We set off and arrive at the Skagit at 9:30am to dark, wet, westcoast weather, a nice change from 35+ degree heat. I was stoked to get the 4wt switch out and start tossing some bugs with the new skagit line. It performed flawlessly and was tossing some big patterns on a 8' type 6 and 10' of T-7. I was finally happy with how the rod performed and quickly started getting some bulls working green/black bunny patterns.
Susie started nymphing big stones for the bulls and missed a couple bites but wasn't a producer like previous trips. After 4 days with only a 18" bow that apparently didn't count she asked about swinging flies and stripping them with sink tips. This is the first time in about 7 years she has asked about fishing without the bobber, err indicator. I load up a versi-tip and the 8' type 6 matched with a small tube flash pattern. The 2nd run first day swinging she gets a taker. Panic sets in quick as this is the first fish that isn't a "visual" bite. She looses the fish as fast as she realized what had happened. The next 3 days she doesn't get a bite. And we work many runs and pools hard. With every day she learns the little tips and tricks in swinging and stripping flies. Now we all know the thoughts that enters an anglers mind when someone is getting fish and you are not. Even when I was getting bows on the dry she didn't give up and pick up the 3wt. She kept working hard and really working every run.
Last day we decide to put the boat in Ross and head up the channel mouth looking for a school of bully's. Wouldn't you know it, we found one, at least 20 deep. I get Susie casting a leech first and she had a couple followers no takers. We rest it for a bit and change back to the tube pattern. Again some followers and no takers. Next cast I tell Susie to start the retrieve earlier and strip faster. Right away she gets a bite and I can see she is about the give up on the retrieve when i told her to keep stripping faster. BAM! I see a big white mouth engulf the fly and a large flash deep in the pool. The 6wt bows right over into the water. She has hooked the big boy in the school. All I hear is "oh no, oh no, what do I do". She knew exactly what to do, she just hasn't hooked a fish of this size. While the battle was next to the boat another big boy came in and tried to steel the fly from the fish's mouth. Even a smaller bull came in to see what the commotion was all about. Finally, with all her hard work, it has payed off, BIG!
I will never forget that fishing moment for the rest of my life. The fish, the smile, the relief and celebration. We fished a bit more and lost a couple more fish.I had 2 rainbows follow the fly to the boat when they quickly darted away. I left the fly sitting there a moment and a big bully came in and bumped it with his nose. Some really amazing moments to watch. We head in as the heat sets in and have a rest. Then Susie asks if we can fish the "honey hole". I never need a reason to wet a line so we head out. Wouldn't you know it, first run through I hear her laughing, she is into another bull! This one on a perfect swing.
All in all it was a great trip of relaxing and fishing. The Skagit Valley is such an amazing place that truly offered us some of it's gems to appreciate and experience. It was the perfect place to celebrate our 11 year anniversary and have some incredible memories for life.