This was my first outing with my new switch rod. I owned it for 3 days. It was a beautiful stick. It had a caramel blank and brown thread wraps, the cork handle was just right, and it heaved my small trout streamers to the far side of the moon.
The water was high and had a blueish green hue to it. Perfect weather and water level to chuck some big flies to trout. I told my dad to get to the river at 8:00a, and I showed up at 7:00a to practice my casting so I didn't look like a complete idiot with my new toy. He showed up and walked down to me on the river's edge. I showed off my new pride and joy and impressed him with my sloppy casting.
He was dropping nymphs into soft spots of the current upstream of me, and I was letting a pretty little tube fly swing through the tail end of a pool when I felt a sudden, deliberate jolt.
It was different from anything I had felt that day. It was clearly a fish trying to snatch my little colored-up tube.
Me being new to the whole switch rod scene, I made a quick trout set and there was nothing to show for it. This jolt kickstarted my enthusiasm for my new pride and joy. Maybe swinging streamers isn't as boring as I had previously thought... (Don't kill me for saying that people - I like it now that I've tried it).
My dad was in the process of landing a footlong fish when I called up to him that I got a hit. He smirked and asked what that meant. He wanted to know when I would actually catch a fish. After he released the fish I watched him make another cast. His indicator dipped down yet again.
I cast with fierce determination that this would be the cast of dreams. Beautiful enough for the front cover of a magazine, and the fish I would land would be on the second page. I made my sloppy cast with my terrible line setup and did a big mend so my tube fly would get down where the trout were.
Several casts later and I felt another tug. This one was a more familiar. A rock, maybe a stump, who really cares what it was. Something deep in the pool had taken my fly and was not interested in giving it back.
The water was running a lot higher than normal, for example, the pool I was fishing usually runs 5ish feet deep and now it would have definitely been over my 6' 2" head. I walked upstream a few feet to try and free the fly. No success. I walked a little downstream and tried to free it. No success. I tried feeding slack into the line. Still, nothing.
The problem was, this little tube fly was one-of-a-kind. I had no other one like it in my box. It was the one I just had the fish hit so naturally, it was the only fly that would work that day. At least that's what my mind was telling me.
I began to wade high out into the deep running pool to retrieve my fly. I knew this section well, so I plotted out what should be the more shallow sections of water and began the cautious shuffle across the stream bed. Water started coming closer and closer to the top of my waders, but it never went over. I got right close to my fly and with a little jiggle of the rod tip I was able to loose it from it's captor. The fly continued a short float downstream as I turned around to get back to safety.
My dad had walked downriver to watch the spectacle unfold. I'm sure he was wondering why anyone in their right mind would try to cross a pool like this? As I came closer to the shallow section of the river my confidence grew - I'd conquered the captor - I could not prove my supremacy by catching a fish!
My next step brought a fair bit of humility as I thought I was much closer to the edge of the river than I truly was. I was walking on a large, flat rock. Without cautiously checking to gauge depth, as I did on my walk out, I plunged my foot for the next step, which happened to be about 2 feet deeper than the rock I was on. I crashed face-forward into the water and smacked my knees against a few boulders.
I threw my brand new rod in hopes that it wouldn't break.
I slowly crawled out of the river laughing, as my dad was laughing too. "Is that how your trying to catch fish now?!" he said amidst his chuckles. I was laughing through it all too until I remembered...
I usually keep my DSLR inside my waders. For 2 years I've done this and never had a problem other than the awkward bulkiness. In my fall, my waders filled with a good deal of water.
I scrambled to the banks with water in my waders, hair, and bag, but I was still hoping the camera somehow managed to stay dry.
I went home and dried it out for a while using all sorts of different methods. Rice, silicon, and air I hoped would prove it's savior. The first time I turned it on again a few days later, the camera made it's frustration with me quite clear. As I flicked the switch on it flashed for about 40 seconds near blinding me. I had to stop myself from throwing it at the wall reminding myself this was my fault after all. It had a good life. It saw lot's of fish, pretty scenes and faces, my first child, and it will now rest in peace.
That was the most expensive flop I've ever been a part of.