With more free time than usual this time of year due to the “Rona Waiting,” I was ready to get out and do some spring fishing on my favorite Montana river. After tying up a few dozen flies I wrangled up a couple of fishing partners that are also in the flyfishing industry, knowing they have been keeping themselves away from the riffraff and not out mingling too much with the townsfolk we set out in separate vehicles to go and spend some time on one of Montana’s Freestone rivers.

In the last few years, I’ve been so busy guiding on the river I haven’t had much time to fish it myself. Conditions looked good so I knew we had a chance at a Hoagie. Shortly thereafter I finished up the first session of rowing and my good friend Starr (a full-time fishing guide at Kelly Gallops Slide Inn) took over the oars and put me in the box.

Mini Dragon!

I had just tied on a fresh off the vice mini black dragon, which is one of my signature patterns that Umpqua is producing new this year for 2020 and available at your local shops. Using a G. Loomis 7wt Asquith I hit the spots precisely all day without fatigue. The true winner of my setup is the Scientific Anglers Sonar Sinking Line. It isn’t too aggressive and gives the ability for the fly to hover when need be.

Coming into a perfect run with a deep bucket below I made a cast tight to the bank and pulled the string and was instantly locked into the one. Everyone in the boat put forth top-notch effort and assistance and I could’ve asked for a better team to settle this up. My man William Joseph grabbed the net and took care of the business, that’s when I got the shakes and said I’m gonna throw up. Starr pulled us to the bank as I  relayed worries of heart attacks and throw-ups, we got out and treated the fish well.

Everyone wants to be the one who lands the beast but there was no negativity and just love from my boys who were with me knowing it was all teamwork.  All of us so happy to see a real one.

Article by John Bond (@john__bond), a veteran fly fishing guide based in Montana.

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