Trout Diva Gets REEL Lucky

It’s Better To Be Lucky…

You know, it really IS better to be lucky than it is to be good…  I say that because nothing short of being extremely lucky (except possibly Divine Intervention) could explain the story I’m about to tell ‘ya…

OK, so it’s my “quiet time” a few nights ago…  It’s been really busy, so when I can pull it off, even if it’s only for a half hour or so, I’ll just go down to the dock to relax and wet a line.  I’m a high-water fan myself, and in the evenings the water’s been up for the last few nights, so it was just how I like it…

Just to be comfortable, I sit in one of our rental boats, which I tied up so I’d just hang off the back of the dock.  It’s about 7:30 or so, and it’s gettin’ dark by9:00.  I decide to use a large lure, as I’m hopin’ to pick up something a little nicer.  I had a new Rapala Shad-Rap Deep Runner SR-7 in Crawdad color I wanted to try; so I tied it on and started throwin’ it out toward the bank.

Took a little bit to get used to it, because as the name of that lure implies, it tends to really run deep, and even sitting stationary in 7 generators I managed to get it into the coontail moss on the bottom of the river several times before I figured out how it wanted to run.

I’d been spottin’ a couple of larger Browns out from our Observation Deck, below the tube where AGFC stocks the trout. 

(That’s why the Browns hang out there to begin with, btw…  They hear the ole stockin’ truck rollin’ up and they just sit at the bottom of the tube, with their big mouths open, and just gobble up what comes out!)

So, I’d just been sittin’ there for about 20 minutes or so, and I’d only had 1 strike, and was actually fixin’ to call it a night.  But, you know how it is…  just ONE more cast…  was that a hit?  Could’ve been a hit, maybe… OK, maybe just one more cast…  wait, got into the moss…  that one doesn’t count!  OK, this is really going to be my FINAL cast.

And then, SLAM!  I had something on, and I knew it was a good one…  Then, it took off down river.  My drag was set pretty tight, and that fish was just yankin’ line off…  FLAMES and SMOKE were comin’ off my reel as this fish had decided it didn’t want anything to do with me!

I had to just let it run for awhile, because any attempt at reeling at this point was just spinnin’ it over the gears of the reel.  I let it swim a bit, then I tightened the drag a little more and started tryin’ to fight it.

I was havin’ a blast!  After awhile, I thought to myself, “Wow!  This trout is pullin’ so hard it feels like I’m bein’ dragged down river!” 

That’s when I noticed it…  The observation deck, which is a little bit down river of where I’m sittin’ tied up off the dock is now BESIDE me instead of down river of me…

Uh-oh… (That is the PG version of what was going through my mind at the moment…)

I turned around, and sure enough, I’d come untied…  Yup, that fish was pullin’ hard enough that the knot I’d used to tie myself off the back of the dock had come undone!

I quickly attempt to evaluate my situation… 

I have a big fish on.  Check…
This fish is fightin’, changin’ direction, strippin’ my line off my reel.  Check…
The fog is comin’ in really thick.  Check…
A heavy patch I can’t see into at all is less than 50 feet away.  Check…
It’s almost dark.  Check…
The motor is in the upright/locked position.  Check…
The fuel line is not connected.  Check…
No immediate assistance is available.   Check…
Is there any way I can blame this on my husband?  No.  %^$*&^!!!  Check…

My final assessment of my situation?  NOT GOOD!

So, what to do???  I really don’t want to lose this fish!!!  For a split second, I think if I drift close enough to the launch ramp I’ll abandon ship and worry about getting the boat later!  No, No, No…  not a rational thought.  Besides, I’d have to explain that brilliant piece of logic to Lord Vader after the fact…  Hmmm… Not a conversation I’m wanting to have with my husband!

OK, OK, I can do this…  I wait a bit longer until the fish momentarily quits running.  I put the rod under my left arm and try to get the motor down.  This is nearly impossible for me with one arm, those 4-strokes are kind of heavy, but I manage to do it. 

The sound of the motor clunking down makes the fish take off again, almost yankin’ the rod out from under my arm and out of the boat…  but, I got it.  I got it.  Man, I need about 3 more hands at this point…

OK, fuel line next…  I always have trouble getting these dang things connected even in broad daylight with 2 hands free, but I finally manage to get it.  OK, pump the fuel line…  got it.  Timing advance, out…  OK.  Prime the motor.  Yup, all good…

Now, fire it up.  Just as I tried to start the motor, the fish takes off again, and I almost lose the rod for about the third time, now…  OK, stop what you’re doing for a minute…  Fight the fish… 

OK, NOW start the motor.  Starts on 2nd pull.  OK, this is good. 

But, wait a minute…

Here’s where I start thinkin’ about the 3 Stooges… 

Yep, that’s right…  The 3 Stooges.  It’s pretty interesting where your mind goes in times of extreme trout fishing stress…  But, yeah…  I’m thinkin’ how ridiculous I must look at this point, and that I AM the 3 Stooges all wrapped up into ONE!  It would have been pretty dang funny on videotape, folks. 

Think about it for a minute…

I’m floating down river.  I’m also facing DOWN river.  Rod in left hand.  Motor tiller in right.  OK, this is not gonna work, Julie…  I need to be facing UP river so I can see where I’m going!  I need to get turned around, switch hands with the rod and tiller. 

Sounds simple, right?  Not so much!!!  Fish is freakin’ hearing the motor run, and is directly behind the boat at this point.  I about lose the rod again trying to get turned around, but finally manage to do it.

OK, this is better.  Facing the right way, rod in my right hand, operating the motor with left, starting to motor back to the dock.  But, every time I start pullin’ this fish back to the dock, he runs again…  Put the boat back in neutral and let him swim awhile…  OK, back into gear again…

This goes on for another 10 minutes or so, and I get back to the dock…  I re-tie the boat and try to bring the fish the rest of the way in.  I thought I had him a couple of times, but every time he sees the net, he spools back out. 

OK…  I think I have him this time…  I try (for about the 5th time) to get the net under him…  I almost have him and this crazy fish had ONE more trick left in him, and he did the “alligator death roll” on me, and spit that hook right out! 

That’s where the REAL luck (or maybe the REEL luck) kicked in.  That fish dropped right into the net, folks…  Right smack dab into the net…  Yup, I had him!  I couldn’t believe it!

Put him right in the livewell.  Watched him for a minute to make sure he was OK, and then went and got Steve.  This picture, unfortunately, is terrible, but you can still see this is a nice fish.  Between Steve’s green hat light, and the flourescent light on the dock, the camera just kind of freaked…

Trout Diva is Lucky
Trout Diva is Reel Lucky

It was probably only about 9 lb, not a monster, but a truly respectable fish. 

I’ve never had a trout give me a better fight than this guy!!!

And I’ve never felt so lucky to have landed one, either… 

Like I said, It REEL-Y IS Better to be Lucky Than It Is To Be Good!

Your White River Trout Diva

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