This year, Dec had one of those experiences that, to put it mildly, helps build your confidence. Here are Dec’s thoughts on experience and confidence.
[NOTE: Dec has good karma, and he cashed in a lot of it on this day. Please don’t come to Alaska West expecting to have a session like this in every run.]
It’s often said that “confidence in your line and fly is the most important thing.” Hell, I say it myself all the time. The trick is to have experience on which to base that confidence.
Enter king salmon fishing on the Kanektok River. I can tell you forthright that I approach king salmon fishing with a steelhead mindset — looking for one or two animals a day. You’d better believe in that fly and line you’ve selected! Searching, searching, seemingly casting blindly, as you ply through run after run with a fly and line that has produced nothing for what seems like too damn long. You begin to question your choices, and possibly yourself.
Then out of nowhere that miracle of miracles happens. Your line comes tight with a heavy sharp pull. Yeah baby! King on! All anxiety is immediately wiped clean. “My fly does work”, and “I did pick the right line.”
Several casts into the run, bam. Guide Justin came down to net the bright king. Our day was made. We caught one. I stepped back in and two casts later, another. Then another. And another. All I had to do was put the fly out there!
I was absolutely elated when king number five pummelled my fly. Imagine how I felt at number ten. Are you kidding me? Is this really happening? I’d heard about this kind of thing occuring on The K-tok, but in my several trips there over the years I’ve just had good, quality hunt-and-seek fishing. So when the FIFTEENTH KING SALMON went screaming downriver I just started to laugh. What fly and line I was using was the farthest thing from my mind.
After the sixteenth fish grabbed hold, I FINALLY finished the run. In all my years of fishing quality rivers around the globe, that session easily ranks in my top 5 all-time magic moments.
What line and fly was I using you ask? Does it really matter?