Another fine year in the 2nd annual OCC fly fishing tournament on the Truckee River down in beautiful Reno, NV. 14 teams this year ranging from local vets, teams from Oregon, Idaho and California, to a team of high school kids from Sparks. A little different format this year that I think made things better: still a two day tournament, but with two beats per day this year, rather than one. Last year, if you got a couple bad rolls when selecting sections (like we did), you were pretty much screwed (like we got). The beats changed a little bit too: shorter beats (still almost a mile long each), with some of the super unproductive sections from last year not included this year. Way better.
Kevin Weddle, the event creator/coordinator, did a great job again this year laying down some solid ground rules and putting together a damn good event. Even though we didn't win, we still had an epic trip, a damn good time hanging around some serious trout bums and familiar faces, seeing friends from out of town, and two amazing days on the Truckee River. Not to mention the $300 worth of swag Sam won in the raffle; reel case, waist pack, six pack of beer, some art, and a ton of flies.
The tourney went down like this: everybody rolled into the Patagonia HQ to check in and roll for sections around 8 am on the 22nd. Our first chance to get a look at the competition. We looked hard for Mike Sexton from last year, but heard he didn't make it this year... thank god... A bunch of new teams this year though. We pulled up early and there were already like 8 people inside eating doughnuts and coffee. By the time we left, the parking lot was packed with people strapping on waders and rigging rods.
Good thing we got a little luckier with our rolls this year on day one: Idlewild park and downstream of the McCarran Bridge. Two spots I've spent a bit of time in the past. We got to the river quick and Sam broke the seal with a moderate fish after a slow hour long start. We worked up from the Booth St. bridge and before we broke for lunch we had about 7 or 8 fish to the net with two at 19.5 inches... a pretty f#$%in good start!
Right when we hit the McCarran beat we immediately starting hooking up. Smaller fish, but as we saw last year: small, big, deformed... it doesn't matter as long as they're in the net. We unbuttoned as many as we landed but finished the day with BANG when I landed a 22 inch bruiser 5 minutes before fishing time ended. The last chance fish paid off this year.
When we checked back in at Patagonia that afternoon there were some long faces, which bode well for our 150 inches of fish at the end of day 1. The fishing seemed to be pretty much the same all throughout the river, slow with a couple of hot spots where people would bang 4 or 5 fish in 10 minutes. Tiny Baetis was the hot fly amongst all the teams. We though for sure that our last chance 22 inch toad would be the big fish (last years big fish was a 21 inch bow), but the high school team came back with a legitimate 24 inch FATTY brown trout they caught on a copper john nymph (really?). That crushed our fish and our hopes, but that frown turned upside down when we found out we were in 1st place going into day 2 with a 22 inch lead.
That night we chowed on Slice pizza and beer and heard some crazy... CRAZY... fish stories. There's nothing like a bar full of fisherman... "Oh ya... I hooked this one fish... had to be 30 feet long... I didn't even know they had sharks in the Truckee..."
We probably should have just called it good after the pizza, but ended up at the cal neva, hammered, gambling, and getting our asses kicked at ping pong by some Serbian guy the size of a house. He schooled everybody, sweating like a pig.
The day 2 morning was super slow, and I'm not talking about the fishing. All night the night before I wanted to get back and tie some flies for the next day, which I did, but I waited waaaaaay too long. There were some new flies in my box the next morning, but I didn't even remember hitting the vise. Needless to say, those flies looked like they were tied by a blind man. They caught fish, but they all started to fall apart after one or two hook-ups. All the REALLY jacked up flies, I gave them to our buddy Ray... who was also competing... don't tell Ray...
All we needed to do on day 2 to lock up the "W" was to stay consistent and not get a shitty roll for our beats.
We got a shitty roll for our beats... and Sam proceeded to only land one fish... all day...
Team Master Baetis conceded to 3rd which didn't pay... 3rd out of 14 ain't bad. Still had a lot of fun, and we beat the fishizzle out of Ray and Luke who didn't mark a fish between the two of them on day 2. We may not have sipped from the trophy, but the crow those guys were eating was just as sweet.
The OCC is gonna happen again next year, same bat time and channel, and if you're into having fun with good people on a blue ribbon trout river, with a little competition thrown in there, come down to Reno and show your stuff. Next year team Master Baetis is bringing it home for real.