We slipped off the gravel bar under clear skies with high hopes. Charles and Bill were in the casting braces and The rods were rigged and the guys began tossing flies at all the likely places. The fish seemed to be lurking behind every break in the current.
Bill has a blog where he writes about his trips to the river and lake around northern Alabama. He is no stranger to the drifter and has fished in the braces on several occasions. Bill dialed himself in quickly, bringing fish to the net on a regular basis. He hooked and lost his share as well, but kept focused. The best was yet to come for Bill.
This was Charles' first time on the drifter, but it sure didn't take him long to get a read on our process and then begin bringing fish to the net. Between Bill and Charles, and the fish, the guy on the oars was busy with net duty as well. The nymphs were doing their job with much regularity...
It seems the browns are getting an early start with their Fall colors. Maybe they are getting ready to begin going through the motions of spawning, I'm not sure. Whatever the case the dark brown on the back, the butter color of the belly and the red spots make for some nice photos. Even the smaller fish are getting good color.
Charles was getting good drifts through some productive water and it seemed we had everything tuned just right. The right length of tippet, just the right depth where the fly would gently tick the bottom every so often. Charles was getting clean drifts through the right lines. I just knew he was going to bring a nice fish to the net in an area that has been fishing well throughout the hot weather months. But the fish weren't there on this day.
We kept floating through the long pool until we were almost to the end. The bottom began an incline and as I began to think about the upcoming run, Charles set the hook on another fish. This fish was not just another fish and the tip of the rod as well as the midsection told us so. Charles had set the hook on a healthy brown that was more interested in the green vegetation on the bottom of the river than the white and green of the Hyde drift boat. Charles countered every move and as the fish finally slowed, Charles gently brought the fish to the waiting net. We were all smiles on the F/V Southeastern Fly.
It was getting late in the day and the shade was moving over the river. The shade and cooler air was a welcomed relief. Bill was still dialed-in and still focused. The river bottom began to fall into the deepest and darkest part of the pool. Bill had a good drift running down the bubble line and he set the hook just as the fly bottomed out on the longer tippet. The fish began rummaging through its bag of tricks. The brown made several runs as Bill battled back with his 5 weight. Finally, after some good jousting, the fish began coming to the net. At the last minute the fish turned for that last run, but Bill was ready. We snapped a photo and settled the fish back in the net to prepare for the release. The net was titled and the brown gave a hard tail kick, then it was gone. A short time later we were back on the gravel bar, this time at the ramp where we would load the drifter and have memories of tossing flies in all the likely places.
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