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You can see from past blogs April (Elk hunt 2011) and (Stonefly’s, BWO’s and lessons learned—spring fishing on The Joe), what I mean by I have a love hate relationship with the St. Joe. There are a couple other things that make the St. Joe hard to love and that is the fact that after the spring runoff you are never alone on the weekends and the St. Joe has one of the largest “tube hatches” around.
Well in July it worked out that I had a long weekend after the 4th so I figured that as I had Monday the 8thof July off and most everyone else would have to be back to work I decided that it was time that the Joe and I have another go at it.
I was up and out the door and 3hrs later rigged up and on the water above the town of Avery, with no one else in sight. The first place I stopped I notice several Stoneflies fluttering about and hooked into a few decent fish and after a little bit I move on up the river to the next likely looking place to fish. It had a nice little gravel beach and a deep run between two riffles.
I decided to start just above the lower riffle and work my way up to the next one. With a Stimulator tied on, I had a very slow start. With only 3 fish landed, I waded out as far as I dared into belly deep water so that I could cast over the current to the other side of a great looking seam. A beautiful drag free drift of my fly and a huge mouth swam from the depths to engulf my fly. I raised my rod and set the hook; gave a war cry and the fight was on. There is nothing in this world like the sound when a fish is peeling drag. The fish first ran for cover behind a large rock down below, I put right side pressure on it and began moving myself to shallower water. The fish decided he wanted to go below the large riffle to the next pool so with left side pressure and me in hot pursuit (I don’t run for most things, but this I ran for); I finally convinced the fish he needed to stay in this pool.
So with his mind changed the fish decided that he would charge me, reeling as fast as I could and some more fast foot work, he took off for the other side of the river again. More screaming reel and more side pressure finally with this beast in shallower and slower water I got him in the net.
With a quick set up of the camera I did manage to get a few pictures of this, my biggest fish to date an 18” beauty that I caught on my new 4 weight rod.
I saw a total of 6 other fisherman on the water and no “tube hatch.” I landed and released a great fish and was headed home to tell Britt all about the day I had on the Joe. Might even say I got myself a little payback for April.
Until next time;
Bent rods and screaming drags.