How did this so slowly evolve without some alarm bell being activated? I recently found myself taking a break during the course of a short four hour window of fishing. I sat down on a bench and took in the river. No edgy energy. No sense of urgency. I just sat there and took it in.
It seems like just yesterday that I hit the river at first light and fished all day with seldom a break for lunch. I had boundless energy. I recall the slightly older gents I fished with barely got in an hour or two and they would retreat to sit and socialize shore side. Why, I wondered? We were burning daylight and opportunities. Why would anyone squander this precious time on the water?
Now, something has changed. Less testosterone? Less serotonin? Injuries? I have always appreciated nature and had an eye for the beauty near and far from the water, but took it in while intensely focused on fishing. So, is seems to be this change is upon me. I sense it is not a passing phase, but rather a transition. Embrace it? Like so many things in life, at my age, you adapt and strive for a positive attitude. Hell, what’s next…naps on camping trips? It’s all good.
I originally bought several Icebreaker tops from McKenzie Outfitters (now defunct) in Eugene, Oregon. I wanted lighter, insulating layers beneath my heavier insulating layers. The 150 and 300 designations were perfect. Ironically, the primary thing the clerk could tout was how little I would stink if I wore the tops sans bathing or washing the tops. Odd, I thought at the time. Dare I say I ran an experiment. No, I didn’t forgo personal hygiene. But, I did wear the tops for months under strenuous conditions and did not wash them. I waited for that whiff. It never came. I’m amazed at how fresh the tops remained after at least two dozen wearings/outings. Yes, I did eventually gently wash them as directed and the dirt and grime was present. So, at some point you must wash gentle and dry gentle with your other ‘delicates’.
Ok, enough about my odor detection experiment based upon a seeming dare from a skinny, rock climbing kid in dread’s. He was totally right! And, the layers are amazingly comfortable. There are many layers offered and all manner of garments. I wholeheartedly recommend them and even advocate gently washing them now and then. Cool company with thought out mission. Another man’s experiments (here)
A short spot of time shuffling along high and dry rocks and shallows. Looking at Stonefly shucks. Caddis casings and their crawl trails beneath the water. The expected Fall colors and fluttering leaves landing upon the water. The upriver wind strong and the October Caddis pattern propelled upriver creating instant drag despite mends. Downriver presentations danced and skittered produced strikes. Nice sized trout porpoised across the surface as Caddis and Mayflies elevate away in the brisk wind. Slightly under dressed for chill, a long walk back to the rig….I knew that my fishing time would be reduced as my body heat dwindled.
I had success bringing fish to the surface and near with Dries and Large Pupa. I had a trout follow my Pupa as I raised it toward the surface. The fish was tracking the fly a good three feet on its side, almost belly up, reaching for the pattern before it veered off near the surface. Perfect water, perfect pace, I regretted not selecting the two hander, but I wasn’t sure of the current Steelhead run’s progress up river; perhaps I was well beneath them by now.
I felt the chill increase. The ankle, wrist, lower back and neck said enough. With a good half mile back to go, I shuffled along picking my route and taking in the Fall beauty. I stopped half way and hunkered down out of the wind to smoke my briar and take in the river. The walk back completed, I stood at the tail gate stripping down and stowing away the gear, but not the peaceful memories.
Simple sights, simple beauty. A slow pace back allows one to look about. Not busy powering from A to B, you have time to see not just feel.
The Fly Fishing Reporter has provided an excellent resource for all trout chasers: a very enjoyable video, available via Ralph and Lisa Cutter, that gives nice views of the various types of mayflies. Here is the the link to the FF Reporter (Ken Sperry) and a cool visual. Linked twice just in case. Add FF Reporter to your blog roll.
In researching this topic, there are two evident paths that emerge. One is like obligatory folklore offered up for bodies of water that are not influenced by tides/waves. Discussions of moonsets, reproduction, and gravity all come into view without any meaningful scientific data.
If the fish are near coastal shorelines, then an air of certainty, of a causal connection, is offered up by fishermen, especially when discussing speckled trout. There the fishermen write with certainty that a few days before and after the full phase of the moon offer excellent fishing.
I can only offer up a personal experience of an excellent outing in B.C. While loitering out on a lake east of Merritt, B.C., my son and I casually made our way back toward the take out under full moon light. The slow pace was prompted by the stunning beauty of the full moon. And, as we slowly kicked trailing our flies the fishing picked up to a crazy pitch that was, well memorable. I recall trying to capture my son fighting an epic trout with the camera. I was shooting into bright moonlight off of the lake’s surface trying to get his silhouette. The fishing was adrenaline producing. We probably were violating the local reg’s, I am not sure. But, I have never forgotten, nor has my son, that amazing half hour or so of amazing fishing under a moonrise. So, coincidence or a connection?
So, the full moon phase is upon us. Perhaps some will benefit from that time of the month. Oh, and an aside…I dare you to fully read the study on the Moon and the Trout in the attached treatise (here)
Some solely swing flies (the quartered cast and the fly swung in an arc across the river) for steelhead (or salmon) because of the challenge, or the purist mind set or because they haven’t realized an alternative technique exits. Nymphing for steelhead (or salmon) can be the best option on smaller streams. Sometimes the best presentation is a horizontal or a lateral presentation of the fly rather than swung on an arc. Note in video below that friends are siting for angler from above and relaying steelhead’s actions. A true friend sets the rod aside to aid the angler.
Some fly fishers inadvertently hook into steelhead while fishing for trout. This is often with a trout rod and a smaller nymph and the steelhead wins. But, it sparks the connection and the appreciation for a slightly bigger nymph and a little more muscle in the rod.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be
satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”