So I’ve caught a lot if fish…damn nese every freshwater species you can around here and a handful of salt water too. From Alaska to Oregon, to Montana, through to Colorado, and back up through Utah and Idaho. Even parts of Canada. From bull trout, rainbow, cutty, brown, steelhead, to coho, sockeye, rockfish, hell its easier to list the ones I haven’t caught. Like sturgeon, it a grayling, or golden trout.
But no matter where, what species, or which fly…there is always..That Fish.
These days I typically go for that one fish. On my days off I will fish and prospect, try new flies and search out and read new water to prep for clients. But as an angler…I am always on the hunt for…That Fish.
Every angler has one. It changes from day to day, outing to outing, season to season, sometimes it’s a certain spot that always holds a large fish. A place that an angler seeks redemption from a precious ass handling encounter. Or sometimes it’s a certain cast, or drift, presentation that perplexes the angler. It may not produce the biggest fish, but it’s not always about that. Sometimes it’s about testing an angkers skill and seeing if you can level up a bit.
Other times…and in most cases for me…its a fish I see during the day. Since I fish almost every day whether guiding or personally, I can’t get stuck on one spot or one fish…I’d never move as I find and see fish that strike my fancy constantly. As a guide I also get the added awesomeness of sometimes having That Fish be a clients and that’s a special thing itself.
But I typically find The Fish while riverside. I’m a very visual person and I enjoy observing the river. You learn so much by just watching, listening…intaking and processing. You start to see me more. These days not much gets by me riverside. And when I see That Fish…I tend to tunnel vision in on it. No matter the method of tricking with a fly. Mostly a dry. But at times I have been known to target nymph and streamer eaters for That Fish.
Most times it’s not the biggest fish for me…but it tends to be the most difficult to present a fly too. Could be a very technical cast, a specific drift or mend required, or something along those lines. Usually it involves a hard play after the eat…upping the difficulty with having to contest with a trout where it has more advantage. It’s a game that I like to play a lot and it’s one that I find myself on advanced levels. It’s not that other fish don’t interest me…but I like a challenge both personally and professionally. Let me tell you; the success of putting a client on That Fish is usually an intense and incredibly amazing experience both for the client and the guide. The kind of fish and moments that just light people up.
These days I have this drive to seek out more of these fish that challenge me. Watching them, learning from them, it’s what I chase these days…what else can I unlock from That Fish? What secrets does it hold? What more does the tiger have to tell and teach? It’s my lifes pursuit. It is my passion. Because every time I find another one of these fish…I learn so much more, become that much more connected, feel that something we all seek all the more…there is more to learn, to seek out, to protect, preserve, and share.
Ya…that is what…That Fish is for me these days….what is yours?
Go seek it out riverside anglers.