Today I was excited to be floating on the American River with my first clients of this most unusual spring. The river is flowing at 10,000 c.f.s. ware it has been for about a week. I expected good fishing due to the stabilized flows. The high flow is just more of what the fish like – water. I met my friend, George Brown and his grandson, Dave, at Sailor Bar ware we launched at 7:30 . What a beautifull morning. We are all excited and rearing to go. I squeeze the black bulb sending oil and gas to prime the carburetor, and I give a wrenching yank on the pull cord of my old 35 horse Johnson and, vroom! She starts right up splinking and splanking, spittin and snorten, peeing a good stream and vibrating with two cylinders coming to life. We slowly propel forward through the pond and out towards the outlet to the cool flows of the American. I head for ware I have been having good consistent fishing this last week and anchor.
George and Dave cast their fast sink tips and shad flies with much anticipation of that pull that we as anglers crave like alcoholics, like drug attics. We long for another shot in the arm, that surging adrenalin, the explosion of nerve endings within young and old muscle alike that signifies a grab. Grandfather George is giving helpful casting instruction to his grandson who listens and begins to groove . His loops tighten and strengthen with purpose.. And they cast, and they cast… But, it isn’t happening. There is a tug here, another there, but for the most part the shad are not cooperating. We are enjoying the day, the sight of a huge otter rolling in the dirt on the bank. That was fun to see. I’ve never experienced such a large otter. Anyhow, I need to find the shad. I move the boat right , move left, up, down and all around . Nothing. Maybe it is the full moon…
And then I hear it. Sirens and red lights flashing from the dam. They are are readying to release more water. Turns out it came up a thousand c.f.s. This could be good , this could be, well, bad. Dam! I am thinking to my self, what a way to start my guide season. We have a pow wow and decide to keep fishing into the afternoon; what the heck. We are here. Let’s make the best of it. But first we will head down to the Sunrise area and have lunch. We need a rest. We need a break from the dull monotony of a slow morning of fishing.
Floating down I see quite a few large schools of shad. There were fish up ware we spent the morning, but maybe these fish will grab. We enjoyed our lunch break and conversations under the shade of an old oak tree. The rest was welcome. Okay. let’s see if we can locate some cooperative shad.
We do. Thank the river gods!!!!! It happens when it happens. Dave hooks a nice shad and then another and another, for while, on every cast. This goes on for about two hours. We are laughing and snapping pictures.
The heat of the day that can get a little repressive when things are slow, falls away. There is a comforting breeze on our happy faces.