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It had been a year and a day since we lost our friend, “Mooch”, to a long and bravely fought battle to cancer. A year before, a few of us were to get together for a fish and chill with our friend at one of his favorite lakes here in northern California, but unfortunately he went into the hospital for the last time days before the trip. So after a year, I decided it was time I finally made my way to the lake, and spend a day with “Mooch”. I arrived to find the lake at an all time low, due to our ongoing drought here in California, but something told me, today would be a good day. I slowly set up the Cuda14, and strung the flyrods in the morning warmth

As I paddled out it was very quiet, and I had the whole lake to myself. I paddled to one of our favorite spots, and as I arrived I was met to bait being busted from below by an unseen predator. As I made my casts into the boil, I knew it was “Mooch” showing me the way. On the first cast I was met with a nice thump, set the hook and pulled in a nice little large mouth.

Thanked “Mooched” for the fish, and after about ten minutes I had boated several cookie cutter large mouths, but I saw some bigger boils further down the shore so moved on, letting “Mooch” guide my way. As I arrived at the next spot, there was bait and fish busting everywhere, so started my casts and got a good thump and set the hook, only to find that it was a pike minnow, a native fish, but not highly prized, but very fun on the flyrod.

As the morning progressed, the weather was wonderful, with just the slightest breeze to make for a perfect drift for casting and covering a long steep shore line. After a half dozen or so pike minnows, I made a cast next to a submerged tree and got a very good THUMP, and set the hook, as it did several aerial displays, I saw it, SMALLIE, and a nice one and i knew it was “Mooch” saying hello, after bulldogging me I finally got it to hand

Thanked “Mooch” again for another species and made another cast and got a REALLY good thump and set the hook, and the rod bent way over and under the yak and then the fish started running, and pulling the Cuda14 out into deeper water. Spent a good 5 minutes fighting this fish with wild thoughts flying through my head. The way it was pulling I was sure this was a catfish, never caught a catfish on fly before so was really excited, when I finally got a flash of tail in the stained water I knew it was a good one. After almost ten minutes finally got it to the net, my first catfish on the fly, THANK YOU “MOOCH”!!

By now it was noonish and getting into the low 90’s, and I had a great morning with multiple fish and species, so decided to call it a day, even though the fish were still on the chew, and paddle back to the ramp. It was a great day with my old friend guiding my way and blessing me with fish, I miss you buddy, but you are always there with me on the water, so when ever I need to talk I will meet you there.