Hey Richard......mate!! I need help!!.... RICHARD!!.......RiiiiiiiiChaaaarrrrd!!!
NO answer again, the pounding rain and pea sized hail stones were slamming the shoreline almost horizontally and skimming across the lake in the gale force winds! Even though my buddy was only 25 yards away to my left sheltering in his bivvy, I knew there was little hope of him hearing me with the hailstones absolutely battering his bivvy....The 1st fish of the session was steam training away from me still and I could do little to slow her down at this stage. We were both fueled by adrenalin and the massive amount of oxygen the storm was providing while lashing us without conscience…
A minute or so before, I’d been sat taking photos and video from the relative comfort of my truck and truthfully marveling at the ferocity of the storm now hammering us…
The first storm cell hit us hard enough but the 2nd cell was something else altogether! It was during the height of the 2nd cell that the alarm remote sat on the seat next to me started screaming!!!!!!
The pressure was as low as the low hanging, ominous black storm clouds swirling around this section of the lake, my ears were popping and all exposed skin was being stung by the hail stones…As it was a lovely hot, sunny day not much more than an hour ago, I was still in a T-shirt and shorts.
A crack of thunder that sounded like it was sent directly from Mordor followed that made the ground shake!!! It sent a shiver of doom down my spine and for the first time in the last few minutes brought me to my senses! I remember muttering to myself something like, “What in the heck am I doing here right now!? This is not smart Wayne!!”
It was decision time-and it was a tough one....right then, my opponent hit the surface a couple of rod lengths out which surprised me, and I have to be honest with you here, I went for break and just hauled it's ass in; something I feel guilty about now thinking back on the situation but everything could have gotten a whole lot more out of hand in less than a blink of an eyelid! The situation was very dangerous!
By this time, the white capped waves that were hammering the shore were a couple of feet tall, the hail had eased but was replaced by near horizontal, monsoonal type rains. My biggest fear with 12 foot of carbon in one hand and the 42" landing net in the other (that I was really struggling with in the wind) was of course lightning; the very bright flashes of lightning were way too close to me for comfort and the thunder was deafening!
Being lashed by the rain, I was absolutely saturated with boots full to the brim, face and all exposed skin numb to touch with shaky, fumbling fingers; here is the scenario at this juncture:
While borderline hyperventilating I remember myself making all sorts of strange sounds and gestures while talking to both myself and the fish: OMG?...Oooow....O..omg...Come on baby, cummmmmmmm-on, I can do this…nearly there....OMG, this is stoooopid!! Three more feet.... Come on....you can do it....quick....don't you dare turn and run again now! So close…..
Her head was now over the draw string when a swirl of the wind picked the net up and turned it vertical to the water again.
I was battling my personal fears and having some real concern for the fish, this carp was now being pounded by the waves and situated between me and my out reached net.
Now up to my knees in the water with waves hitting my rather sensitive regions I made one last "all in" effort. It was now or never!!
I kid you not, I remember belting out a most primeval, "middle earth scream" and the next thing I remember is running as fast as I could to the truck in gurgling water filled boots, splashing through running water and deep puddles that were not there 20 minutes ago!! I threw open the hatch-back of the suburban and fumbled about for a floating retainer sling, a storm pole and a mallet. Two minutes later, I was sat dripping and shivering in the middle seat of the Suburban trying to take stock of the last 5 or 10 minutes....
Again, I'll be brutally honest here: All four of us here on this session were sat watching the storm brew for at least an hour as it headed slowly towards our section of bank-side, before it flanked and then very cunningly, surrounded us with it’s many individual swirling squalls. As I was the only one of the crew that had many times experienced the sheer brutality of these Idaho mountain thunder storms, I should have better communicated and been more forceful in suggesting that we reel in the lines and take shelter in the trucks; both for our own safety and of course for that of our beloved quarry here.
I made a serious error in judgement!
Luckily no one was hurt and the stunning looking Mirror only sustained a minor scrape to the gill plate which I quickly doctored with anti-fungal liquid just before the release....But again, safety first must always be foremost in our minds when fishing. Lessons learned and reinforced yet again!
Have fun but be careful out there…
Here I am absolutely soaked to the skin, freezing cold and showing off the beautiful result of my toils in the storm...I was very happy, honestly...
Tight Lines out there, be safe!