Monday, August 8, 2016

Deschutes Part 1- Preparations

All good things, as the saying goes must come to an end. As sad as that may be it is something that can’t be avoided.

This morning we pulled into Bend Oregon. Like most of the rest of this year has been my timing is slightly off. When I stopped into one of the many fly shops here in town to pick their brains the first response I got was “You’re a couple weeks too early”. It seems like I’ve been a couple weeks too early or too late to catch anything exactly as it appears in the magazines and story books all year. Such is the life of a traveling angler that you rarely read about in the glossy pages found on newsstand shelves. But somehow I do seem to snoop out something suitable to keep my interests up and my boots wet. What I snooped out here at Fly & Field Outfitters is a 3 hour drive first thing in the morning to get to a spot that may or may not be loaded up with other anglers. What it will have for sure is a catchable amount of early season steelhead.

The best part about this scenario is that the locals have been catching quite a few fish on small flies and floating lines. This excites me because the time I recently spent on the Rogue had me throwing a 30 foot high-density shooting head. Although I really enjoy fishing that way it is quite a bit of work that can wear a casting arm out in short order. The other exciting aspect is that, albeit with a one-hand rod I will be able to try out some spey casting techniques. Then maybe I can get Michael to build me that spey rod we talked about last winter.

As soon as I found out that I am in range of a good number of catchable fish I headed back to our camp to get set up. I use the word camp loosely in this sense because this place, Crown Villa RV Resort is more like a resort than any other we have stayed at in 15 months of traveling. It’s more like “glamping”.  Most places we pull into that are called resorts end up to be something completely different. Sharon and I have found ourselves wondering if maybe the word “resort” has a secret meaning we are unaware of.

During preparations I decided it was time to finally retire the Orvis WF8F line I have been using since 1996. I just hope that the new line lasts half as long but on that front only time will tell. From what I hear new flylines are like too many other things; they just don’t make them like they used to. Then again I do take care of my flylines like they are made of gold for all I know they may be for what they cost. I’ve been asked many times how I get that much time out of a flyline. The answer is not exactly a secret it’s regular cleaning and maintenance. Keep it simple. Mild soap like Dawn in lukewarm water, rinse, wipe it down, rinse again and apply a light coat of fly line dressing.

I stripped all the old line off and went to attach the new one to the backing on my reel. I carefully wound the nail knot into place and snugged it up. Just as I do as part of every cleaning I gave a solid pull and it snapped. Yikes! The 20 pound Dacron is not supposed to do that with 10 pounds of pressure!!! It seems the time I have spent in the saltwater over the last year has not been kind to the backing. I’m pretty sure I may have to start going all the way to the spool with the cleaning.

Knowing it wouldn’t do any good I retied the backing onto the new flyline anyway and gave it a pull. The same thing happened. That’s when the sinking feeling set in. It was a sinking feeling of knowing we are only going to be here for a few short days and I was not going to go out in the morning well before the crack of dawn and the operating hours of any of the local fly shops. With only 3 days on the ground here I have allotted 2 days of fishing leaving our last day here, as always devoted to battening down the hatches so to speak.

I had already learned on the Rogue that having one’s equipment in tiptop shape is of the utmost importance when going after these big boys. I briefly contemplated going out with the inferior backing and letting luck take its course but the thought of having a good size steelhead run downriver with an expensive new flyline just doesn’t appeal to me these days. I suppose if all I wanted was a hookup that might be as good a way as any to all but guarantee an encounter with a trophy fish but I’m just not as stupid as I used to be when it comes to these things. Murphy’s Law has reared its ugly head too many times to tempt fate once more.

So here I sit typing out this post instead of lying in bed sleeping before heading out in the middle of the night to fish at the crack of dawn. Tomorrow I’ll go back to one of the other local fly shops and maybe pick their brains a little, buy a couple more flies and ask “Can you guys put some backing on this old reel?” Hopefully in the process I can acquire a bit more useful information. I’m going to need it since I just lost half my time on the water.

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