Video spotlight

Video spotlight: How to save the day on a trout river

Below, in the Orvis video narrated by Dave Jensen, is a great story. And it’s a familiar one.

Almost exactly two years ago, I was fishing what the locals had described to me as a great little grayling stream in eastern Alaska. This deep, slow channel that connected a network of ponds and lakes just teemed with native grayling, a guy at the bar in Tok Junction explained to me the night before. The ponds and lakes? Well they had pike, some of them pretty big. But the channel was home to trophy grayling, some pushing more than 20 inches.

So, I followed the instructions carefully—I’d scrawled them down on a napkin the night before. I strung up a supple 3-weight and wondered down a bear trail through spongey muskeg a high-bush blueberry patch, all the while wondering just how wise this little adventure was. I got to the little channel between lakes, and started casting attractor dry flies across the channel to the far bank, a sweet, undercut bank shaded by willows and certainly home to the biggest grayling in this stretch of water.

Nothing.

I switched flies. Still nothing.

So, I tied on small streamer— a black ‘bugger, convinced that 20-inch grayling would certainly eat a streamer. Any 20-inch fish would eat a streamer, right?

On my first swing, I got a strike, and within a few seconds, I was holding a foot-long pike in my hands. Pike. No wonder there were no grayling here.

I looked longingly back at my truck—visible in the distance a mile or so away, and a soggy walk through the muskeg and back through the blueberries. That’s where my 7-weight lay, stowed in the back, along with its reel, line and a bite tippet made up of a foot or so of 40-pound mono. You know, pike gear.

To make a long story short (and you can read the long story here), I ended up cutting my 3x leader back to the 20-pound butt section, just like Dave Jensen did in the video above, and I ended up catching a 36-inch pike. On a 3-weight. As Dave notes in the short video, it’s fun to adapt and improvise. And it’s even more fun when it pays off.

— Chris Hunt