Friday, May 16, 2014

Update: Fly Fishing Adventures One Year Later

     When it comes to fly fishing it's all about the cast. If you can't get a fly to land in the water where you want, you might as well pack up and go home. It's that simple. And I've learned the hard way snapping off many two buck flies and nymphs in over hanging trees and brush.
     The creeks have been running fast this spring with high water from winter snow melt and heavy rain. And one of the storms had to come a day after the restocking of the Manatawny Creek near my home. I fish mostly wet flies and nymphs using hare's ears, pheasant tails, green weenies and wolly buggers. If the water calms down I may float some dry flies.
First trout caught fly fishing.
      Last year was the first time fly fishing and I began late in the spring after the creeks warmed up and trout fishing was winding down. But it was a productive season and I was amazed at the number of fish caught throughout the summer and into late fall. The summer season was filled catching many small mouth and rock bass along with blue gills and creek chub. Many of the fish were of good size. I could catch a couple one day and over twenty the next. I didn't keep a count but I'd say without telling fish stories that I caught several hundred fish.  By Thanksgiving the rod was stuck in the corner of the garage as a cold and snowy winter kept me away from the banks.
     But, I still hadn't caught a trout. I was out of town the first full week of the 2014 trout season. On my first day getting in the creek, I was in a big hurry to get out of the house and fishing. Just like the rod tip caught in the front door and snapped off. I need to slow down. Cutting the remainder of the tip down to the next eyelet, I headed for the creek.
     Th rod could still be used and I didn't care how it looked. My objective was to haul in some species of trout. There are a number of spots in the Manatawny Creek where I like to fish. And this day, the quiet section in Earlville was the choice. It was two and a half weeks since opening day and there wasn't another fisherman in sight.  Starting early I had the creek to myself and was able to walk this picturesque stretch.
     Within a handful of casts and slowly drifting a pheasant tail, a fish snatched the bait. I set the hook and started to strip in the line and the fish gave quite a battle. It was a sizable rainbow trout. It was time for a snapshot because nobody would believe me. So I grabbed my cell phone and took a couple quick pix and got the fish back into the water without any stress.
Biggest fresh water trout I probably have caught.
     Success! I've caught many trout over the years flipping lures, minnows and earthworms. But, there's something unique about catching fish on a fly rod. I was able to hook one more that day in the two hours I was fishing.
     Several days later, the rains came and didn't stop until six and a half inches had fallen. The creeks rose and flooded the low lying areas along the banks. I'd check the progress of the streams to see when they would return to a normal flow. It took almost ten days and once out fishing I needed two split shots on my line to sink it down to the fish.
     Out for the second time this year I hooked the biggest one in all my years fishing. He fought hard and I had to work the reel to get land it. The line was tight but the trout broke water flipping and splashing and thought for sure it would break the line. And this was on the new lighter weight rod that was purchased to replace the broken one. The rod was bend practically in half but the fish was netted.
     Again, it was snapshot time because I'm not telling stories. Setting the rod down next to it, gave perspective to see just how large the fish was. And back it went into the creek so that some other fisherman can catch it. The trout took off in a flash back into the deep pool where he was hooked. In the several times out fishing I've caught nine trout, rainbows, brook and brown. All nice size, nothing under ten inches. That may not sound like many but for me it is big progress.
     I got skunked on trout the last time out but I still caught fish. A half dozen creek chub and a nice sized small mouth bass. The Manatawny Creek is starting to warm up a bit and soon it will be bass fishing time.
Starting to be small mouth bass time.
     So recapping, it hasn't been all successful outings and it will take me a long time to get knowledgable about fly fishing. I still don't know what's hatching around me as I try to swat a flying insect into my hat to get a close-up  look to try and match it with a dry fly. But it's still a guess for me.
     And I'm still losing a number of flies on back casts into the trees. Line gets tangled at times. But I've remained patient not frustrated. I am catching fish and that is the object. And I don't care what I'm catching and continue to be amazed at the numbers and size of fish in areas where water is deeper than my waist in these little creeks.

     I've also found being outdoors by the creek is where I'm the most relaxed, until I've hooked one and then the heart's beating. The wildlife along the bank is also something I hadn't expected to see. This week a white tailed deer ran across the creek next to me. A blue heron near the West Pottsgrove Park is always squeaking at me to get out of her fishing area. Geese and babies are swimming around and the sounds of wood peckers can be heard in the trees. The most unusual animal I saw was a bald eagle flying overhead.
     That stopped me in my tracks and no I wasn't able to get a photo. It's no whopper, you'll have to take my word for it.

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