Writing On The Fly
By GEORGE LISET
The Big Tease. All fly fishers are familiar with it. The first unusually warm days in March or April maks one think that spring is here. It is easy for the uninitiated to fall for “The Big Tease.” It starts with not wearing enough clothes and having higher expectations for fishing success.
My routine for winter fly fishing is basic. I know on a good day I probably can last a couple of hours on the water. With this in mind, I try and do most of my preparation at home so I can get right on the water.
Most of my go-to spots are within thirty minutes from home. With this in mind, I put my waders and boots on at home. I will put on my outside layers when I get to the river. My fly rod is already rigged for nymphing with an indicator on this day.
When I arrive at the river, I notice a number of other vehicles in the parking area. I know they are fly fishers because of the stickers on their cars and trucks promoting rods, reels and other fly fishing paraphernalia. I’ll admit that I do have a couple on my truck as well. At my age, I sometimes need a reminder of what I may be doing that day.
As I get down to the river, I notice that most of the people fishing have my color hair. Of course, everyone is care to keep social distancing in mind. I was thinking that if it wasn’t for the fact that we all had fly rods in our hands, we might get arrested for possibly escaping from a secure facility.
I head down to my favorite spot and begin fishing. The warm sun feels great on my back and face. The best part is that my hands are not cold, which makes it easier to change flies if I need to.
Making my first cast, I begin to relax. The warm breeze is a help. I start dredging the bottom using the nymphs. I know I am deep enough since the flies are occasionally ticking the bottom, and the indicator is hesitating every few feet. I am trying to work this section of river thoroughly. This is an area where I have had a lot of luck before; however, after about thirty minutes with no luck, I am thinking I might need to change my tactics.
This becomes problematic since the rod I am using is a 9’6” 3 weight, nice for nymphing and throwing small flies for Brookies, but not great for casting heavier streamers. So, I try to make it work and rig it for a small Grey Ghost. The key to streamer fishing, according to Lou Zambello in his new book, “In Pursuit of Trophy Brook Trout” is the action on the fly. One wants to give the impression to the trout that the minnow is struggling and an easy prey.
So, I head back up the river and re-work it with the streamer. Now I am noticing that my feet and legs are getting cold from wading, but the warm breeze still feels good. I also notice that I have been on the water for about two hours. I decide to head over to an exposed rock that I can stand on to get out of the water but will still allow me to cast.
As I am casting, I can feel a little tug on the streamer, and being a little too anxious I strip a little too hard: O.K., a lot too hard and yank the fly out of the fish’s mouth. By that time I decide that it is probably time to head home. I realize that I had been fishing for over three hours and wasn’t an icicle.
I met another fly fisher on the way to my truck and he asked if I had any luck, I replied “No.” Then he reminded me that a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. I laughed and said, “Thanks for reminding me.”