Friday, June 29, 2012

Troutslammer in 'The One that Got Away'

Troutslammer in ‘The One that got Away’
Father's Day 2011

In his Gilligan styled fishing hat and resembling the scarecrow, from the Wizard of Oz, only in chest waders, Troutslammer was good entertainment for Fathers Day.
In this episode Troutslammer took the spot light. It was almost as if I was watching a silent movie in real time.

I watched as Troutslammer stood there, hunched, looking intense. His fly rod bent into the middle and a tight line aiming deep towards the water falls. It was as if he had a snag but wasn’t yanking on the rod to dislodge it. He began to slowly tug the rod back and forth trying to pry whatever it was on his line to move.
 I watched, as whatever it was, started to move out from the falls downstream like a waterlogged saw log rolling along the bottom depth. TS just hung on as he watched his rod and line move downstream with this unseen creature. I know I asked him what he had on but he was so engrossed in his catch he didn’t answer me.
 TS cautiously stumbled along the round rocky shoreline following the saw log. The saw log stopped in the deepest pool of water as if waiting for TS to catch up. When TS positioned himself across from the deep holding fish and applied side pressure is when the saw log came alive. With underwater tugs, pulls and with the rapid turns being so fierce beneath it caused turbulence on the water surface. TS stood his ground trying to get the creature under control with quick rod movement but by the looks of things it was going to take awhile. I had my camera ready to shoot an action shot but TS never stood still enough for a non-blurred picture. After time it looked as if TS had him under control as the creature rose from the depth. (clap clap)
From my position it looked like a dark rainbow because of the maroon color I was able to distinguish from the subsurface fighting fish. TS assured me it was a brown, the biggest trout he ever caught in his life. TS had his net ready as he tried to steady his rod hand and arm up to bring the big brown in.

“I ain’t going to be able to get him in the net” He commented over and over again. ( Though he spoke I pictured the words at the bottom of the screen)

I stood helpless as I watched the 2 foot wild brown turn sideways than shot away from TS’s net back into the deep water. (WoooooW!!)

 Line shot through the rod guides towards the angry trout. The trout decided to take the fight downstream and muled his way down creek with TS in tow. He stumbled along the rock ridden shoreline until the water got shallower enough, about thigh high, that he could enter into the water safely. They tussled a bit but it was obvious to me TS wasn’t gaining much more control or confidence as the big fellow decided to take him into the shin deep shallow riffles.
 I knew this wasn’t going to end up good! I laid my rod down on the bank and started to follow the action at a slower safer pace.
 The fish headed for the far bank as if it knew the water channeled deeper after running over a rock shelf. TS practically ran across the water, stumbling now and then, trying to keep up with him. Next thing I seen was the trout splashing about in the shallows, still trying to get away, as TS would stoop down now and than trying to net the escaping trout. (Splash splash!)
Nearer the far shoreline, around some outcropping of bigger rocks, the trout found deeper water to hold up in. When TS got to its location he found the trout had looped his leader around the big rocks. (oh no!)
TS line went slack as he got nearer the trout but because the trout was still hooked and leashed to the rock it couldn’t get free and started to thrash around. (Thrash, thrash!)
Next thing I know is TS let his rod fall behind him, on the stony bank, as he got on one knee trying to scoop up the helpless leashed trout. I seen splashing about and the trout broke free and tumbled into the strong current that emptied into a bank-side deep pocket. TS stood there, angry and in disbelief. (sob, sob)

 Troutslammer had a good day pulling out some nice size wild brown trout on Sunday with nymphs. We hoped to get into some dry fly action but it wasn’t until just before dark that I managed to hook into the sporadic risers. The brook trout I caught on dries didn’t match up to the lengthy brown trout TS had caught earlier. Over all it was a great day to be out fly fishing in the cool water in central PA. A creek neither of us had fished for some time.

Thanks Jim for the entertainment and you definitely owned the day!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fathers Day Rainbows

Fathers Day Rainbows 

 Within 20 minutes I was lighting up my first cigar of the day after catching a surprised Rainbow. He took a Light Cahill that I sent gently drifting with surface bubbles into his feeding zone. He fought well within the 55 degree water, the tail waters of the bottom release dam. The Bahia Trinidad was just a cheap but smooth cigar for the late morning rise.

I got a tip earlier in the week that there was a Sulphur Hatch on the river. I’ve been fly fishing long enough to know that ‘following hatches’ on a trout stream is as predictable as a 5 day forecast. I haven’t fished this tail waters since last year and the cold 55 degree water and cooler air temperatures should be relaxing on this hot Fathers day weekend.

 I arrived around 10am. I just figured, being the water is so cold in the morning and doesn’t warm until the sun hits it, there was no reason to get there any earlier. I was the only one in the small parking area when I pulled in and began getting my gear on. Because of the cold water I wore neoprene boot hip waders instead of the breathable lightweights. The weatherman said the outside temps should get to 80+ so just my bonehead fishing shirt was adequate under my warm weather fishing vest. I decided the 4wt. 9’ fast action rod could use a workout. I was just getting my vest on when a pick up pulled up and two guys got out and got there spinning outfitting gear together. They were pretty friendly and I was glad they decided to fish up stream throwing their hardware instead of fishing down river disturbing the water.
On the water I started out with a Blue Quill but quickly changed to a caddis once I seen a few flying about. I took my time casting about the shallow riffles and slow narrow deep rocky section before wading down river to the more open flat water. I didn’t see or could get anything to rise to my dries so I stopped a minute and looked about the water. The morning was quiet with a few chirping birds and the sound of water running over the pebbles and rocks of the shallows. The slight cool breeze happens to catch your breath if you turned into it while inhaling the fresh spring forest air. The sun was still rising and shadows of the far bank trees covered half the stream by now. I looked down stream and seen a few splashing risers in the wide long section of flat water. It appeared to be a perfect quiet dry fly fishing day and hopefully the fish would cooperate.

 When I got down to the flat water I didn’t see any major mayfly hatches. I figured the fish were sipping midges or rising to emergers. As the breeze developed a little stronger the leafy tree branches along the far bank ruffled some and I seen a few fish rising to unseen insects that may have fallen. I went back to the Blue Quill and than the caddis before I seen my first Light Cahill floating on the surface. It fluttered a bit as it tried to lift off the cold water. It settled again on the surface and than was devoured by a lucky trout that it happen too near. Ah, ha, I thought!!
 I tied on a Light Cahill and cast it in the slow stream of current towards the latest riser. The breeze made for a riffling effect on the water surface which was an advantage hiding any sign of my leader/tippet or any imperfections of my imitation. With that first fish being released I lit up my first stogie and was glad to get that first catch out of the way. With the commotion of that first fighting rainbow, that splashed about the area with our battle, I was sure the other trout were now wary of my presence.

Targeting rising trout on slow flat water can be frustrating but rewarding when the line tightens, the rod flexes downward and the rambunctious trout is fighting, determined to free itself from the hook set. If you’re both lucky the fish will come undone when you reach down for it without handling it. If not hopefully the hook can be removed quickly and released safely.

 On the flat water I pinpointed risers, switched flies often and made some otherwise calm trout awfully upset with convincing imitations and good presentations. A couple of trout that were feeding beneath the far bank overhanging branches were fooled by my timely and well placed Badger Spider pattern. Though they both came undone soon after hookup it was satisfying enough for me. The morning went quick and my stomach started aching for food and I started to think about that cold beer in the cooler back at the van.

 While I was fishing the flat water occasionally I would hear a splash a ways up stream. There was a trout feeding at random in the middle of the narrow section of stream I had passed by earlier. I waded to the shore line and slowly waded my way within casting distance of the feeding trout. So far my most productive dry was a Light Cahill so I knotted this on to my long section of tippet and tapered leader. With the breeze blowing up creek was to my advantage as I prepared for my one time inconspicuous presentation.
 Facing directly up river, near the bank, I started an angled back cast and forward cast. As the loop started to unfold in front of me towards the middle of the stream, I moved the rod tip directly in front of me and the loop widened. The breeze carried the dry a few feet in front of his feeding zone while the rest of the leader and fly line fell to the left of his feeding zone. I brought in slack line and continued trying to keep the line as straight as possible as the line drifted towards me and the dry drifted into the feeding zone. From about a foot or so, beneath the surface, I saw the long bodied trout rise to my imitation. In the instant it took him to break water for the dry, I flinched my wrist to the left, pulled in line and lifted the rod. It was like catching a kid red handed steeling apples from a tip toe high branch. A wild battle ensued but he gave up quicker than I expected. It was if he knew he’d been duped and instead of wasting all kinds of energy, just wanted to give up quickly and get this whole embarrassing moment over with.

 After that I went up to the van for lunch. I relaxed at the van with a quick lunch and quenched my thirst with an Edmond Fitzgerald porter. It was a little bolder than what I expected but was smooth and thirst quenching. After that it was time to get back to fishing.

 This time I planned on fishing my way down creek for different scenery and in search of more rising trout. I lit up a stout 5 Vegas Miami stogie and headed down creek. The first quarter of the smoke burnt quickly and I thought maybe it will burn down to the butt before I’d realize it. After the first quarter though it began to slow burn with much more flavor. The burn began to be uneven in the remaining 1/3 so I had to watch when I grabbed the butt section with my fingers as to not get burnt.

 A ways down river I found quite a few feeding trout rising pretty frequently. The narrow straight section of river was flowing between a heavy canopy of pines and forest hardwoods before the water flowed over a man made rock falls. The banks were somewhat steep but not too high. There was no doubt I’d scare a few fish getting into the water but I felt if I stayed back far enough the ones up river might not know my presence. I dipped into the water as softly as possible. Immediately I saw one fish shoot across and another swam upriver to get away from my disturbance. The scooting trout must have alerted the others because not a trout rose for the next 5 to 10 minutes. I figured I’d wait them out and pulled out a Bahia Cetro #2. While I was enjoying my stogie I looked about and started to see a few small sulphurs emerging out of the water with a few Light Cahills drifting upon the surface water. It wasn’t long after that a few trout started to feed upon the surface again.

 I caught a nice handful rainbow that was feeding dead center of the river flow. He battled the rod pretty much around the area I was fishing and I’m sure spooking a few of the others.
There was one trout that was feeding just out from the shadows of the pines off the far bank up stream. I cast the Light Cahill in front of him and let it drift. He rose to take a closer look, swirled and I twitched the fly back for the hook set that he never mouthed. He fooled me good and I was sure that pattern wouldn’t work on him again. I caught one more before I was getting more refusals upon further reviews of my fly. When I switched to a size smaller I again hooked up a couple more times and missed a couple.

  There was this one trout that was feeding under a low hanging pine bough for some time. Most of the time he was sipping something floating down river while other times he’d rise with a splash. The cast was tricky getting the dry in front of him and yet not getting tangled in the pine bough. The wind came in handy again. After seeing a few more small Sulphurs coming off I decided to switch to a small Sulphur parachute. With a quick sidearm cast I stopped abruptly on my forward cast and the rod tip shot out line towards the far bank. I continued my arm swing, after the abrupt halt, and let the leader and tippet arc towards and under the pine boughs. It took a few casts and with the help of the breeze, on one cast, the Sulphur landed gently up river enough to be visible to the trout beneath the pine boughs. Within seconds he attacked the Sulphur like a woman attacks the only cannoli from a pastry plate. I yanked back the long length of line and instantly I knew I had a good hook set on him. He didn’t take the ’getting hooked’ thing too well. He shot out to the middle of the river and cleared water with a headshaking, body wiggle trying to free the hook. Upon reentering he surged down river, as I had to bring in line, and again torpedoed upward a couple of feet before dead falling back in. He had more energy as any trout I had caught thus far. He turned down river and than quickly u-turned up river. My fly rod straightened with this sudden action and I lost the tensioned line. He again splashed out of the water with the Sulphur stuck good into his upper lip. This gave me time to collect slack line and I had tension on him again when he submerged. Now it became a tug of war with me winning the tugging. I felt the solid body of this rainbow as I held him within my grip.

 There was still a few trout rising when I decided to head back up river closer to the van in the flat section I started from. I was hoping for a big Sulphur hatch that never developed. I caught one more trout in the flat water before slowly fishing my way back to the van.

 I was just casting about the narrow waters trying to get something to rise when all of a sudden one trout started to feed near the far bank, up river,  just down from the pines. It wasn’t a hard cast and a few of my casts I swear were spot on but he didn’t care for my Catskill tied Light Cahill. I tied on a smaller parachute type pattern and looped the cast his way. It no sooner hit the water when he rose and splashed at my Cahill. I reared back on the rod and the line tightened, the rod flexed and my grip tightened a little more on the custom cork grip. He circled near the far bank before coming towards me in the deeper section of the river. He scampered about within the deep water attempting to tangle me up on the big rock formations below. I kept up lifting pressure on him as to not get my line scraping the rough submerged boulders. Nearer to me he tried one last escape but the force of the rod pressured him back to me. Another secured hook set in his lip bone made for a sure grip that he couldn’t throw.

 It was time to hit the trail by now. The light was fading fast behind the hill and shadows enlarged upon the water. I left the river as quietly and peaceful as I entered in the morning. It was 8:06pm when I opened the van doors and dressed for the ride home. A Don Tomas Cameroon, pinched between my lips, made for a good departing smoke for another rewarding outing.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Brief Pause

Just wanted to let my readers know that i'll be moving tomorrow and not sure when i'll be on the internet and get another story up. Seems we might have to do some research on finding a noteworthy provider.
My last trip out was on Memorial Day fishing Tionesta Creek. Had some good dry fly action off and on. I was surprised by a big smallie I caught stripping a woolly bugger while making my way down creek.

blue quill