I had watched the Clinch flow and weather report all week and by Thursday I knew Saturday was " The Day", of ciourse so did everyone else!
The high noon shutoff was perfect for me, who had attended the Fly Fishing Flim Tour Friday night, with an earlier stop next door at Central Flats brewery for the local Sawworks Brown ale, my second favorite brown now
The 12:00 shutoff as usual signaled the gathering of the Clinch River Frogman Society. This group is made up of people willing to jump in the river at flow stop based upon their level of comfort in the water or your level of insainity to beat the other guy to your favorite hole.
I am not like that, so as I swam the breaststroke down to my favorite spot I saw a young man had beat me to mine
. He muist have spent the night on the island as I dogpaddled past I asked and he graciously allowed me to drop in below him. Soon we were joined by a third man who will be known as "Z" from here on, so I do not embarass him with my pronunciation of his name!.
I have never fished up north or Alaska but it's the way I have opening day pictured up there. We were packed in tight in a space no wider than 50-60 ft and soon doing our version of the Clinch 1 2 3- cast, drift, strip.
The first 45 minutes I threw the sink changing flys about 6-8 times till finally I realized they were feeding in the film and tied on an olive emerger and nailed the aprox. 14 inch brown below.
Now feeling smug after working like a dog, I cast a few more times and got a small bow, above me the young man started hitting pretty bows and soon we are talking, comparing what we have on. "Z" below me starts hitting and now we are off like donkey kong, in water shockingly low between ankle and knee deep as the flow dropped.
As we are all working the water we hear a loud splash as a huge rainbow breaks the surface as "Z" hooks up on the biggest one I have seen all winter by a wading angler.
How he got it in without breaking off was amazing because he had no net, I offered mine but he waved it off and brought the monster to shore. I saw he was getting his camera out and offered to take a shot which he thanked me and we took three or more shots. I did not have enought sense at that point to take one with my camera probably because I was stunned by this Godzilla sized fish in such low water. At that point I suggested he go home because he had peaked for the day, he laughed and we all started back in.
Thirty minutes or longer went by and we hear another loud splash from "Z" and see another brute break the surface. This time I had enough presense of mind to get a picture with not only his camera but mine of his second monster of the day!
This picture below is the 2nd rainbow not the first.
DISCLAIMER: NOT THE BIG ONE THE 2ND LARGEST
I hope to get a shot of the first because it turns out he lives less than 2-3 miles from me and I should be able to get a shot of it. We fished for five hours straight with no breaks, cold feet, thank God I carry a PB&J and water. All together between the three of us I was good for about 6, the young man I think around 10-12 fish, and "Z" rocked it with around 15, with everyone doing catch and release.
A beautiful day on the river, with what started with three strangers, working a tight spot, I also was reminded to catch big fish like the guides say, " You gotta use big stuff". I won't give up "Z"'s hand tied flys, but I will say they were common Clinch flies, but in what I saw as size 10's and 12's in very shallow water as you can see in the last pic.