Charles came up from Alabama to fish and brought Mike in from Nashville. Both have been fishing for a while and both like to fish the fly rod. Charles has fished on the F/V Southeastern Fly before and knows our routine. This would be Mike's first time, but he fell in the groove quickly. Both could cast well and both had the ability to put the fly where I asked and to make the necessary adjustments when needed.
They also possess the thing needed when fishing exclusively for larger fish. Focus. It isn't easy to keep your head in the game on trips like this. Part of that is the guide's job to coach, entertain and even get a little personal about technique when needed. These guys didn't need much of anything on this trip. But, there was something Charles and Mike would need. The one thing that is needed but can't be bought and the one thing that cannot be learned. The one thing that can only be given. Opportunity.
Opportunity for Charles came early and just off a mud line. Then opportunity came for Mike when we floated into a grassy shoal. Charles followed up with a good cast by a blowdown. After a short drift and hookset later, he would enter the 20+ Club for the first time.
It wasn't too long after that Mike was fishing the middle of the river and Charles was fishing some structure just off the current seam. Both had quality drifts and then both had their first double of the day. The river was flowing good, the traffic was slow for the moment, and the fish were turning on.
The sun was high as the afternoon was wearing-on. There were only light clouds and the fog had long-burned off. The current ran close to the rocks and angler's had been in this position many times before. Charles dropped his fly in the fast current. The fly settled down and then Charles detected a strike. The fight was on as the big rainbow used its tail to power away. The Orvis Recon was bent into the cork with Charles trying to anticipate each and every move. He kept his wits and was winning this battle. The rainbow did what most rainbows do, taking that one last run before. That one last run was short as Charles was able to turn the big rainbow one more time. The fished rolled toward the surface and was within range of the net. Charles gave a big pull and the fish slipped across the wooden hoop and into the soft netting. Fist bumps and high fives followed. It was strange how many rainbows vs. browns we brought to the net on this day. I say strange but that is meant in a good way for sure and we will take this strangeness all day long.