In 2005, I went to the Dean River.
I had not planned on going, but went when unexpected openings occurred for two rods.
At the time, I only had an older single handed Orvis 8wt. rod.
I had two lines on that trip: a double taper floating line and a a Hi Speed-Hi D10ft. sink tip.
One evening, fishing the sink tip, I hooked a very large Steelhead.
After the fish had taken large amounts of backing off the reel heading down stream,
the guide and I were forced to follow in the boat.
After a protracted battle, we exited the boat a couple hundred yards down river.
I worked the fish close and got a good look at it. It was around 38 inches in length.
Just as the guide was about to tail the fish, it thrashed on the surface and came free.
My Steelhead of a lifetime slowly swam away.
The fish had taken a fairly small nondescript nymph-like weighted black fly with a red head.
I retired the fly, but still carry it in my fly box.
Even though I now have several Spey rods, reels, and lines-- along with a wide variety of larger flies,
I take pleasure in occasionally looking at that little black fly, while wistfully remembering that evening on the Dean.