Well I figured I would type up another update from my rookie season of flinging flies.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to inherit my father's old fly fishing gear. This gear was bought in 1992 and used on two fishing trips and has been in storage ever since. My father is not known for his patience, and decided to stick with what he knew (spinning gear / bait fishing) After catching him up with some of the fly fishing adventures I had gotten into over the summer he suggested I take his gear and get some use out of it, seeing as to how I've got the fly fishing fever.
So, long story short, I got a new vest (which I desperately needed) plus an Orvis Battenkill 5/6 reel (made in England) and a Sage Graphite III 9' 5W GFL 590 RPL rod. Now to put this in perspective, up to this point I had only been using a $100 Walmart rod / reel combo, so yeah this was an unsuspected/awesome upgrade.
So the next day I got a buddy to tag along for a session. I wasn't able to bring the reel with me, as the line was over 20 years old, full of cracks and memory, and pretty much unusable. I grabbed my old reel and my new-to-me Sage rod and went out in the hopes of hooking into something. Well of course this would be the time to get skunked. Both of us were unable to bring any fish to hand in over 5 hours of fishing. I had problems all day with the takes. I must have had over 20 different strikes on my flies and was just unable to set the hook properly once. I even had the same fish strike my fly 3 drifts in a row without being able to get him. Not wanting to push my luck at home with the mrs. I decided to give up, skunked, but at least happy to have had a chance casting with my Sage rod. What a difference it was for me compared to my old rod.
For the next full week I was unable to sneak out and wet the line once. The anticipation was killing me. I was able to get down to the local fly shop and get my Orvis reel rigged up with new line. Decided on Rio Gold. Once that was done it was just a matter of working in some "me time" into my schedule, and wipe off the skunk from my last outing, breaking in my new gear at the same time.
Well yesterday morning I finally got my chance. Wasn't able to find anyone else able to attend, so it was a solo mission. Got up 5am and drove out to my favorite little stretch of river. There was not another soul to be seen - perfect. When I got down to the river edge I noticed a pretty distinct hatch going on. Threw on a trusty old caddis #14 and got to work. I instantly fell in love with the feel of my new setup. The combination of the rod, reel, and new line improved my presentation and casting distance quite a bit. My caddis was floating down onto the water so gently. This time, unlike the previous trip, I did not see one fish break the water. I was amazed that with all the insects flying around and dropping down onto the water that I did not see one fish rise. I decided to switch up tactics because I was damn sure not getting skunked again. Threw on a wooly bugger and pounded the banks, wading down the full stretch of water - nothing. Before heading back upstream I stopped and examined one of the pools I had just finished tossing my streamer in. I was able to see quite a few small trout, all feeding off the bottom. I made the decision to try nymphing for the first time, as streamers weren't working for me, and I still hadn't seen a fish rise all morning.
I had read up on nymphing but had never gotten around to trying it. I figured no one was around to laugh at my mistakes, and I wasn't having any luck with anything else, so why not.I had a whole assortment of nymphs to choose from, so before rigging up I picked up a rock to examine what was in the water. Threw an indicator on the line, then chose a nymph that looked close to what I had seen on the rock and then another weighted nymph (which I believe was a bead headed hare's ear) from the assortment. Crept back up on the pool I had seen fish eating in, and tossed out my tandom at almost a 45 degree angle. It took a few drifts to figure out the whole drag thing with the indicator, but on the third pass through the middle of the pool it happened. I had read quite a bit on what to look for with my indicator, but wasn't sure how it was gonna look in real life. My first strike was quite noticable, as my bobber went under. I lifted the rod, set the hook, and fish-on. Quite a big rush came over me, as I had smelled of skunk for over a week, and was now using a technique that was still foreign to me, but yet pulled it off. Brought to hand a nice little brookie to break in my new rod / reel, break the curse, and not to mention, my first fish caught with a nymph...
The success seemed to continue on as I waded upstream back to my starting point. I lost count after about 10 fish, and both of the nymphs were seeing action. I had read somewhere that you aren't nymphing right until you've snagged bottom and lost flies. This happened to me about half way upstream. Lost both my flies moving from a deeper section to a shallow section. I didn't adjust my indicator placement, so I knew I only had myself to blame. Tied on another duo of flies and continued on...stopping for a minute to take a few scenery pics...
Finally I came back to the honey hole where I had started....approaching from downstream I went into ninja mode and crept up into position...casted into some prime holding grounds, and a couple seconds in to the drift - bam - fish on...biggest of the day for me.
My very next cast back in to the hole I got another first. Seen the bobber dip, and more importantly felt the tug. I instantly got excited because it felt like I had a big fish on. As I brought the line in I noticed it wasn't a big fish, but two smaller brook trout. My first double. Now, to be honest, when I went to net them, I scooped up the fish at the end of the line first, and must have caused some slack because the fish on the hook above managed to get free before I got a hand on it.....so does that still count as a double? I know I am going to count it in my books as one, but is it legitimate? Regardless, I called it a day after that, considering it an exclamation point on the trip.
Anyway, it turned out to be such an awesome day. Wished I could have had someone with to share the enjoyment, but there's just something about being on the water by yourself that is rewarding in its own way. Left the river thinking "why have I not tried nymphing before today". Now I sit at home, in anticipation for my next outing.
P.S - sorry for the long-winded nature of this post.