Personal Best (a couple of years ago)
It's always about this time I start getting antsy about sitting around the house thinking of the stripers that are soon to arrive. It was the second week of February a couple of years ago that I got my personal best striper ever. Fishing by myself on the Feather I had my boat right up against the bank in some trees making it hard to cast. I had already hooked a couple of small fish and was about ready to quit but thought I'd give it just another cast of two. I made the cast parallel to the bank only two feet away and let it sink deep.
After a slow strip or two I got a soft tap. Not the usual solid grab stripers have but just a soft tap. My first thought was I hooked a tree limb and I didn't want to set hard and lose my fly. I lifted slowly and it was soft. I held pressure of the line and then it happened, 'the head shake we all wait for.
As soon as I felt that head shake I set hard several times. Now I've got to get control of this fish and get her and myself out of these trees. She started heading toward the middle of the river and I followed her closely as I got the boat out of the trees. Not too much pressure now as I didn't want her to panic and turn back into the trees. Now in mid-river all I had to do was keep the pressure on and take my time.
After about twenty minutes of constant pulling I started to gain line as she comes toward the boat. My arms are quivering and I need to get my net. Finally next to the boat I've got to control her with one hand and get the net under her with the other hand. Whew!
She's in the net but I need both hands to lift her and get her into the boat for a couple of quick pictures.
So it's the second week of February already and the smolt ought to be coming down. And I'm wondering if there are any stripers here yet?
Here's a photo of the mount I had made, all 48 lbs. of her.
Feather River Fly
Yuba City, CA.