I arrived at the Neshaminy Creek around 4pm, hoping that the trout I hooked last Friday might not spit the hook again. It's been over a month since the stream was stocked, and the smallmouth and sunfish have been more reliable than the trout. In fact, it seemed that the trout might have all been relocated to skillets. A red chironimid pattern had been working well for everything the stream has to offer, so I tied on a tandem in #16. It hasn't rained here in over a week, and the stream was running low. I drifted the tandem rig down one of the last riffles, and in a few minutes had a nice brown. I moved down stream a bit, and hooked another nice brown, but it did an incredible crocodile death roll, spitting the hook nicely. Here's a pic of the brown caught on a chironimid:
You might remember the "Rabble" thread, and this is the rabble stream I wrote about. The rock throwers arrived just after the second trout spit the hook, and did what rock throwers do. There was a midge hatch going on, and fish were popping everywhere. I assumed that they were sunfish, and decided to tie on a #18 BWO parachute. The first fish was a bluegill, and I was glad that I brought my 8 1/2' 4wt. I thought the rock bass and bluegill would be the fish du jour before I even arrived. The rises became more intense, and I allowed myself to imagine that there were still some trout left, and they were rising to dry flies. This hope required that I actually target the larger rise circles, and a nice brown took the BWO just as I had imagined! Well, there were still trout left after all.
I saw some really big rises downstream, and there was no mistaking them for anything but trout. After sliding down a hundred yards, I cast to another rise, and had another trout in hand. A couple blugeill followed, as well as two nice smallmouth bass. The later have been taking my smaller nymph and chironimid patterns for the last two weeks, but I was now interested in trout. I ignored the smaller rises, thinking that the sunfish might put down the trout. After an hour, I had caught five brown trout, and was thrilled! I had a smile across my face, but there wasn't anyone left to see it. Even the rock throwers had left, and I was alone in paradise.
The thought of re-tying my much abused fly had entered my mind briefly, but things were too hot for that sort of nonsense. I applied a small amount of floatant to the BWO before the first cast, and decided that casting to rising fish didn't require a fly to float for more than a couple seconds, so a an extra false cast to dry the fly replaced any drying and paste. Another brown took the BWO, and this was a very hard fighting fish. When I finally got it to the net, it was bleeding (but not hemorraghing). A couple of bait fishmermen had shown up, and I asked them if they'd like the to take the trout. They didn't have a stringer, and I was left wondering about the fish's health. After watching the trout swim in my net for a few more minutes, I decided it might be best to eat the poor guy. One brown trout didn't seem like much of a meal, so I cast to another rise. A fantastic rainbow took the BWO, and I now had a meal. My son was still home for a 3-day weekend, so I decided that one more trout would make everyone happy.
You have to recall my comment about neglecting the knot and leader. I had netted seven trout, two smallmouth, a couple of sunfish, missed a few strikes,
and was whipping my fly dry between casts. See where this is going yet? I cast to a nice rise just across stream, and it was gulped down immediately. This was the fight of the day, and I was really excited. I had left my net on the bank, holding the brown and rainbow. The two bait fishermen had abandoned their fishing, and were cheering me on. I decided that leading the trout onto the shallow bank would be the best course of action. He fought hard, dove deep, and ran a few times. I had been fighting the bigger trout on the reel today, especially since I was using 6x and #18 fly. The leader was within 20 inches of the tip top now, and the I saw a beautifully large and colored rainbow darting back and forth in fron of me. I gave him a bit of line, and got it back again. This fish showed little sign of tiring, but I decided to horse the trout in..... SNAP!!!
I was disappointed, but had netted seven trout already. I caught this fish because trout number six was bleeding, and the irony of having number 8 swimming around with a BWO in its mouth was immediate.
I've always been one to check ferrule tightness on a regular basis while fishing, making certain that hooks remained sharp, and tying new knots after a single decent fish. That knot held up above and beyond the call of duty, and I was more than a bit disappointed with myself. I was delighted to have caught so many trout on a dry fly (more than ever before!), but hope that last trout survives long enough to make it to someone's skillet. The water was markedly cooler today than it had been all of last week, and the temps are forecast to remain low for the following week. I've always used the largest diameter tippet possible, but have moved to smaller flies and and lots of 5X and 6X in the past year. I was using my beloved 8 1/2 4wt ZXL today, and it did a great job of protecting my tippet far longer than should have been expected. Now I'll just have to do my part to protect knots......