I, shocking I know, decided to chase the smallies first. After I had no luck at the bottom end of the run, I moved up stream and started throwing a size 12 Mr. Rapidan. The light was fading fast and I was hoping that the trout would look at it as one big sulphur. The mother of all sulphurs so to speak. As I looked around, I saw fish rising everywhere. They were gulping down the sulphurs like crazy. I threw out to where I saw this fish continuously rising. It took me a few drifts but finally....fish on. It was a dandy of a fish as well. It took off and headed down stream at an alarming rate. I was excited! I was going to be vindicated! I will catch this fish! And no I didn't. Damn thing got off. I pulled the fly line back in and examined the fly. It had a huge chunk of jaw flesh hanging off the hook. I have no clue how it managed that one but it did. Trout 1, Jeff 0.
I tied on another size 12 Rapidan and continued to throw the dry fly. I figured why not. The fish were rising steadily. In fact I know the fish were rising because Andy and Paul were landing fish left and right or so it seemed. Andy landed a beautiful rainbow. The photo really doesn't do it justice. It was a beautiful fish.
Sadly, I did not get any photos of Paul's fish. He was off at the top of the run doing his own thing and loving life.
I continued throwing the Mr. Rapidan without much success. Nothing pisses me off more than throwing flies to rising fish who continue to eat everything under the sun but my fly. Add insult to injury or maybe throw salt into the open wound....have the 15 year old that just kicked your ass in the tournament come down and give you pointers on fishing. Nice kid don't get me wrong and boy could he fish. However, I have been fishing since before he was born so the advice was a tad insulting. I know, though, that he meant it in a good way. He, after asking, worked into between Andy and I and started hooking up with fish. I was ready to give up and move. About that time, I had let my fly drift down below me. As I started to tell Greg that I was moving, something came up and hit it. Fish on! I set the hook and went to work. I think I fought the fish for like 7 or 8 minutes. It felt like forever. In fact I borrowed the net from the kid since I knew my net wasn't going to be even close to big enough for the fish. He was kind enough to not only lend me the net but also offer advice. I remember at one point turning the rod a certain way and hearing "tisk, tisk tisk I won't do that." So I didn't. Again, don't get me wrong I know he meant well and he clearly knows how to fish. It is just the whole idea of some one half my age and then some schooling me on fishing.
Well his advice paid off because I was finally able to land the fish. It turned out to be a really nice rainbow. Sadly, we didn't get a decent photo of it. Greg's camera wasn't working right and mine was in my pocket. I was afraid to get it out and lose the fish. I would guess it was like 3 pounds or so. Maybe more. I have no clue really. I was just happy to land a fish and redeem myself so to speak. Greg took a few photos. These were the best I have.
After I landed and released the fish, I was done. Everyone else continued to fish but I wanted to go out on a high note. It had been a rough week and tournament for me. Not my finest showing to say the least. I will be back next year though provided they will have me. And as they say.....That's All Folks!