day I lamented to Kelly Galloup at the Slide Inn about this very thing and he asked me, “What size tippet are you using?”
I replied, “4X Flourocarbon” (as if that would make a difference).
Kelly immediately fired back, “If you want to consistently catch big fish on streamers, you need to use 1X, or even 0X, or you will keep having problems. Big aggressive fish are not focused on the tippet, but only on the fly.”
So with that piece of sage advice, I switched to 0X (12lb test) for streamer fishing a few years back and can attest that it has made all the difference.
After a few jumps and scorching runs by this super-charged rainbow, I tightened the drag and then put the stick to this hawg. The fish’s strength and weight was no match for the 6 weight Sage rod and the 0X Tippet. When it tired, I drug the fatty up on the grassy bank. Indeed, this is the biggest rainbow I have ever caught at the Mini-Madison.
With a big smile on my face, I exclaimed, “What a SLOB!!! . . . Bob, the Slob.” I snapped a few photos then released him into the river’s current.
|This stuff never gets old. Thanks Bob!|
And Bob lives to play another day. I sure hope to hook up with Bob again. It would be my pleasure!
If you like this post, check out my book, Heaven on Earth: Stories of Fly Fishing, Fun & Faith. You’ll love it!
Also, I would love to hear some stories about the fish you have nicknamed. Leave a comment!
KEEP FISHIN’ WITH FAITH!