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Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:53 am
by jbenenson
My trip to the San Juan over Valentine's weekend was successful because of the fish that I caught and the fish that I didn't. In that order...

I had a great float trip down the river. When we got to a good run for wading I rigged up my Yamame and of course got the heckling that I expected. The guide was skeptical that I could land a San Juan-size fish without a reel or conventional line and the heckling increased when the first fish broke off. As you can see, the next one didn't. I caught a very nice, powerful 18" brown trout in the cold water. He fought vigorously and the guide was beyond excitement as I fought it. He finally netted it and said that watching me catch the fish was one of the most amazing things he had seen on the river.

Yamame - San Juan Brown 021410 (resized).jpg
Yamame - San Juan Brown 0210
Yamame - San Juan Brown 021410 (resized).jpg (171.44 KiB) Viewed 8960 times


The fish I didn't catch: All the boats put in at the Texas hole, a very deep pool. Using conventional tackle I got a 7" rainbow on the line almost immediately. As I was bringing it in, out of the depths came an enormous brown trout -- the largest the guide had ever seen on the river, estimated to be 29" -- and grabbed the 7" fish. The guide went crazy and urged me to pull it up to the surface near the boat as quickly as possible. The monster fish held on to the little fish, with me pulling on one end and it on the other. I did get it very near the boat but as soon as it saw the boat and net it let go. There was no other alternative to "catching" it since it wasn't hooked; just seeing it was a great thrill.

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:29 am
by CM_Stewart
jbenenson wrote:the guide was beyond excitement as I fought it. He finally netted it and said that watching me catch the fish was one of the most amazing things he had seen on the river.


That's how it's done. One guide at a time!

Way to go!

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:24 pm
by wrknapp
Great job! Beautiful fish.

I once was trying to hook some whitefish in fast water on the Hoh river in Washington State. I landed a couple on my beadhead nymph and saw something big come after one. The whitefish disappeared in a blurr and then I felt a heavier, stronger fish. I finally landed a 20" plus bull trout/ dolly varden. The hook had pulled free of the whitefish and stuck in the jaw of the big char.

Randy

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:04 pm
by jbenenson
I wish that my hook had pulled free and the monster had gotten hooked. Of course, since the San Juan is a tailwater, we were using midge pupae flies, size 24-28. I have no doubt that the fish would have straightened the hook. Some fish aren't meant to be caught :?

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:36 pm
by Red Raider
Congratulations on a successful trip. Your experience gives me the courage to try my Yamame on the San Juan real soon, just not Texas Hole.

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:19 pm
by rsetina
Nice fish! Congratulation on landing such a big one on your Yamame. And like CM said, "one guide at a time."

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:21 am
by jbenenson
Thanks guys. Our most successful fishing was the stretch of water upstream from the oil rig parking lot. It's not too crowded at this time of year, so if the weather cooperates go for it.

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:30 am
by Daniel @ Tenkara USA
Great fish, and very nice picture! Congrats.... no need for a registered record, I'm sure the memory stands.

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:25 pm
by jbenenson
When the guide learned that an IGFA candidate fish must be measured twice, hung (by the gill opening) to weigh it, and photos taken, he easily convinced me that trying for a state record rainbow wasn't worth harming a beautiful San Juan fish. Never mind the monster brown, I caught a number of rainbows over 1 lb. that would have qualified (with conventional gear only :x ), but that happens every time one catches a few fish on that great tailwater.

Re: Yamame on the San Juan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:06 pm
by rsetina
jbenenson wrote:When the guide learned that an IGFA candidate fish must be measured twice, hung (by the gill opening) to weigh it, and photos taken, he easily convinced me that trying for a state record rainbow wasn't worth harming a beautiful San Juan fish.


Good call in my opinion too. Nice to read that you felt a record wasn't worth harming a fish. Thanks!