Winter Day Dreaming

Winter Day Dreaming 

Another installment of Dick Magill. Angler. Thanks for the great summer story today Richard. I too am looking forward to the summer season. Not that I don’t like spring, and I don’t really like winter…summer keeps my motor running. Long days, warm evenings, frothy Margarita’s, PMD’s. Ahhh. Summer.

I’m getting really excited about the upcoming season. It’s not that the Winter fishing on the Mo isn’t good, because it can be amazing. There’s just something different about the warmer months here in Craiglandia. The long summer dayz, followed by warm nights and cold PBRs. The small town of Craig Montana really comes alive. People flock from all over the world to try their hand at fooling these world class trout. 

Long dayz. That’s all it really is. A long Daze.

I like to wake up early on dayz I hit the water and throw some fresh grounds into a French Press. It takes a few minutes for my cast iron to get hot, but it’s always worth the wait.  When it’s just about right, I load it up with a generous amount of bacon and just let it do its thing.

I can normally down a cup of coffee before the bacon is done, and in that time I scramble around my small fishy apartment gathering the tools of the day. Once the bacon is done, I throw a couple eggs into the hot grease. The eggs cook much faster as I hardly have time to pour my second cup of coffee. 

After eating, I’m on to my third cup, and the sun is just beginning to flirt with the horizon. My rods are always rigged to some degree, so it doesn’t take very long before I’ve got them clustered in a fist along with my boat bag. The remainder of the coffee goes into my trusty travel mug and I’m out the door.

If you have never had the joy of visiting little old Craig, you should know that it is small. Very small. It usually takes about four minutes for me to cross town on foot and get to Headhunters Fly Shop. My HQ. 

After bull-shitting a bit with some of the local guides, I meet up with my buddy Peter. There’s no shortage of fishy people in this community so there is always someone around willing to split the rowing. Peter is definitely one of the fishier dudes I know and also calls Headhunters home. 

A short drive and we arrive at the boat launch ready to splash. It only takes a few moments to transfer all applicable gear into the drift boat. On that particular day I almost dropped the ball. I almost forgot to bring a speaker.

You see, some people like to float in silence. Not me.  I like music when I’m fishing so I’ve put together a couple rad playlists that flow all day. There is the Chillin’ playlist for most occasions, and the Super Chillin’ playlist for when the day gets tough. 

Once the tunes are blasting, it’s time to pull out one of my favorite streamer rods. It’s an older 690-4 Sage Response. Not everyone’s favorite, but just right for me. This is when I really Zen Out and get in the zone. Constantly scanning down river and identifying my next target.

The brand of streamer fishing I love is very aggressive. Heavy lines and streamers to get down to the strike zone immediately. Short accurate cast delivered right to the doorstep of hungry trout.

When fishing this way, it’s very important to fish your cast. What I mean by that is simple. If your streamer doesn’t quite land exactly where you wanted it to, do not pick it up and send it back in only to have it land six inches from your initial cast. Fish the first cast. Let the that fly marinate in the strike zone. Give yourself a fighting chance. Doing this will surely help your game as you will start to fish more efficiently. 

On a good day, it doesn’t take long to boat the first couple of fish and after doing so, it is typically time to switch anglers. We row over to a little island and drop the pick close to shore. I’ll normally pull out some extra line and throw the anchor up on land for a little added security. You definitely don’t want to be responsible for getting stranded on a little island while your drift boat does exactly that. Drift away.

Once the boat is secure, I normally do a bit of exploring on whatever island we made landfall. The day isn’t solely about fishing. Fishing is just a part of the adventure.

After our pit stop, it’s time for me to get on the sticks. At this point in the day the sun is high and the streamer bite has definitely slowed. We stow the steamer rod and grab my hopper stick. It’s a 690-4 Sage Pulse lined with Scientific Anglers Amplitude MPX. It doesn’t take long to see some tenacious eats.

These fish are mean and they know how to kill a hopper. Peter cleaned up for a while, maybe because of my sick rowing, but probably not. He’s pretty good. We switched anglers yet again, and I started lobbing a #10 Pink Donkey Kong Hopper at every inch of fishy looking water.

Then it happened. I lost the biggest Brown Trout in the river. Maybe. I cast my hopper to this bit of froggier looking water. It was almost still, the drift barely a snail’s pace.

Out of nowhere a toilet bowl flush engulfed my hopper. I was so surprised I set the hook like a mad man that just made his first BASS Master Classic. SNAP!!! The fish was gone. Peter got a better look at it than I did. He simply looked up and smiled. He said the dorsal fin on that bruiser was about 6” tall. Even though I never set eyes on that fish, I’ll definitely never forget it. 

We floated a long ways that day, as we typically do when the dayz are long. You fish hard, you row hard and you laugh hard. All good medicine. At the end of a magical day on the Mo you look back and relish everything the river gives you.

We talk about it while we break rods down and stow gear, often while enjoying an ice cold beer and a smoke. Once everything is squared away its time to head back to HQ .

Same crusty guides from the morning are on the porch telling war stories. The cooler seems as if it has a bottomless supply of cold beer. The world slows down and everybody is having a great time. This is Craiglandia in the summer.

I am very much looking forward to the long dayz ahead. Great people and even better fishing.

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