Robinson Creek lies just East and North of Bridgeport, CA. August 1977 was the first opportunity I had to go fly-fishing again since the visit to Hot Creek Ranch. I had spent the previous year building a new business and starting a divorce. I had been told that Robinson Creek held a substantial number of large Brown trout that had run up from Bridgeport Reservoir. Robinson creek flows out of Lower Twin Lake nestled high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In its lower section it twists and meanders through a big meadow just below Doc and Al’s Resort.
The first section of the stream encountered ran swiftly through a pine grove. The bottom of the waterway was covered with grapefruit and fist sized smoothed out boulders. In some places, larger boulders broke the current. It was mid afternoon. The sky was overcast and I could see darkening rain clouds moving eastward out of the mountains toward Nevada. I anticipated that a squall would reach me within the hour. I quickly rigged my Leonard and tied a # 16 Royal Wulff Coachman to my tippet (a good searching pattern) and hurried to the stream.
My first few casts along the edges produced two small Rainbows. I moved further down the watercourse through the grove to a pool about fifteen feet in length and eighteen to twenty feet across. I chose a midstream position in direct line with a large rock that broke the current into two sections about ten feet above me. After placing three or four drifts along the edge of the left side of the rock, I took two steps to my right and placed the Royal Wulff two feet above the right side of the rock.
The fly disappeared as a great shadow raced forward from under the rock. I saw the fish’s back as it rapidly moved upstream towards a large pile of deadwood and debris in the run above. I pressured the rod and palmed the reel to turn the fish before it reached the pile and certain break off. The rod bent deeply into the butt as I applied more pressure. Suddenly I heard a loud bang and saw a great puff of powdered graphite in front of my face – the rod shattered at the ferrule. I stood in disbelief as the tip section of the rod slid into the water and hung on the line as the fish entered the tangled brush. I threw what was left of the rod and reel, grabbed the line and dashed in pursuit of the fish. It reached the safety of tangles before I even got close. I spent the next half hour attempting to follow the line and leader into the maze of branches, roots and other assorted flotsam to extricate my trophy. No way.
I finally admitted defeat when the first claps of thunder and loud crashes of lightening cascaded from above. I had a long, wet walk back to my car.