Friday, May 6, 2011

A Stroll with the Demon

A Stroll with the Demon


After fishing the Bighorn a couple of weeks ago, catching 16” to 20+” wild trout with the 6wt, 5wt, and 4wt, catching small stock trout with these rods didn’t feel much of a challenge. Saturday afternoon I headed to one of my favorite brookie streams for some fun.
 At the side of the road I assembled my 4 piece 7’ 3wt Hardy Demon. I attached my LLBean reel, got my gear on and the Demon and I went looking for brook trout.
 The most accessible areas along the creek were pretty well crowded with bait fishermen with conventional rods. I decided to take the short Demon rod for a wade down the creek that was less traveled. It was apparent that not many, if any, bait guys walked down creek very far. On my third cast a brookie took my streamer like it hadn’t seen a minnow or bait all day. I caught him mid stream as the streamer slowly drifted and swung into a slow pocket at the head of a big boulder. The Demon gave a little under the pressure but soon the brookie was handled carefully and released.

 I found the creek was running clear yet a little higher than normal. With the sun out, and the more rippling water, would make a good distraction of my presence as I waded downstream. I still cast out a fair distance when I had the availability to do so avoiding the brushy banks and overhanging branches. I stayed a foot or so from the bank and would cast across creek and then mend line upstream to let my streamer sink some before swinging with my fly line. I hoped to coax a trout that may be lying along the far bank or under tree cover to follow my offering into a slower pocket where he can more easily take my imitation. Sometimes I’d twitch the rod tip to put more action on the swinging streamer so it didn’t look like a piece of debris flowing down from a camp sight. In slower pockets id try to hold it there for a second or two before swimming it back in.
 During my wading down creek I caught a few more brook trout, one giving me three tries before I got a hook set on him.

 The quick tip of my 7’ Demon rod lets me wrist cast in confined quarters and side arm cast outward under branchy limbs. The rods action works with me and not against me. I do hang up on my back casts now and then but I learned to start my forward cast smooth and slow thus if I feel resistance behind I can stop quickly without losing my fly. It’s something I learned in these brushy small mountain creeks. My casts are more delicate and I use my wrist more, preventing the long swing and forearm movement that might be detected by wary trout in clear water.
 Under the canopy of trees I came upon water rushing between and over an outcropping of big boulders to big to wade through. I circled around and stepped back into the mill stone shallows. Mid creek the water riffled and waved with the interaction of current that collided from the flow between and over the boulders. I could see the water deepened also from the narrowing of the creek. The water pooled on the far side as I could see swirls of water entering than disappearing on the surface aside the faster run. Down below this it picked up speed again and emptied below the base of two trees growing out from the steep bank-side before joining up with the riffling water mid stream. I can see the pool was deep and chalkier in its depth. One of those places, if there was one in this creek; I would expect to be a perfect spot for a big brook trout to hang out in.

 There was no trail or place for a fisherman to fish from the far side. No land-lover, upon my side of the creek, would be able to reach the pool and fish it with success because of the confines and changing currents.
 Standing near knee deep in water, a longer rod surly would have been more helpful but I’m sure it would have been a bothersome pain to fish the small creek on the way down. It would have been nice to just high stick it over the faster run and following the drift with the rod tip. I don’t give up easily and I knew I could make the short rod do. It took three casts to land the streamer just right at the head of the pool. I mended line upstream as the streamer sank and kept the rod level while reaching out over the faster mid section of water. I kept my eyes on the fly line as it caught the faster current and began to pull my leader and streamer down creek, beneath, as planned. I noticed the arc in the fly line started to get larger as if the streamer no longer was following. My instincts told me I had a snag yet my experience told me to set the hook.

It’s a do or lose situation. There’s no way to know what’s beneath. You got to hope for the best and not cry about it if you lose a fly but you got to try.

 I lifted my rod high and downstream while pulling line in with my line hand to draw in any extra slack line from raising the rod. I felt resistance and than I felt the sharp tugs and twitching of the rod tip. Fish on!!

Current always plays tricks for the fisherman. It can make a half decent fish feel big and even a small frisky fish seam heavier.

 I watched my line and felt the pull as the fish swam beneath and into the deep water below the tree trunks. I knew getting him across the faster current that it’s better to keep him deep. I kept my rod level with the water and swung it downstream towards my side of the bank. He followed abruptly than decided to fight in the faster current. Ok I figured, he’d just get tired out quicker. I let him tussle a bit in the current and enjoyed the pull and tugs still not realizing what I had on the other end. When the trout decided to leave the fast current and swim down creek in the slower water below me I noticed the Demon rod was still bent into the butt section. This wasn’t any little brook trout. I let a little tension line slip through my fingers to ease the pressure on the rod as I lifted it upward. The fish was tiring but still had much strength to fight a bit in the slower current. I hadn’t much room where I was standing to bring the rod towards land as brush was only a foot or so behind. I waded down to a more open area as I kept the fish under control. I was then able to angle my rod towards the bank and the trout followed. When it got nearer I raised my rod and was able to cradle him in my glove net. What a beauty as the trout came fully into vision.
 Yellow blotches covered the sides of his aqua blue skin. In the midsection and below the lateral line blue hallows circled the few deep orange spots. The sides of his pinkish orange belly ran from below his gill plates to his tail. The distinct orange and black fins are something that you notice right off on a brook trout as well as the distinct white bottom of the fins itself. By his color I figured he wasn’t a fresh preseason stockie and most likely been here a while. I have caught some wild trout in this creek but he looked too healthy to have grown that big over the years from a fry. Either way he was a great find and catch and made my day. I watched him as he took to the water and swam away in lively form.

 I caught a couple of more bookies later on.

Even if I hadn’t I still felt very successful with the big brook trout. By the time I got to the van it was near 7:00pm. My belly was hungry and my tongue was practically hanging out for something wet and cold. I enjoyed a cold brew as I changed out of my waders and fishing clothes. Back on the road it was time to fill my belly, hot wings would be waiting for me at the Kelly and of course another brew or two.


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