Click - Click - Boom!
My presentation was anything but subtle. The splash of the heavy streamer hitting the surface sent tsunami size waves in every direction, shattering the tranquil setting of the secluded back eddy. One would think such a disturbance would send every fish in the surrounding area scurrying for cover. I watched intently as the heavy bug descended through the depths and just the opposite took place.
Right on cue a long dark shadow appeared from the adjacent cut bank and quickly honed in on the pulsating fly. The crystal clear water of Utah's famous Green River allowed me to follow the action through the flowing depths.
I dropped my rod tip and began my retrieve; strip, strip, strip - hesitation. The big fish was literally right on the flies tail. It would advance quickly with every foot long strip then swirl in hot pursuit when the hesitation sent the fly into a spiraling descent. After a 30 foot retrieve the fly was ten feet from my rod tip. The 24 inch brown trout was now staring me right in the eye. As our eyes met, he simply dropped five feet, deliberately swirled and with a swish of his huge tail was gone. I sat there dumbfounded. What was going on? What was I doing wrong? This was my 13th rejection of the morning. It seemed I had had a fish follow my fly on every other cast. I changed flies four different times with the thought color might be the issue.
My deadly Outlaw minnow is such a consistent pattern and has been my go to pattern for years but for some reason it was getting huge attention, but no fish. I was perplexed. Then the thought came to my mind - trigger the strike. These fish had been pounded all summer and had seen countless flies, lures and presentations. They were shell shocked. I had to do something different to trigger the strike. I had an amazing summer of smallmouth fishing that brought over 300 smallies to hand at my local hometown lake. I used a technique I learned years ago while fishing the western bass tournament circuit. I incorporated the technique of using brass weights rigged tandem on the line to create noise to trigger the finicky smallies to strike. It is technique I have found works extremely well with a fly rod. I knew it was a long shot, but I figured what the heck, I might as well try. I caught a big swirling back eddy on my Rampage pontoon boat and finned my way back up stream to the head of the run. I feverishly snipped my fly from the leader and slipped two tungsten cones up my leader. I quickly tied the big brown and copper Outlaw onto the end of my 1x tippet and kicked my boat back across the current, set my drift for the same tranquil back eddy and the big 24 inch brown that had just shunned me.
I have always maintained that browns are nothing more than bass with orange spots. Big browns are structure-oriented fish with voracious appetites for big meals. They aggressively pursue their prey with an attitude not unlike that of their close cousins the largemouth and smallmouth bass. With that thought in mind, I swung my Sage largemouth rod into action and slapped the big Outlaw within inches of my previous presentation. Instantly the big brown appeared from under the cut bank and followed with real intent. I watched him follow the fly, two strips then raised my rod tip high above my head and violently began shaking the tip. The action of the rod tip transmitted down the line forcing the tungsten cones to collide with each other.
The clicking noise of the cones simply short circuited the big brown. Without hesitation he swirled and literally attacked the Outlaw minnow with a violent strike. The Sage doubled as I instinctively set the hook. A feeling of shock and elation came over me and the thought came to mind...click, click, boom!