Fins & Feathers Annual WGFF
We had the shop closed yesterday (sorry if that affected you!) as the Fins & Feathers crew all headed to the river together. This has been one of those rare, as is the only, days of the year when we all get together for a day of fishing. We all tend to fish quite a bit on our own or with each other on our days off, but never altogether, so it’s something everyone looks forward to every year as the weather warms. It’s not all fun and games though as the stakes are bragging rights, a yellow jersey, and the right to call yourself the “World’s Greatest Fly Fisherman” for a year.
The day started off with a gathering of the minds with bodies in close tow at our Bozeman fly shop around 6:30 (I was late per usual). High water and mixed rowing skills made the decision to head for the lower Madison the only sound choice in the mix. There was a little humming and hawing, but everyone obliged and we headed west as we do a hundred times a year, or so. No tricks or gimmicks in this tournament, just straight up biggest fish wins. Naturally, everyone puts a big streamer on and I wonder to myself if the fish care if it’s white, black, olive, or tan…thinking it probably matters more to me than the fish.
Overall, the fishing was pretty marginal as we turned very few fish. We did manage to completely ignore a pretty epic hatch of Brown Drakes with PMD’s and Yellow Sallies becoming prevalent later in the day. One would think that with all those bugs, high water and 6 streamers pounding away that we would have managed to gaff a decent-sized fish! It wasn’t meant to be and the winner won on a brown that barely pushed the 17” mark on the end of our very own dirty hippy, Nick Moses.
So, congratulations to Nick for a job done reasonably well. For the record, my cast before his got the fish jacked up enough to eat, so Nick just happened to be in the right place at the right time with a fired up fish, thanks to me! Nick is the first repeat champion, though technically he shared the title as WGFF with Jason all year. But now he can wear the yellow proud!