“I’m hung up.” My brother looked back from the bow of the drift boat then picked up line to cast while I bent the rod deep and gave a few jerks. We were anchored at the head of a long cut bank along the Big Hole river. Wet grass dried in the breeze and a grey sky rolled against the hills beyond the bank. I needed a long cast upstream and quick mends to get the flies down and I had been bumping bottom here and there since we stopped. My father watched from his hunched forward position while I worked to get free from above him. Nothing doing. I reeled in all my line and grabbed it tight, then repositioned my efforts with the rod to work angles that might free the hook. Satisfied with my best efforts I stood resigned to break off and lose the flies. In that moment the taught line slid. A few inches maybe, but upstream. I was quiet, and then, “I can’t be hung up. The line just moved.”
Wading along the bank of the Bighole River, I found myself in an unfortunately familiar and somewhat sub-optimal position of biting off a bit more than I could chew by way of wading out a bit further than my stature allowed in pursuit of an upstream seam that I knew held fish.
If I get out of the drift boat, you may not see me again until the evening hatch. Yeah --- it’s a problem.
We drifted on the river in and out of shadows below the cliffs. It was a cold morning. I knew it would be hot later. It had been the same thing the day before.
It was just cold enough at night to build a fire in the wood burning stove. It was in the corner of the cabin and my brother had set the flue to burn all night.
It is hard to mess up a day of fly fishing on the Bighole River in Montana, but in the middle of a PMD hatch and rising trout all around me, I was trying my hardest.