The cutbank of a river is a storied location in the realm of fly fishing. Flies are broken off on gnarled root balls, thick grasses, and precarious branches. Anglers are often left stumbling, slipping, and snagged. The evidence of their efforts can be seen in the tangled tippet and lost flies that look back at those of us who imagine brute-like brown trout lurking in the tight close seams below a hard to reach cutbank. Particularly difficult to reach cutbanks may seem like more trouble than they are worth but armed with some tactics for penetrating these tight spots, cutbanks can bring many a memorable trout to the net. Here are three I use when the opportunity presents itself.
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.
The floodgates of controversy are upon me. By daring to post Part 1 of my two-part blog post on The Least Discussed, Most Controversial Skillset on Any Trout Stream, I have, as predicted, been under harsh scrutiny and criticism from fly shops, guides, and the fly fishing community in general for addressing this widely known but little talked about fly fishing subject. Only a few have come to my defense. But I persist! ...Because while the featured image shows a beautiful stretch of the Bighole River, what it does not reveal is the author completely underwater after flawlessly executing a more common technique for falling in the river.
Across the river a trout is happily filling his belly with bugs.
“You make coffee?” He stood two feet away from me. Close, so his whisper sounded loud in the quiet while the others slept. “Nope.”
There was a time when drift boats were mysterious and distant to me. If I could one day “get a drift boat”, trout beneath magical rivers that were once unreachable would finally be within my grasp.