When I got the text from my uncle that we were going fishing, I knew it was bull trout. Since last April when I landed a dink of a bull trout with him, the fire has been growing and this was going to be the trip he got into fish. I was out of school, he got work off, rooms booked and flies the size of my dog, we headed south.
We rolled into town at about 11 that night, got supplies (beer and pizza like almost all fishing trips) and prepared to go into battle the next day. With bellies full and lines rigged with all the de-icing gunk we could find, we hit the hay with images of bull trout dancing in our heads.
We hit the water at day break and didn't see another soul insight; this was going to be a good day. The first pool we walked up on was a deep funnel with a long tail water, perfect for a huge bull trout to inhabit. But we were wrong, nothing. It was the first hole of the day though, cant let that get you down. After about 10 minutes he decided to head up river and I headed down.
The next pool I came upon was pretty narrow run, but boy was it ever deep. Casting upstream and letting my fly sink for a good 10 seconds I still wasn't ticking bottom. Regardless, there had to be a fish somewhere in those depths and about 10 minutes later I met him. I have this bad habit of losing attention when I fish for awhile and if this fish was like any other bull trout I have seen I would of been on the loosing end of the battle. Jigging my fly around about 6" under the water while stripping in and it exploded. This huge bull trout came out from the depths and crushed my 8" streamer, going airborne like an acrobat. I have never had a fish hit a fly this hard, especially a bull trout. This eat snapped me back to reality and as so many like to say, FISH ON!!!! This bull may have left the water like a freight train, but that was about all he had for fight, just a couple head shakes like your typical bull trout will do. My heart was racing as I landed this fish and he measured in at 27". My most memorable eat to date and definitely a nice fish.
I stayed fishing this hole, as if there was a fish like that in there, there must be something else down there. About 5 casts later I saw another shadow emerge. Stripping my fly in, it followed right to the top, jig, jig, boom, it took. I saw a flash and started laughing. A pike. Are you kidding me? I just drove 6 hours to wrestle with pike I can catch 10 minutes away from home. Oh well, it was another fish to hand. I found it very interesting to find pike and bulls in the same hole, which almost made it being a pike worth it to see the diversity this river offered.
After these two fish I packed up and headed upstream to see my uncle. Although he didn't catch anything yet, the story added fuel to his fire and we pushed further up river. We came upon probably the biggest hole I have ever fished and we knew this is where he was going to finally tie into a bull trout. After about 10 minutes of fishing he had a take...but missed. We gave the fish a couple minutes to cool down and tossed it back in. This fish was angry and wasn't going to miss a meal twice, he hooked into him and landed his first bull trout. Was only about 18" but his first bull trout and one of his most memorable (and that's saying something as the first fish he ever caught was a shark on the Jersey Shore).
After out two day trip he caught one fish and missed a pig who must knew what he was going, barrelling down over a water fall and breaking him off. I had landed 5 bull trout and 2 pike overall. It was a very memorable trip; my uncles first bull and the monster of a bull who went airborne which will be permanently engraved in my mind.