I tackled Saturday's conditions with two spinning rods, each spooled with 4lb line. I keep one holstered behind my back in my Badlands Black Jack waist pack while fishing the other. The pack is not built as a fishing pack, but I find it to be nearly perfectly suited to it. My 9.5ft G. Loomis Bronzeback was rigged all day with various jigs. I will always fish the lightest jig I can get away with, and on Saturday this was no less than an 1/8th ounce. My 6.5ft Crossfire was rigged with various plugs and crankbaits, although I did take a few fish on Zig Jigs with it as well. I switched between rods as the water dictated. Big sweeping holes and runs found a #7 or #9 Rapala Countdown swinging through them. Boulder pockets and distinct seams found jigs bouncing their way along their boundaries. For the first half of the day I caught only rainbows. The very first fish turned out to the biggest - a beautiful rainbow exceeding 26 inches that was around 8 pounds, although I'll admit I forgot to weigh it. I
By about 2 o'clock I came to a particularly rocky shoreline framed by high bluffs. Anyone who knows browns knows that they are likely to be caught anywhere, but they also know that quite often browns orient off a particular structure or stretch of water. Especially if their population isn't the dominant fish in the stream - then they really tend to just occupy whatever their favorite parts of water are, much like a bass. When you find these spots, you can often return to them time and again and expect the same results. The same is true of smallmouth bass in rivers -once you've identified a piece of water that holds them, you can almost always find them there.
My first brown was laughable. I was tending to a nest in my reel (something not all that unusual when winding on near-tensionless jig retrieves cast after cast). My jig dangled on a rod's length of line in a few feet of water, just off the bank. The nest of line was pulled from my fingers and up to the first eyelet as a nice little brown grabbed the jig that I must have been dangling on his nose. I stripped it back in like a fly line and fought the fish for only a few seconds before it flopped off. Funny, but it got me thinking as I entered that stretch of rocky bank. Turns out the browns were all holding tight to the bank on the outside of this bend. Some were sitting on what would normally be dry ground, others were deep against the sides of vertical rock faces, but each one was an arm's length off the bank. The second was a small one. The third was a savage individual that slashed my jig as I raised it from the water, like a largemouth inhaling a Zara Spook. He was a girthy fish with a lot of length, and was sitting in very shallow water over rocks that would normally be a part of the trail. I could see the crooked lower jaw clearly on each of the next two attempts to take a bait. I