If Winter-Steelhead are the fish of a thousand casts…
…then Roosterfish from-the-beach are the fish of a thousand refusals.
But every once in a while, when you least expect it, one surprises you.
This afternoon was beginning to look like one of those days where the roosters never show.
We’d been spread out over a few miles and “at-it” a few hours and none of us were getting any shots.
It was one of the few times we were using ATV’s so I took the opportunity to “change-it-up”, and headed a few miles away to check-in on another beach.
It’s a beach that rarely produces, but it’s where I got my first big Roosterfish 5 years earlier so I still like to fish it when the situation warrants.
I knew I’d be pushing the limits of the 2-way radio range, but I’d worry about that when the time came…
…and it came quick.
Just as I was pulling up I could see them. One big one, and one bigger one. They were barely moving and could have easily passed as sea turtles, but sometimes you can just tell.
I sprinted up to their 10 o’clock position and fired-off the cast. The 12″ fly landed 5 feet in front of them. I gave it a quick twitch followed by 1 fast strip. The bigger Roosterfish calmly shimmied-up, opened her mouth, and casually ate the giant fly. Just like that. No comb, no high-speed chase, just an easy meal…
I almost felt bad setting the hook (almost). I reared-back and strip-set a good 3 or 4 times as hard as I could before the Rooster eventually shook her head and finally began to panic.
She turned for the mainland and ripped 100+ yards of GSP off the reel in seconds, and was still going.
With the 12 wt rod buckled and the Gulfstream Reel howling, I keyed the 2-way radio and started yelling…
“Fish On! Fish On! BIG ROOSTER!!! BIG ROOSTER!!!”…
“Dad!!! Brandon!!! I’m Hooked-up!!! BIG ROOSTER, GET DOWN HERE!!!”
…Still no response.
The first run was a marathon but the fish eventually turned. The long, forearm-aching job of line retrieval was underway when I heard my dad’s broken-up voice over the radio calmly say something like, “that’s me”.
Then I’d hear a few syllables from what sounded like Brandon but I couldn’t make out what he was saying.
I got the fish more than half-way in before she turned and started her second run.
I grabbed the radio and and tried again, “IT’S DOUG – I’M HOOKED-UP – BIG ROOSTER – GET DOWN HERE!!!”
It was another few minutes before I finally heard Brandon come over the radio, “Doug Are You Hooked-Up? Where Are You?”
20 minutes later I could see the dust cloud of Brandon’s ATV barreling down the beach toward me.
The fish & I were still tugging-it-out when he got there and Brandon immediately started getting some video.
Check out the short video clip…
Dad arrived next and all was well… He had the good camera …grin
She was an awesome Roosterfish and a new personal-best for me, but not the only one we got this trip. Check out the Baja 2009 fly fishing post and my Dad’s Big Rooster Fish he nailed two days earlier.