Chartruese / White Not Always
Most of us that fish stripers a lot know the usual color choice to start with is most often chartreuse over white. But not always the only choice. Think back when you were a kid and fishing with dad. Throwing or trolling a big red and white plug was standard practice back then. And it's still a good color combination.
This morning Jim and I got an early start and headed up the Yuba. The water is almost crystal clear and the bottom can still be seen at 6' -8' or more. We start like usual with our favorite chartreuse flies but things are slow. Not the normal quick grabs like we often get. Vary the speed of the strip, faster, slower, let it sink deeper? I finally get my first grab and small schoolie comes to the boat. Great fun on a 7 wt. But not the fast action we want. Could the water be too clear? Maybe a more natural looking color would work better? We move back into the Feather and continue our search.
Upstream last week we found some fish in a side slough that were keying in on chasing minnows and we did real good. Let's hit that again? Not today. We switch flies, different colors, still nothing and we keep moving hitting every likely spot we've fished in the past.
The river is loaded with trees and snaggs everywhere. A real obstacle course trying to weasel through without getting a hole through the hull. Several more stops and we're almost at our limits. The water is faster here and also very clear. Jim decides to switch flies and kiddingly says he's going to put on a red & white. I keep my same chartruese 1/0 on pick up two more dinks.
Jim now hooks up and he's bent over with a better fish. "Red & White!" we shout. It's hard to control the boat AND play a fish at the same time in this fast water but a nice keeper comes aboard. We move around trying different spots out of the main currant and Jim hooks up again. Another nice size fish, and same red & white fly. Now I'm rummaging around looking in my bag for red & white but nothing I have is small enough to throw well on a 7 wt.
Still using my same chartreuse / white fly I make a long cast into some back-water and get an instant grab. Set, set, and this one feels better. But it's coming straight toward the boat and I can't get a good pull to feel how good it is. I strip as fast as I can and she goes deep almost under the boat then turns straight away. I can't stop her or even slow her down, and the line burns both my stripping fingers before I have to let go. I'm standing on all my stripped line and a loop jumps up and wraps around my thigh. Yeeow! that hurts, but I can't get it loose to get her back on the rod. Seconds later my thigh is burned and the line pops before I can get untangled. #%@* damn and a lot more.
This felt like one of the biggest stripers I've ever hooked. It felt more like a tuna down in Baja. I couldn't do a thing to control this fish, I couldn't slow her down, I couldn't turn her, nothing.
We're both laughing, and I'm shaking from the adrenaline rush. and have to sit down.
How big was she ? I don't know. Neither of us got a glimpse of her.
Jim keeps fishing and hooks up again to another nice fish. Again on his red & white fly. I'm still sitting and shaking asking myself " How BIG was she ?"
Feather River Fly
Yuba City, CA.