Last Sunday, my fiancé Lisa and I decided to take a “stretch break” during our drive back to Pullman. It happened to near one of our favorite runs on the Clearwater. An angler was fishing finishing up toward the bottom of the run, so we jumped in behind him. Lisa had hooked two fish here last weekend and wanted to repeat the performance. She was swinging the top half while I plied the waters below. We typically fish this run with 85-90 foot casts and hook fish from mid-river to the hang down. About 30 minutes in I hooked up near the hang down, it jumped twice then spit the hook. Knowing we had to get back on the road soon, I figured I blew my only chance at a fish. Four casts later in mid-swing I felt a pluck, followed by 3 seconds of agony, waiting for the fish to comeback. The loop slipped through my finger, line snapped tight, and my reel started spinning. I leaned heavily into the fish and the “sulk-fest” began. This fish subscribed to the tractor-trailer versus sports car mentality. He made two short runs, slashed at the surface a couple of times, then sounded and anchored himself out in the current. After enough side-pressure this beast relented and allowed Lisa tail him. What a brute, measuring out to 36 inches. Amazingly, the size 6 “Near nuff,” a pattern my friend Dave Clark invented this year for the Clearwater, remained firmly pinned in the buck’s nose. I unhooked him and held him in the current, shortly after he kicked free and returned to the shadowy depths. Unquestionably, the best pit stop of my life.