Reel: Shimano Stella 2500
Rod: Fetha Styx Homewater 9' 4"
Hospitalized and forced to rest due to fluid in the lungs, check. Reserved time later in the week to take Maguire out on a Summer Run Steelhead hunt, check. Not to self, remember to purchase rain gear prior to Steelhead season, because it tends to rain in the summertime in the Pacific Northwest. Memoirs of a Steelhead Guide...
Back in action with Maguire this morning (a well learned, adaptive angler) and running amuck the shores of the Skykomish River. Starting out bright and early, drift gear and float setups in hand, we set out to hunt down Maguire's coworker a Hatchery Steelhead, so he could take it to his "rich friend's party" in order to appear more Ron Swanson like (for those of you who don't know who Ron is, type in "Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness" on Google, immediately).
After a quick tied bait leader, and a properly baited shrimp tail on the hook, Maguire demanded a third cast float down; nature replied to his demand. An exciting, heart wrenching 2 second battle later, I found myself pulling the hook out of the jaws of a 14" resident Rainbow . Heck, it sure put up a fight for it's size; how it managed to fit that shrimp tail in it's mouth, I haven't the slightest. Float down for Maguire.
25 minutes later, 74.7 steps downstream, atop a nicely shaped river boulder, Maguire's float sunk yet again. To my amazement, he decided not to set the hook the first time. The thought of "did you sting it" both sailed through our minds, and we were both overjoyed that he did not sting the fish! After slapping on a fresh piece of shrimp, and out sailed his float to the same spot. This time he decided to drill his hook kingdom come, into whatever took his float down; there is nothing quite like the eerie sound made by the whip action hook set of an ultralight FethaStyx Rod.
Had this fish indulged in hand to hand combat with Sky River anglers before? It immediately rocketed towards the surface, changed it's mind, and quickly bolted back down to the bottom, just like Native fish do. After a failed attempt to tail Maguire's still "hotwired" fish, 2 long drawn out runs were in order, followed by some up close and personal, side to side body slamming fighting. An interesting fight indeed (Natives always seem to have a few new tricks up their slimy sleeves that Hatchery fish do not). Ducks in a line, we tailed, photographed (I'm pretty sure we stole this Steelie's soul with photographs) and relinquished this Native Steelhead Buck back to the glacial fed depths of the Sky.
The breakfast bell rang no more after working another quarter mile stretch of water; we searched high, we casted low and that's all the action she provided for us this morning. Thankfully, there are two things that are more valuable than a Hatchery Steelhead: reunited friendship, and enjoying the morning with an individual more skilled than, and passionate than you about the river, despite being a professional guide.
Maguire, it was a privilege having you along for the ride this morning; never stop casting, never stop chasing Chrome, my fishy friend. Stoney, this one's for you Bud; hope you're doing well in Alaska.
If you're searching for Chrome Ghosts this Summer and haven't the slightest where to start, or would like to bring more consistency into your current Steelheading skill, my door is open to you, fellow Angler. Until then, may your hooks be sharp, may your rods be bent and may your wife always be sick of fish (telltale sign of a true, successful angler).