Journal of Dan T. Cook - Fly Fishing the Globe
Traveling 75,000 miles around the world in search of fish and friendship.
July 5, 2007 - Location: In a beautiful valley beside the Delgermoron
Happy 4th of July to all our friends and family back in the U.S.A! Since our last update we haven’t moved camp at all.... which I think is a first since we’ve been on this adventure. Not that we haven’t been busy..........
Andy from Fish Mongolia allowed me to join an enthusiastic and amiable couple from Scotland on a 3 day float down the Delgermoron (don’t forget “moron” means “river” in Mongolian). We had a great time and the trip was far from ordinary. It started off with a bang when I landed two Taimen before 11 o’clock on the first morning. The first was a baby and the second was a beauty. What made it even more rewarding was that I was literally hanging off a rock face when I made the cast. Unlike the violence involved when a Taimen takes a surface fly, when you hook a Taimen on a streamer it feels more like you’ve snagged a wheelbarrow full of bricks. It’s easy to initially mistake it for a snag. Next, you feel the massive head shakes in an attempt to lose the fly. Then all hell breaks loose. With two fish landed so early in the trip I was expecting days full of fish fights and sore forearms. Strangely, those were the only two I caught during the trip. This is not to say we didn’t have a blast. Steven and Nicola from Edinburgh provided great company, even better drinking companions and each even managed to land a Taimen of their own. One highlight of the trip was getting caught in a raging lightning and rain storm that sent us scrambling to build a make-shift shelter and a bonfire that could have been seen from space. Another was an impromptu invitation to join a large family picnic along the river. In traditional Mongolian hospitality we were immediately seated among the family, given a large bowl of cooked meat (beef this time.... thankfully) and offered a drink. I asked for a beer and was given 1.5 liters of the Mongolian favorite. I love this place!!!
Upon our return to ger/base camp, we heard that the anglers who had stayed nearby were only a bit more successful. The catch (pardon the pun) was that they had seen plenty of big fish (16 that day) but only caught one. Even though Taimen can usually be counted on to terrorize mouse and big streamer patterns, a ratio like that definitely meant it was time to change strategies. Although somewhat skeptical of my own intentions, I grabbed a 7 wt. Sage Z-Axis, tied on a double nymph rig and walked 100 meters downriver from camp. First, I caught a little Grayling on the top nymph. Then I lost the whole rig on a snag in some fast water. Ignoring the urge to return to camp for a couple of pre-dinner beers, I replaced the rig and continued to fish. I felt a heavy pause in one swing and gave it a tug just in case. Next thing I know a big beautiful red tail made a huge swipe across the water and the fight was on. There were a few challenges to face in order to land this hog. #1, I had a 7 wt. rod instead of my beefy10 wt. Xi2. #2, the size 12 nymphs were attached by 3x tippet. #3, there was a very strong current in the middle of the river. #4, the river bottom was slipperier than a snail in a barrel of snot (could anything be slipperier??). After 20 minutes and a couple of deep runs into my backing and confidence (as well as chasing her about 150 meters downriver), I grabbed her tail and gently escorted her to a nearby rock for some photos. She was a beauty.... over a meter and around 25 lbs. It was probably my most rewarding catch as I had changed to somewhat unproven tactics (the nymph she took was a Grayling pattern I purchased in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory back in 2003) and the gear was pushed to the limit. It was so satisfying that I’m thinking of using lighter-than-normal gear on all my future fishing endeavors (although I might stick with a reasonable tippet J)! Seriously though, I guess it just proves that a little bit of creativity and a bunch of luck sometimes produces a successful result.
I’ll be accompanying Andy on an exploratory trip to the upper reaches of “River X.” This should prove to be rather productive and enjoyable..... save for the ravenous insects that inhabit the area.
I hope everyone is enjoying their Summer (or Winter for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere). Thank you to everyone for their continued support and feedback. Cheers!