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Monday, July 20, 2009

Massive Trout Tail.


O.K.,O.K. Everyone keeps asking about the big cuttie, or cut bow or what ever it is.  So here's the deal.  I was out for a hike with my roomate and his girlfriend to Far Lake.  I wasn't planning on fishing much if at all, but of course i had some fishing stuff with me.  It's a place with allot of water and allot of water takes allot of time to cover and we had other adventure on our minds.  We were way out on a far shore and from the trail i noticed a couple fisherman near where a seasonal feeder flowed in.  It was odd to see other anglers out there so i stopped for a closer look.  It was a guy and a girl with spinning rods. I watched from in the bushes as she pulled a decent trout from the deep dark water.  They flopped it on the rocks he whacked the shit out of it.  I was bummed i had to witness that, but i took a mental note that there must be some trout in that area.  Later in the day, we passed that spot again.  The other fisherman were gone.  I figured it had already got whacked, but what the heck, i have a few minutes and i'll throw a few cast.  

As i neared the water i was looking, looking, looking like I always do.  In a crack between some big boulders i spotted a face looking up at me.  It was a trout face.  Clearly a rainbow.  We made eye contact.  I threw my streamer at it.  A few small bubbles came up as it laughed at me and disappeared into the deep.   I yelled up at my buddy, "Hey, there's a trout in here.  I'm going to fish for a few." Since the trout had already laughed at my favorite streamer, i decided to probe the deep with some nymphs.  After about fifteen minutes of slow fishing in deep water with a size 12 stonefly nymph, my line stopped.  First i thought i snagged the bottom again.  Then came the huge thud and i could feel i was into something with some weight behind it.  It started making massive body bends that translated into huge pulsating thumps down my rod.    i reefed back and we danced.  He went this way and that and stayed deep.  There was some, for sure loose the fish, snags near by that i tried with all my rods might to steer him away from.  

After several minutes of this, he rose from the depths.  I saw his color and shape and started to shake.  I knew it was a cuttie and the fish of a lifetime.  I could also see my little nymph barley sticking out of the tip of his upper snout.  

He looked at me and i looked at him.  He ran out away but near the surface of the water.  I thought this is it, he's not stopping and i'm going to loose him.  Then all of a sudden he stopped and turned around.  He started heading right at me.  I was perched knee deep on just a small foothold that was the only place in the boulders i could stand and cast a fly and possibly land a fish without dragging it over rocks and jacking it all up.  I didn't have a net, but at this moment i wished i had.  I stripped in line as fast as i could and he just kept coming.   Right at me.  He came in like a torpedo.  Trying to take out my knees.  The first week spot he could see from the water.  I juked as best i could and lifted a leg.  He went through my legs and banked off the rock. I lifted my leg over the line and my rod and barely managed to keep my balance on one leg without going in.  He ran out again and made an attempt at a jump.  His massive flanks barely clearing the water as he pulled a 180.  He came in again fast and this time with his mouth open.  I could see the glean of his razor teeth.  In a split second i switched the rod from my right hand to my left.  I leaned sideways and just as he came in for my leg i tried to punch in in the side of the face.  My fist grazed off his this boney head but managed to knock him off course enough to deflect his attack.  

In a second he was back off the rocks and turned for another assault.  He shot in fast and I tried to give him a left foot kick because my right foot was on the best foothold.  He swirled around me trying to wrap my legs like how Luke took out the At At's in The Empire Strikes back. I pulled a Karate Kid and switched feet with a quick jump.  I raised my left leg high.  Distracted, he glanced at it for a split second.  It was all i needed to swan kick his ass in the side.  He turned up on his side and in fish talked yelled "Uncle".  I tried to make a quick grab at his tail.  I couldn't get my had around it with any kind of grip.  I didn't want to grab his gill, so i went for the jaw.  I grabbed his lower right jaw bone hard with my thumb in his mouth and four fingers dug into the lowers of his outside mouth.  Chomp once, Chomp twice.  He cut a tick tack toe board into my hand.  I let go and he thrashed like mad.  I thought he was gone but my rod came tight.  Somehow he was still on my line.  We were both winded, but i knew i had to whip him in round two.  

I wanted to climb the top rope at that point and DDT his ass.  Instead i just played him out.  Give and take, give and take.  In the end, it was my high priced graphite that whipped his ass.  He once again played dead and rolled to the top.  He opened his massive jaw and i took it as a sign he was giving up.  i mistook the white of his massive mouth for a white flag.  i took the bait and once again went in for the grab.  As soon as i had a tight grip on his massive jaw, he came back to life and began to thrash.  It was like a gator had gotten ahold of my arm.  He almost ripped it out of the socket with his gnarly body bends.  I knew this might be the biggest trout i ever get to touch.  Death grip set in.  With my rod barley dangling i grabbed the rock with my other hand to hold on.  All my roomate could do was stand helplessly on top of the rock as i held on for my life.  Then a miracle, the trout stopped shacking.  I yelled quick, quick, get the shot.  My buddy held his arms down the face of the rock.  I grabbed the fish with one arm completely around it like you would hold a small dog or a 4H pig.  I couldn't lift it out of the water.  I repositioned and bent my knees into it this time.  I hoisted him from the water and smiled like i just won the lottery.  Rubini got the shot right before the giant creature bent and i dropped it.  My line was tight and the hook popped out when it hit the water.  I made another slash for it's tail but couldn't grip his mass with one hand.  He splashed and disappeared into the depths again.  I just sat there shaking until....Drip, Drip, Drip, the blood from my hand stained the water.   Who ever said Lahontans don't fight is tripping.  It was one of the best and one of the most frightening moment of my life.  

I put my rod down and said "that's it.  i quite. "  "Rubini, i'm done.  Tell everyone i quite fishing.  That was the trout of a lifetime."  He said "That was gnarly but, yeah right.  That's like when Snoop Dog put out a press release telling everyone he stopped smoking weed." " You'll probably be fishing again in a few minutes.  In the mean time, let me get a couple cast up in there."

20 comments:

ryan said...

great story, even greater fish. good job brother.

Brian J. said...

Wow. WOW.

I don't know what's harder to believe-- the picture of that fish or the story about the wading ninja moves....

Uncle Larry said...

Now your gonna turn into a zombie. Or a bait fisherman.
Don't ever let a freakish fish bite you.
Ahaha, nice story man.

erdo said...

if only that whole sequence was on film...haha, fish of a lifetime may be an understatement

sierratrout said...

amazing, you are definitely the man

dsflyfishing said...

I need to grab another beer to help wipe this smile off my face. Great Story and fantastic pic.

David Cahoon said...

what size rod were you fishing???

Anonymous said...

OK OK I do not believe this. No hike in lake in the Sierras could harbor a naturally produced trout of this size. You are looking at a 20 lb+ fish? Are you kidding me? This would shatter just about every IGFA line class record as well as a Cutbow record for CA. No hike in lake could harbor such biomass. Dr. Bob Behnke would concur unless these fish have made a miraculous return to Lake Tahoe or Fallen Leaf (did the Lake Trout suddenly die?) and you caught it there. Stop using photoshop! Any educated person on Fisheries Biology would call you out. Altitude, small amount of water, does not hold enough baitfish (Lahontan redsides)to produce fish like this. Jerome Yeseveage stated John Wakabayashi's Lake Trout from Desolation Wilderness was the biggest he had ever seen at 16 lbs. Go figure!

ryan said...

wow, anonymous when did you loose your sense of humor. you must be the stiffest person on earth. stay dull for life.....

Anonymous said...

Nope, I am just a college educated citizen that works and makes fisheries a passionate hobby. I love calling out worthless stoners like you and these who think they actually know something and can pull fast ones like this the public to boost their ego. I am actaully a very interesting person who knows quite a bit.

ryan said...

well it sounds like you really like yourself a whole lot, and thats great. i dont think the owner of this blog was trying to pull a fast one on the public, i think he was just having some fun. anyway, the only reason i keep responding to you is that i know that this grateful dead listening, stoner,(who would out fish your ass any day of the week)is getting under your skin. peace.....

BG said...

What a great fish and an awesome story! Thanks for posting. Well done, and much deserved.

Bryan

Anonymous said...

No one is getting under my skin buddy. In fact you are making me laugh and of course I like myself, don't you? I would hope he could outfish my ass since this is his "job" and probably fishes every waking day of his life. You should be nicer to people like me. It is people like myself (through my insane tax bracket) who are/will be taking care of you guys when you are old and destitute. This will be your gift since you chose this lifestyle and have no retirement or cash while wasting away in double wide in the hills. I purely enjoy Fly Fishing and fisheries it as a passionate hobby and it will always keep it that way. Jerry lives dude!

Mikey said...

Anonymous, Please don't post on my blog if your going to hide behind an anonymous post and go on making bunk assumptions and trying to pass judgment on someone you clearly don't know. Behnke did some great research but he doesn't know everything there is to know about the sierra's and every fish population in it. Neither does the DFG. Neither do you!! No one does. There's allot of water out there. If you knew me, you would know i don't give a shit about records. RECORDS KILL FISH!. Almost every fish in the IGFA book are dead. The places they were caught permanently exposed. This very moment that fish i caught is still swimming, happily feeding on Red sides, Chubs, Invasive Rainbows, Crayfish, Aquatic and terrestrial insects, and even the occasional rodent or bird i would suppose. It's not my fault you have not caught a fish that big. I posted the photo to give people hope that there are still fish like this out there. Maybe you will get to see the footage some day when i get done with all the CGI work on it. Besides it would be hard to beat the 30 plus pound Lahontan caught out of Tahoe in the 30's. All of which are now dead. If you really care about fisheries like you claim, do something constructive to try and help save them. Go to foothillconservancy.org and sign the Wild and Scenic petition for the Mokelumne River. Write to EBMUD and oppose the dam expansion or get involved in the fight against the peripheral canal.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, after a morning run my last comment popped in mind and I thought I'd just look here. Well if you aren't willing to accept comments from the general public then I would suggest removing this blog but your ego precedes you so I doubt you'll do that. I am confused now. Your pal Ryan says this was nothing but a joke. You are now saying this is a true story. Honestly you both may be delusional but being you are also a film maker one can only deduct the possibilities of what you can accomplish with a photo. If you are so high in stature fisheries biology knowledge and can be so bold to convey you know more about sierra fisheries than Dr. Robert Behnke think for second. I think a man that holds an M.S. in fisheries and PhD. in Wildlife Biology both from Berkeley, spent countless summers in the sierras doing research saving two native trout (which you so love) from certain extinction years before you were a twinkle in your parents eyes more than likely has a one up on a 12th grade education from the hills. Plus I think there are some current and retired DFG biologists who have together spent nearly a century of doing studies on CA native trout might have just a little inside track on you too. Believe what you want I don't care. My adivce to you is start reading some books. I don't know everything about trout in the sierras but my guess is your head is big enough to make you think you do. I actually caught a trout bigger than this once. It happened to be a Steelhead from the Bulkley River in BC. Hmmm... Pacific Ocean, high sierra lake. Let's think on that for a minute. You sure you want to stick with this story? You are really attracting a lot of attention to yourself and I'm not so sure in ways you want to be seen. The scientific fisheries community is a small one. My suggestion to you is to start choosing your words and material more carefully. I'm glad you have this passion for conservation but put your ego asside. Thanks for your advice on my spare time but it is already spoken for. I volunteer for over a dozen fisheries related groups all over CA and and in the past headed several committees on creek restoration so I am very constructive with my spare time.

Brian J. said...

Sadly I think we have a proverbial "hater" here folks. Anonymous won't provide us with a name or url, and perhaps should be blocked off this site for a while if possible.

Anonymous I wish Mr. Wier's accomplishments would inspire you instead of rousing spite and envy. You may be a well educated person with some great points but they are lost in your hateful attitude. Toting your tax bracket and calling people "worthless stoners" is not a great way to make a point.

Perhaps it would be good to regain some perspective: this is just a blog. It's not a book in the library making factual claims. And this is fishing. It's not politics or religion or medicine-- it's a sport.

Please take your own advice "start choosing your words and material more carefully"

Peace

Mikey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mikey said...

Yep, there's always a hater in the crowd. When you put yourself out there like i have, you have to deal with some really weird shit sometimes. Fly fishing's old guard can be a sometimes socially challenged crowd. There's some strong options out there. The older you get the harder it is to keep an open mind. This guy is right though. When I’m done totally deceiving the public with my blog and spreading total confusion and lies with the FFM cover, I’m going to jump out from behind the internet and run for president. It’s all part of my plan and it’s working.

Go on talking about how educated and wealthy you are than somehow decipher my last comment as me saying i know more about fisheries biology than Dr Behnke. Go figure. I’ve read most of Behnke’s book. Not all of it. I recommend it to everyone who cares about native fish. I’m sure I know all the same people at DFG too. In fact I had a long conversation with the head biologist the other day at a meeting to fight for protection of Caples creek. We talked about how obsessed some people have been over these cuttie shots and how there has been some really misdirected sentiments over it and some creepy internet dialog. Anyone with a 12th grade hills education could see the point I made is that no one knows everything. Is it beyond you to keep an open mind that there might still be some mystery out there? You clearly don’t know me, but how can you seriously try to claim that I made that fish up in photoshop as an attempt to stoke my ego?? Wanting to protect fish=My giant ego. You really got me pegged buddy. Thanks for setting me straight and everyone else on here straight. Did you really make it past fifth grade? You need to learn to play nicer with the other kids in the sand box. There’s way to many discrepancies in your posts for you to try and claim you’re anymore educated than anyone else that might read this blog or know anything about fisheries. To continually go and try to pass down judgments about people you clearly don’t know just makes you look like a douche bag. You may have some good points, but Brian is right, no one will listen to you if you can’t construct your thoughts better. It’s just makes me want to lash out and feel like I have to defend myself. Maybe a taste of your own medicine is what you need?

Do you really feel in your heart it would be best for me to go on and tell everyone on the internet exactly where i caught what might be one of the last biggest cutties or hybrids with lahontan genes in the state. So every trophy hunter can go out there and try to get one. So the next time you see that fish it's stiff on the cover of the fish sniffer or accidentally killed by some over zealous but well intentioned fly guy who held it out for too many photos. If it were ego for me, i might have taken the time to measure that fish. Instead i held it out for a quick second to make a memory then quickly and safely released it. Would you have done the same? Would most fisherman who caught that do the same? I think not.

I do realize now though that it was a mistake to even post this. So was the FFM cover. I've jeopardized the well being of those fish from all this attention. It is cool however to see people care enough about Lahontan’s to get angry over it. Sometimes the best form of management and protection is none at all. If no one knows about a spot, than it doesn’t need protection because no one goes there. Unfortunately we are past that point in all but the most super remote spots in California.

This brings some major issues to the surface though. There are fish out there that are sacred and need protection. Sometimes even from the well intentioned. It is a small group of people who care allot about California's wild and native fish. They are our heritage. More people need to get involved in the process of permanent protection or the same mistakes will continue to be made. What do you think? Is rotenone the answer to correcting the mistakes made in the past?

Chris Baird said...

Great fish Mike,

As a student in fish ecology I can tell you that for every ounce of information we know, there are 10 pounds of information to be discovered. If we knew everything, biologists would be out of a job!

This should be a lesson to us all that even in highly fished waters large fish can still occur.

Star said...

Oh my god, what a great story, and this fish it's huge. I noticed about it 'cause I was looking for Viagra Online so I started to read it.