Monday, December 8, 2008

Yellowstone Cutthroat – Tales of the Black Spot

Four guys, one boat, one dog and three days of fishing...........

It was good to get back on the road again. It's been four long days of work since the last time I was on the water. The thought of willing Cutthroats taking dry flies helped me get through it, and now the sound of the pavement soothes my impatient core. I am excited for this week's trip. Don't get me wrong, I love my home stomping grounds but I'll jump at any chance to explore new terrain.

Leaving the eye level playing field and dropping down into the gut of a once buried treasure I was stunned. This hidden river flows through a catastrophic man made disaster, it's where one of the nations worst engineering disasters took place, a dam collapsed and a river runs through it. Grizz talked of Black spot Cutthroats that swim here and the odd speckled bumps that cover these fish. He explained it was a unique parasite that looks like black pepper, feels like it too. He also spoke of the scenery.

Making our way down a rocky road with a life threatening drop on the one side we got a gimps of what lies ahead. Grizz was right. The scenery is spectacular! The river is down deep in a canyon, enclosed with towering reddish-brown walls, lined with lush green grass and fall colored brush. Driving by you would never think there is a river nearby, or water for that matter. It's hidden from everyday sight…but its right under your nose.

At our riverside camp you notice the grass is over-your-head-tall and there is little sign of human activity….its paradise and it's our playground for the next few days.

It's hard for me to descried in words the way I feel inside when I string my rod. My veins are filled with a power and a grace that is irrefutable. I feel every drop of adrenalin move throughout my body. The sounds of nature is concert loud, the echo of music is influential. It is here when I emerge from the darkness of my own mind and crawl into the light of nature. Reborn to the life I live, in a place where I belong. I first felt this over twenty-five year's ago. Oddly, the feeling hasn't diluted over the years but gained in potency. It has been the driving force of my world adventures, my obsolete bank account and the lack of everyday amenities that most folks take for granted.

The river was alive and greeted us as such. The first few casts produced mind boggling aggressive hits. I lost my first fish, not sure what happened. The oversized foam fly was minding its own business when out of nowhere a large surface explosion threw water every which way. I felt my line go tight and before I could react to the surprise, the fish was off. What the hell was that? Laughter broke out and excitement gripped us tight. Today is going to be a good day.

Ralphy and I took the right hand braid, MFW was on the left and Grizz took the boat out to targeting the pool sized pond in the middle of the river. Ralphy noticed fish sipping mayflies off the surface, he quickly changed flies and in no time he was tight. About the same time MFRW was releasing a fish and was into another a few casts later. Things were looking good.

As we explored the river it was hard not to notice the walls rising high above us. Shaping and forming the meandering water while keeping things tucked neatly away from the public eye. I grabbed my camera and decided to climb up for a better shot. Half way up on a small perch that overhangs the water I sat with my camera in hand and observed the world around me. The feeling was surreal, my thoughts were loud and nature was silent. What a view.

I watched Raplhy fish from high above. I have never really watched anyone fish from this point of view before. It gave me another outlook to the art of fishing and I couldn't help but to take notes. The cast was elegant; each forward stroke oozed smooth subtle power. He is fishing with precisions accuracy and his style just flows. I find myself learning about the cast. I relate back and forth the similarities in snowboarding and doing things smooth with delicate power is key. Having style counts for more than high end mechanics or hacking together a 90foot cast. Mastering basic fundamentals in order to excel is nothing short of the truth. Yet, it is one of the hardest things to make your self do – practicing the essentials. Watching Ralphy you know that he practices, trains and exploits the use of understanding the basics principals in order to have style. After all, everyone is so good nowadays, it comes down to one thing…style, and Ralphy absolutely has it.

My mind was not on the fish, but my camera . More and more I find myself behind the lens. After shooting Ralphy directly underneath me, I wanted to get a different viewpoint on things. That's when I looked behind me to see a picture perfect shot. In the distance MFRW was making his was up river directly into the frame. I fumbled through every setting imaginable to try and get the shot just perfect. Although the actual picture is way out of my league, I tried my best to get a clean crisp image. MFRW was moving into position and the sun just moved into the top left corner, perfect… I snapped a few off… few as in 2 gigs. Switched through all my lenses, all 2 of them, and I still found myself wishing I had better equipment. But in the end I am happy with it, could be better of course, but not too bad for a rookie like me.

I learned a ton shooting this picture, like there is more to pictures than just pushing a button. I am just trying to understand the basics at this point and everyday is a learning experience and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Making our way back to camp we lit a fire cooked some steaks and talked fish, life and politics…just kidding, no politics. We agreed to head deep into the canyon in the morning, who knows what we might find.


Hoss said...

Man, your posts are awesome. I love the pictures. Thanks for letting me lose myself for a few minutes dreaming of my next fish.

mike doughty said...

once again you leave me wanting to be you. top notch once again bryan

Cutthroat Stalker (Scott) said...

Keep snapping those photos Bryan - looking good!

BG said...

HA!thanks you guys!

dogcatcher said...