Contest: bag an L.A. River deuce, win a fab LARFF tee shirt

So here’s how my day went:

Actually, I got a rolling start last night by donating a couple of old reels to the Southwestern Council FFF charity effort at Orvis in Pasadena. That got me 20 percent off a new Battenkill III, which is a reel about as minimalist as they come. In other words, the palm of your hand and fingers supply most of the drag to slow a running fish down.

In other words, it burns so good.

A.M. off to the L.A River with my 5 wt., armed with a fine new line, new leader and, of course, the new reel. Throw in, hook up within five minutes (rare) and — bam — knot fails after three sharp tugs. Blame the new 5x leader, curse the gods, curse the river weeds, curse anything but the fish. From the size of the pull, think the better of a 5x leader and get on down to a 2x. Toss in, wait a bit — bam — same result, including failed knot.

Burn! Slowing down this carp old school gave me a hot palm. (Jim Burns)
Burn! Slowing down this carp old school gave me a hot palm. (Jim Burns)
And then this largemouth bass grabbed the same fly, a work-a-day glo-bug. (Jim Burns)
And then this largemouth bass grabbed the same fly, a work-a-day glo-bug. (Jim Burns)

Curse Orvis, maker of the slippery leader, curse limited knot skills, curse Lou Ferrigno, for no reason. Look up at monochrome sky and ask “why?”

Sit on rip rap. Retie. Walk upstream, toss in, hook up — bam — fish on. Big fish on. Mental notes intrude on sweaty, running experience … Play him on the reel. Slow down the narrow spool with palm, getting hot, ouch. Turn head, tire him out, another run, fingers, ya oh, man that smarts, more mental notes. What’s with the mental notes? Blame golf psychology book, “Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect” that is current read.

Walk back, walk back slowly. Runs again, remember that knot fail! Ease it up, running, slow him down.

In close now. Gold shine, liquid undulating gold. We see eye to eye. Back up, back up, and … he’s ashore.

Heart pumping, mental note, take the IPic. Fumble in pocket. Curse the white-hot September light, so bright I can’t really image the picture. A Mexican guy on a bike on the bike path, says “Take a picture,” as both a question and a statement. I think to myself, “but I am taking a picture,” and then realize maybe he wants to scale down the rip rap and take a snap of me and this California gold rush.

Elation. Snap. Fish back in water. Heart beats hard; left hand hurts; praise Orvis, praise my limited knot-tying ability, praise the very moment, alive, so very alive.

I right myself, put back in, same fly, and quickly get a different kind of tug, bass tug. Oh, yes, this is so easy, haha, nothing two-to it, and will it ever happen to me again? Snag an L.A. river deuce, same day, same fly.


Let 'em know you fly fish the L.A. River.
Let ’em know you fly fish the L.A. River.

In honor of this twofer, I propose an unofficial contest: if you hook up, two different species, same day, same fly, send me the story and pics, I’ll send you an lariverflyfishing tee shirt. Only got three left from the derby, all extra large.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

8 thoughts on “Contest: bag an L.A. River deuce, win a fab LARFF tee shirt”

  1. Equipment failure is more than half the battle. The remainder is your talent and a dash of luck. What say ye? jane

  2. What goes better than fishing and beer? Get your fly fishing on at the river then celebrate your catch (or happily mourn the time lost in contemplation) by joining LA River Kayak Safari at ariverside pop up beer garden at the LA River on Sunday Sept 28 4-8 pm at the Frogspot, 2825 Benedict St. LA Ca 90031

    Bike up and walk up accessible from the river path or drive if you must. Five breweries (Deschuttes, Alaskan, Big Sky, Dogfish Head, and Samuel Adams) along with two great bands Dezign Flaw and Latino rockabilty stars the454s. Food Trucks.

    Your admission ($22 presale online or $20 at the door) includes two full pint pours, two 4oz samples of specials, a commemorative stainless steel mug, live music and riverside camaraderie. All proceeds go to sponsor Free Community Paddle evening events of LA River Kayak Safari, the local river guides.

    Pre-sale tickets can be had here:
    Reply · Like · Unfollow Post · 2 minutes ago

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