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Old 05-10-2013, 10:59 AM
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Default First Fish on the "DRY"

Amazing Dry Action….
If you fish enough, every once in a while, you will experience one of those amazing evenings. I am lucky enough to have some great water relatively nearby to fish. Yesterday, I and a couple of buddies, one guy new to fly fishing headed out. During the 1 1 /2 hr trip, we discussed having Jake “the newbie” catch his first fish on a dry before we ever wet a line. We hit the river when the sun is high, not a tremendous amount of risers, but enough to keep Jake excited. My buddy Adam and I coach Jake as to how to present the fly. The anticipation of helping a new comer to the sport catch his first dry fly fish was growing. Jake made many great casts, great drifts, but nothing. He did miss a few strikes and the small hole he was fishing went dead. We decided to move down river a bit. As soon as I stepped into the river, a decent fish rolled on the surface. It took much personal control not to cast a fly into that run, but we did promise Jake the first fish. I set Jake up so he is slightly up-river of the rising Brown. He made a great cast and drift, but nothing. I began to scan the rest of the river and realize that the river is literally boiling with fish all around. I turn my attention back to Jack. I need him to get a fish so I can start to fish myself. How long will this Hatch last, was making that “first fish promise” a bad idea. I again coach Jake about his cast, his mend, his drift, what portion of the seam the fish is using, etc. Another cast, great drift and a large Brown surfaces with the fly in his mouth…. I think, great, now I can start fishing….. Nope, Jake sets the hook to fast and pulls the fly right out of his mouth. Now, this whole first fish promise thing is killing me. I am in knee deep water with fish rising all around. Now, Jake can feel the pressure, he knows I want to be fishing. He must make it happen. I decide to sit down on the river’s edge and take notice of how many and where the fish I will soon be casting too are located. While my mind wonders about actually throwing a fly at these rising trout, I hear the tell-tale sound that all anglers have made at one time…. A “whoop”, FISH ON…….. As I watch Jake try to get the fish onto the reel, (I forgot how difficult that was when first starting the sport), I begin to throw out commands…. Strip, strip, strip, watch the log, the log, he is swimming for the log. Tension, keep tension on him, OK, you got him. Do you want help; I really need you to land this guy. Jake slides the net under the thrashing brown like he has done this hundreds of times. With fish in net, both Jake and I are shaking hands and smiling. I forgot just how exciting and rewarding it is too teach / help others learn the sport of fly fishing. Well done Jake.

Now it is my turn. I have a mental picture of the various locations that I have been watching fish rise. First cast, fish on. Good fight, decent fish, but I know there are many larger trout out there. I release the trout and make one of two more cast… Bang. Big fish, you know the type. The ones that swim right for the bottom and simply sit there. No head shake, no jumping, just weight. Lots of weight. I get the fish on the reel and start the process of getting it to move off the bottom. Using only 6x, I need to be careful not to pull too hard. The fish knows he is hooked, but he is still holding tight to the bottom. After more pressure is applied, he slowly swims upstream pulling my fly line with him. Not all the way to the backing, but close, very close. He then turns and swims right at me. You know this is not his first dance. I am reeling as fast as I can, but I can tell there is slack in the line. Finally, I again get the fish on the reel, after a few moments of spinning round and round with the fish circling me; I get him in my net. He is BIG, not the biggest Brown I have ever caught but Big. His has a Big head, too big for his body, the turned up jaw line, teeth, lots of teeth. Jakes makes his way over to see a good example of what size fish can be caught in this river system. He is amazed that fish of that size can be caught in such skinny water 18” deep. My day is complete, helped a guy catch his first fish on a dry, I netted a very large brown… it was still early in the day and I had a cold beer in the cooler. All in all, a great day indeed. The evening ended with many more fish being brought to the net. All top water action, various fly patterns. Some caddis, some BWO, even an attractor pattern thrown in for fun. I love Spring/summer dry fly fishing…
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: First Fish on the "DRY"

Great story Mike! Taking a buddy out tomorrow who has never caught a fish on a fly. Your story gets me thinking, though I'm not sure how patient I'll be when we only have a few hours on the water
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:26 AM
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Default Re: First Fish on the "DRY"

William,

I often take little ones, (kids between 6-13), but teaching a buddy is completely different. When teaching kids, that is what you are there for. When going fishing with friends, You are there to fish yourself.... But I will admit that it was a very rewarding to get him onto his first dry fly fish...
thanks
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: First Fish on the "DRY"

Good story Mike and I just had to laugh when you promised he could catch the first fish. That will be a lesson for me and long remembered.

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Old 05-10-2013, 01:13 PM
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Wink Re: First Fish on the "DRY"

Interesting. You don't often hear the word "amazing" paired with "dry action."
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: First Fish on the "DRY"

Thanks for the story. I bet you BOTH will remember his first trout for a long time. Mine came 47 years ago, and I still remember it vividly.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:07 AM
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Default Re: First Fish on the "DRY"

At least in my neck of the woods, the next 6 weeks or so are a great time to take new people out to catch their first fish on a fly. The bugs are active on the water, and so are the fish.

The waters I fish have great populations of caddis flies, which I've come to appreciate, especially for getting a new person into catching fish. Fishing caddis "patterns" on top seem to be ideal for the new fisher. The flies are fairly easy to see on the water, and it's ok (actually often preferred) if they are presented with a less than perfect dead drift float.

The strikes are aggressive so folks don't miss the fact that a fish took a swipe.Even if the beginner doesn't hook them all, the fact that they are seeing fish keeps the interest level high.

Maybe the nicest thing about it is after spending 15 minutes or so getting them started, they know enough to catch a fish or two. So they can more or less be left alone allowing you to catch a few fish yourself.

I'd encourage if you know someone who'd like to catch a fish on the fly, now's a great time to get them out fishing.
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