On the Fly: They can’t hide | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: They can’t hide

John Keck Jr.

I know he’s there. I can’t see him, but I know he’s there. I know he’s hungry, too.

This time of year they all know pickins will be slim soon; gotta fatten up and get their fill before the cold weather brings on the meager portions. This is when they all get a little sloppy, even the big ones. It’s just a matter of time before his position is compromised.

I know he’s there. It’s where I’d be – just off to the side of the faster water, right in front of that submerged box of a rock that’s cutting away at the current, snatching up the unsuspecting morsels swimming by.

All I need is the right drift and a little split shot. I roll my line out up in front of where he’d be … just about 10 feet. This way my bug will have enough time to get down to him and dip right in front of his nose. I watch closely the green putty I pinched on my line earlier. All at once, it makes an abrupt stop and I lift the tip of my rod with a gentle firmness. Success! The end of my line pulls back and shifts position to the middle of the river. I knew he was there.

After a worthy struggle my rod tip guides the rainbow into my shallow net. I can barely get a grip on this girthy stream-dweller, but when I do he cooperatively opens his mouth to reveal my partner in crime: a size 16 pheasant tail pinned to center of his tongue. The barbless hook slips right out, I dip my net in the water and the defeated swims away.

I take a deep breath and pull out my Nalgene from the back pouch of my vest. One cold swig later, I screw back on the top and take a look around. Just up ahead I see the perfect little riffle and immediately, I know he’s there.

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