I threw some stuff in a bag, grabbed my hammock, and went to bed. I woke up at 12 am and started driving to the Little Red bright and early Monday morning with plans to camp anywhere I could find 2 trees or sleep in my truck if needed...we have lots of trees so I wasn't concerned.
I arrived around 4 am and was on the water around 5. I wasn't expecting the skinny water that I found. The COE hadn't generated in a few days and the water was about as low as I have ever seen it. I drug through every shoal and had to walk a few. Good news was I probably wouldn't see any boat traffic (only saw a canoe on Monday). Bad news, I like fishing moving water more than dead calm...and there wasn't much in these conditions. I decided to basically leap frog all day from shoal to shoal hitting all the moving water I could find and skip the in between flat sections.
The fishing was off and on all day. But from 3 to 6 pm...epic. It was so good I think I could have caught a fish on the bank.
Fished until I couldn't see, no chance I was leaving that bite, and paddled out in the darkness. Found those 2 trees I needed and was out before 9 pm. Woke up to a heavy mist on Tuesday. It was so thick I thought I was being waterboarded. It was 4 am and I was excited about searching for the browns I hadn't located on Monday. I packed up my camping gear. 5 minutes later (the beauty of hammock camping) I was rigging up my 5 and 6 wts and driving to a different section of the river.
Now you're probably hoping for a awesome fishtale, but it was a day of disappointment...sort of. I caught several browns but the big brown I stalked for an hour got the best of me. Fly fishing from a kayak has it's up and downs...this was a down. I got the eat, the brown went real far, real fast, jumped over a tree...not really. But high enough to get a good view of an angry ~22" brown. It's powerful run put the kayak in motion...but I was moving perpendicular to the run and straight at the pod of browns. I didn't want to spook all those browns. Time wasn't on my side. I didn't have much time left to fish. Certainly didn't have time to scout new areas from my kayak. And the kayak was easing closer and closer to the other browns. What to do....
I made the decision to correct the kayaks path and maybe save the hole I had found. I made a bad decision. I picked the paddle up with my right hand and tried to play the fish with my left hand. As soon as I did it ran again and I couldn't manage the line properly. Wasn't long before I was holding a kayak paddle with my right hand and a tension free fly rod with my left.
Oddly, I wasn't bitter. Yes, the feeling was about as enjoyable as drinking spoiled milk. But I got the eat, played a beautiful fish for a minute or 2 (seemed like a lifetime), and learned something valuable. Don't be a dumb a$$...catch the fish you have on the line before you think about the next. I made myself repeat that phrase over and over again on the 3.5 hour drive home.