Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tricks of the Steelhead Jedi's....The Comeback Fly
Finally it was time to saddle up the spey rods and head to steelhead country. Early season steel in Eastern Washington and Idaho is no guarantee but the rewards are fantastic.
Savage takes. Drylines. Skaters. Oh hells yes. All part of the early season out here.
In the journey to become a better fisherman, I try to do my best to shut the hell up and listen to guys and gals who know more, done more and caught more than I ever have. Anyone who knows me and how much I talk knows this is a tall order, but I do what I can.
There's a group of guys in Southwest Washington and Oregon who have opened up the playbook to me. Guys like Brian Chou, Joe Willauer and Steelie Mike....they are my Steelhead Jedi's and when they talk..I listen.
So a couple years ago while out with Steelie Mike on the Deschutes, he brought to my attention the concept of a "comeback fly". Being new to the game, it seemed absolutely ridiculous that a steelhead would come back to a smaller, sparser fly after plucking or hitting in a non committal way to a bigger, more aptly dressed fly. Looking at the flies Mike gave me that day, all I could think was yeah freaking right....but I will put it in the box and remember this lesson for when the time was right.
Well on Monday, the time was right.
Notice the fly in that buck's grill. The fly Steelie Mike gave me 2 years prior.
The first run of the morning and OMR was kind enough to give me the jump. About 45 minutes into that particular stepdown session, my mind began to wander as my swing was came into the bucket of the run. Wham...the fish grabbed hold and just as fast, let go. My eyes slammed into focus on the spot where the fish took to see the massive boil that let me know that it wasnt a little smolt, but a full fledged ocean run rainbow.
The conversation I had with Mike 2 years prior jumped into my brain and then I directly went into my fly box, grabbed that comeback fly and stepped back up 2 steps to re offer to that fish.
Why a fish would take this fly is beyond me. Maybe it's the latent feeding response to when they ate caddis as a smolt, but this Spade fly was as sparse as it could get. A couple wraps of mylar and about 10 total strands of elk hair. That's it, thats all.
Paying close attention to my fly as it cut through the water on my dryline.....the fish came back and nailed the shit out of that fly.
For a hatchery fish, the fight was great and typical of a buck. Long dogged runs and one last offering as it's belly hit the rocks.
With regulations mandating it's release, we took a few pictures and sent him on his way.
So thanks Mike, glad I listened.