It’s 3:30 AM on Saturday morning. I’m fueling up the vehicle and the brain. The bad gas station coffee thing from my last entry wasn’t just window dressing. For my money there’s no greater combination than the plain cake donut and black coffee. It’s a tradition learned from my grandpa. The guy would choke down piping hot black coffee in the blistering summer heat, dressed head to toe in overalls and a long sleeved shirt. He claimed it didn’t feel so hot outside compared to the hot coffee in his cup. Who’s gonna argue with an old fella still driving a tractor past the age of ninety?
On this Saturday morning it’s me and legions of Minnesota’s majority party (the walleye angler) hitting the road in the wee hours. There’s no greater celebration of fishing in the North Star State than the walleye opener. I enjoy fishing for walleye, but on this morning my purpose was to continue my spring brown trout campaign. I utilized the drive time to contemplate what my tactics will be for the upcoming morning.
It seems like every few weeks I empty the contents of my chest pack to see the damage that has been done and take inventory of flies. Earlier this week I noticed a gluttony of Clouser Minnows. I tied up a shitload of them for Mexico beach fishing a few months back and the leftovers have been collecting dust.
I’m not breaking any news here, but the basic Clouser is one of the most impressive flies ever created. I can’t think of anything that this fly won’t catch, from minnows to muskies these things rock! For whatever reason I haven’t thrown them at trout in recent memory, so I opted to start my morning at legal time locked and loaded, Clousers in hand.
Typically I’d prefer a darker pattern for low light trouting, but I’d have to live with a classic white/chartreuse pattern originally meant for beach duty. For the first 15-20 minutes I cast to a large slow pool lined with laydowns. My mission to extract a monster from the brush proved to be unsuccessful. I walked upstream to find some narrower faster water, and after a few casts I connected with what felt like a respectable, but not giant fish. The “upper teens” beauty had no qualms about inhaling the Clouser, which naively increased my optimism for the morning ahead.
After a few quick shots of the first fish I continued to work my way upstream to a larger hole. I began by blanketing the lower section of the spot with half a dozen casts with no response. I inched my way further up towards the top of the hole, preparing to make a few more casts before moving on to the next spot. By this time the sun was peeking over the horizon and the darkness was giving way to daylight signifying a prime time to get a monster before it migrates back to it’s daytime hidey-hole. Sure enough after another half dozen casts to this pool my Clouser was violated by an intruder from the deepest part of the run. What the hell had this fishing been waiting for? I had already covered every inch of this spot with my delicious fly, but she waited until the end to commit. But I was in no position to complain as this fish was a fat football-shaped brown and it was burning drag.
The fish put up a solid fight, but I was able to slip her into the net without significant incident. I tried to do a better job of photographing this fish in low light conditions as I have in previous outings. Mastering the TS3 in this light is challenging as the flash gives you some unexpected results. I admittedly spent some time trying to improve the obligatory “grip-n-grin” shot in photoshop, as it is a truly great looking fish. I guess the fish didn’t “get the memo” about hitting my fly in the midday sun so it will photograph easier for placement on fishing blogs?
Here’s the first answer. I cast my streamer downstream allowing it sink into a logjam. I thought I felt a hit and subsequently set the hook on a fairly large sized branch. Need I say more? Two seconds later, snap…fuck! What was once my fly rod slingshot at me like a chaotic pile of Pick Up Sticks. I opted to give my 8-weight TFO BVK honors this morning as it can launch a big Clouser effortlessly like a sonuvabitch! I was actually shocked how little of pressure it took to break this rod. This is the only TFO rod I own. When researching my BVK purchase I found an abundance of other TFO owners complaining about how easy they’ve broken their rods. Anyone else have a similar story? Needless to say this put an end to my journey. There would be no more fish brought to hand, just the walk of shame back to my truck.