Tuesday, May 13, 2014

First Spring Fly Fish

On a fly tied by Art Marr in Sussex Corner I caught this beautiful 16" brook trout.
Speckled trout are an incredibly beautiful sport fish.  They have colorful spots, sleek lines, and a cool sport stripe on their pectoral fins.  When you pursue the speckled trout you chase poetry in motion.  The right light, the right water level, the right fly, and the right presentation at exactly the right place.  The poetry when understood is relaxing and soothing, even when you can't finish the poem.

Tonight I was lucky.  I got to finish the poem.  I have to be honest, I haven't read much poetry from the book of spring fly fishing but I thought I'd try it any way.  The warm evening had no flies, although I did have a couple land on my bare arm.     I had no ideas really what type of fly to fish.  I had asked around and some anglers with more experience than I had told me that muddlers and nymphs usually work for early season trout.

I had some nymphs and a couple of different color muddlers in my arsenal and so I decided to try Trout Creek.  I usually prefer fishing in back country areas but on this night I fished in the urban core.  My time was limited so I didn't want to drive that far to get to a hole.  I wasn't expecting to catch much anyways so I didn't think it would matter.  I first tied on a black and yellow nymph and cast it a few dozen times before I lost it when I struck it off a high gravel bar and I'm assuming broke the knot  at that time.  Next I tied on a mottled colored nymph.  I cast it for likely 20 minutes or so.  My confidence in my ability was waning with every cast.  Am I presenting it right?  Is this a good color for these conditions?  Are there any fish there to start with?  This is where fishing becomes more challenging.  You have to trust your skills and instincts.

The urban setting lead people to the shore who wanted to check on how I was making out and I humbly relayed to them my lack of experience.  A couple of fellas even stopped nearby to clean off their fiddleheads.  I was thinking maybe I should have went picking with them instead of throwing a fly all night.  The social setting made the night a bit more enjoyable though and I enjoyed the intermittent talks with friends and strangers.  It kept me at it, as I didn't want to be seen as a quitter or simply a fair weather angler.

Once again I changed flies going to a dark muddler and after about 30 casts on it with no action I thought it might be a bit to dark for the water and light conditions.  I shifted over to a green and brown muddler and then the action started.  It hardly hit the water the first time and a small trout rose to it but I was a bit quick and missed him.  I moved down stream to where a deep run entered into a pool.  I cast and floated all over the run before moving to the top of it.  From the top of the run I was casting across the stream and letting the fly move downstream to the back of the pool where it floated across the stream.  I then stripped it back up stream slowly.  I did this three times and on the fourth I hooked a nice trout, approximately 11" in length.

I moved out of the area for a bit casting across another pool where I had no luck.  I then moved back to the run and fished the pool again.  This time I hooked another fish and at first I thought he ran my line around a branch because it felt heavy and he didn't move from the bottom on my first light tug.  He then ran downstream a ways and then I realized, he wasn't caught up, he was a big fish.  I settled myself in waist deep water and picked my exit point where I could land my catch.  I kept the line taut and lightly wrestled my adversary to submission.

I had let my earlier trout go and decided that this big catch would be a great meal.  A part of me also wanted to keep it so I had proof that I had caught such a nice fish.  When I measured it, it stretched the tape 16" and was likely greater than 2lbs. I was giddy when I landed her and couldn't believe how my night had gone from just okay to incredibly great. That is part of the poetry in angling, the way in which your mood changes, or your perception of things is altered with every line.  It is so rewarding just being there but more so when the line stretches tight.  Tight lines to all you anglers out there...here is to a great 2014 season.
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