Delaware River (Between Pennsylvania and New York)

Zane Grey fighting a huge pike on the Delaware River. (Credit: R.C. Grey)

One of Zane Grey's earliest documented fly fishing photos was in Recreation Magazine's publication of the author's article, "A Day on the Delaware." (May 1902) The following excerpt shows the author's storytelling gift even in that early article:

I was reluctantly winding in my line, of which I had more than 100 feet out, when I felt a little bite and hooked what I knew at once to be a chub. I continued to reel in my line in disgust, when suddenly it became fast on something. It felt like a water-soaked log. I pulled and pulled, but could not get the line off. I did not wish to lose 50 feet or more of good line, so I waded out and down the side of the pool to a point opposite where I thought I was fast. Imagine my surprise when I got there to find my line going slowly and steadily up stream, through water that was quite swift. I could not believe my eyes, and was paralyzed for the moment. That chub was 6 inches long, probably, but he could never have moved the line in that manner. Reddy dropped his things and became interested in a moment, with his characteristic remark that “something must be doing.”

Then I struck hard, for I knew I had hooked a heavy and powerful fish.

At the first rush he took 20 yards of line and pulled my tip under water. The reel went around so fast it burned my thumb. With one yell I settled down to business. I knew my tackle and that if the fish could be kept in that pool he was mine. He made for the head of the pool and then he went from side to side in short, furious dashes My brother was yelling to me like a lunatic, and was running around snapping pictures of me with his camera. I controlled the fish perfectly for the first few moments of that struggle, and then, with what seemed to me a settled purpose, he started down stream. for shoal water. Below were swift and dangerous rifts for wading and I knew if he got in them I should lose him. Twice I tried to stop him, but each time I saw the wet line stretch with the heavy strain on it as he tugged doggedly; and fearing it would snap, I had to follow him. I waded down stream as fast as possible and as I climbed over a big stone in my way I saw the fish distinctly in the shallow water below'me. It was a pike, fully a yard long, and as his great yellow body flashed in the water, his head pointed toward the bottom and tail up. I groaned in spirit. He was not even tired and there I was, in a dangerous place to wade, a 5-ounce rod in my hands, and at the other end of a silken thread a monster.

Wading over a bad place I lost my balance and my thumb slipped off the reel. At that critical moment the pike made his fiercest, maddest rush. It was all over in less than a second. My reel overran, the wet line tangled and became fast, there was a snap, and I was looking miserably at a limp line that floated on the swift water in front of me. 

Fly Fishing In America
Delaware River (Between Pennsylvania and New York)