The day started with some casting work as the other boats pushed downstream. Hank was fighting a strong headwind, but casting well. It wasn't long before the the cast turned to the mend, the mend turned presentation and the presentation turned into to a fish in the net. Then not long after that one fish turned into two and then we had a few nice rainbows added to a few brown trout. Hank was getting back to the basics of fly fishing and we were doing well early in the float. Then we went for a dry spell. Other boats were reporting similar results which made us all feel better. This has happened before and sometimes changing every fly in the box doesn't even help. Then we caught another fish or two and the mojo came back. The mojo brought along with it, a nice tailwater brook trout. This was the first brookie in a couple years or maybe even longer. Then Hank hooked a real big fish and after a short fight the fish broke off. So right there the decision was made, we went headhunting.
After losing that first nice fish we gathered ourselves up and started down the river. All the other boats were now ahead of us and we were picking the best water to match Hank's best presentation. Then a big fish came up and inspected an ant, the fish stopped short then ate. Hank saw it all unfold and he came tight to the fish. The fish immediately started across the river. Hank was doing a nice job on this one, then it jumped and the fly came to the boat... without the fish. The big fish score was- fish 2 and the good guys 0. Soon that would all change.
We were now beginning to race daylight just a little. The shadows were getting long and the temperature was starting to fall. With a long way to go we were looking for water moving at just the right speed. Hank found some of that water. This time the fish came to the sinking ant, gave it "the once over" and opened it's mouth then inhaled that it. The Orvis H2 bent double right away. Hank sure did have his hands full with this one. The fish was doing its best to get back to the bottom. All the coaching throughout the day, all the stuff we worked on with the other fish and all Hank's previous experience was being tested on this fish. The fish fought all the way to the boat three different times. Each time the fish would make another run. A short time later Hank was getting the fish closer and bringing this fish to the net. After the one last short run that all the bigger fish seem to make. It then came quietly to the net. This would be the last fish of the day for Hank. We stowed the rods and made the long row to the ramp. Nice work Hank and welcome to the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club.