These buffalo were too much to allow me to stay away. I stepped in the water at 1 PM and did not exit until 19:50. That is nearly seven straight hours of persisting in a current... very likeable indeed. The fishing was outstanding as would be expected. See previous post. I'll post some fish pictures later... in the mean time, here is what was unique about yesterday:
(1) There was a family fishing the river for buffalo when I arrived. They left only ~30 minutes before I did... they asked me for some of the fish that I caught. It was an interesting situation because I didn't feel good about turning over all of those fish to be axed... but if it would provide them food... but - food rich in heavy metals. I ended up giving them two buffalo fish. For some I said "too big" and let them go. They had rigged up a laundry basket on rope to lower down to the water (they were fishing from above) and scoop up the fish after hooking/snagging one.
(2) A conservation officer asked to see my license. He had to use binoculars to see it from above. First time that has happened to me...
(3) I got quite a surprise when out of nowhere a rock socked me in the right temple. Apparently a car must have shot it off the road and out and over the bridge... scared the heck out of me, and left some pretty good soreness.
(4) I fell in over my waders. No big deal because most of my body was already wet from grabbing/pulling/lifting/releasing fish. I stepped on a really slippery rock and my foot that was carrying all my weight on that step just went out from under me. Pretty funny.
(5) I did not catch a fish bigger than the beast from Saturday that shattered my rod. I did however catch three fish in the 16-18 lb range, and many in that were easy 10+ lbs.
(6) These buffalo are really interesting fighters: some just hold and bull and pull, and then eventually give up some grinding runs of sorts... while a select few just take off like rockets. Yesterday I hooked 4-5 fish that did that... It was crazy because I'd feel them running, then out of the corner of my eye I'd see this insanely large, jet-black-looking fish LEAP out of the water and belly flop back down - in a place that seemed to make no sense given the angle of my line and the point at which it met the water... apparently there was a lot of horizontal line hidden beneath the water - pretty cool thing to observe. When they leapt like that, they looked really short and fat, and jet-black - like a different specie of fish. In fact, I was sure that the reason these fish were running and leaping like was because they were a different specie - another type of buffalo I thought. That suggestion stayed with me all day because I couldn't land one of those beasts! They'd run like mad dogs and I just couldn't horse them in... I got a couple of them out of the pod and took them downstream to some calmer water, but they just kept going downstream and I couldn't stop them. FINALLY I was able to land one of these mystery fish only to find that at rest and at close range it looked just like all the other big mouth buffalo (only really big). These little sketches are my memories of what the fish looked liked when they leapt.
I think I'll always remember these buffalo.