Sunday, August 7, 2016

Always learnng

Woodland Sunflower
One of the things that I love about fly fishing, is that there are always new challenges to overcome. I do most of my fishing in the afternoons and evening due to my work schedule and because I have less experience fishing in the mornings, I am not as acquainted with the bugs that hatch early.

Yesterday morning, I decided to fish the Farmington at dawn.  I love getting up early and getting outside so I was looking forward to some early morning fishing.  When I arrived, I was encouraged to see fish rising.  I did see some trico spinners in the water along the bank as I waded in, so I tied a spinner on but it was ignored.  Maybe the hatch is just starting and the fish aren't used to seeing them yet.  I switched to a small ant and on the next drift a beautiful wild brook trout nailed it.   I just love finding these wild fish in the Farmington.  Brook trout don't often pass up an opportunity to grab an ant, but the ant wasn't the solution.



Cardinal flower
I waded a little further downriver and watched a nice pod of fish working something small on the surface.  I thought they might be taking Needhami, which is a very small, chocolate colored  mayfly that hatches on the Farmington River in the mornings.  I've never actually seen this hatch since I don't fish mornings, but I did have two in my box that I bought years ago and have never used.  They are about a size 24 so I needed to take my tippet from 5x down to 6x so that I could thread the eye of the hook.  I rarely fish below 5x, which actually surprises a lot of people who think you need to fish 6x to 8x tippets on this river.  I find fishing the heavier tippet just let's me get the fish in faster and with the right presentation, the tippet size isn't that important.

 Since I fish heavier tippet, I knew that I would have to be more careful on setting the hook.  Well guess what...I actually got a fish to the take the tiny fly and I promptly blew the hook set and snapped the tippet.  Now I was down to the last fly.  I got another take and set the hook carefully this time and I could feel the weight of a solid fish.  From the tiny rises you would have thought that the rising fish were small.  Well this one wasn't, and it was smart too, heading straight for the shallow bottom where there was some woody debris.  It managed to get the line tangled in the brush, the tippet broke, taking the last fly with him.   It was fun trying to figure things out, a moral victory of sorts, but I'm going to need a lot more practice (and flies) fishing these tiny flies on light tippet!


I have a passing interest in target recurves

After losing the last fly, I strung up the nymphing rod and headed to some faster water.  I caught a brown and a rainbow on a small nymph before the heat and humidity got the best of me and I headed home to take care of some work around the house and watch the men's team archery event at the Olympics. Congratulations to the US men's team that took a silver medal against a near-perfect Korean team.



18 comments:

  1. Nice job. I probably wouldn't be able to thread a size 24 fly onto the tippet!

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    1. Rowan - It certainly took a while to thread the eye. I should just carry super glue!

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  2. Kudo's, Mark, for a masterful job of recognizing the hatch and the success you encountered. The memory bank has added another bit of information that will be with you in those quiet times. Nope, I am ol' Geezer, no 24's for me!

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    1. Mel - keep an open mine on these super tiny flies. They can be a lot of fun to fish when the fish are looking for the small stuff. As long as you can thread the eye (6x helps alot)

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  3. Mark, I agree we are always learning. Love that brookie.
    That's some shooting.

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    1. Amen Alan! This year is the first year when I've found little pockets of wild brook trout in the Farmington. I love seeing wild fish in the river. In my younger days, I had aspirations of improving to a competitive level in archery (recurves, finger release).

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  4. Nice to see somebody is getting out there!! Not a fan either of the very small SZ 24, can't see em!!! Water has to be very low up there!!!

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    1. Pete - I can't see the tiny flies either! I just watch where I think the fly is! The water was so low on Saturday that some of my favorite runs were to low to have a nice flow through them, so I headed home.

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  5. Mark, rising trout and tiny dry flies are one of my favorite things. Also one of the most frustrating as well... Great story and glad you had a good morning of learning on the river!

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    1. Thanks David - I love fishing dries, even if it means tiny ones!

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  6. Congrats on trying tiny flies , fly fisherman won't try small drys, they think fish will not see them. If you pick the right time and consentrate on you casting, their is no bigger reward than landing a nice trout on a tiny dry. Congrats on the hookups,it's what will bring you back to try again, that is fun!!

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    1. Thanks Brad, yes I'm already thinking about the next time I can get out early and have tied a bunch of tiny flies for just such an occasion!

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  7. After years of "trying" to fish small flies, I stopped. When I finally rediscovered them again, they were harder to see and thread on the line, but definitely worth the time and effort if that's what the fish want.

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    1. Howard - yes they are tough to see especially when the light is low. I've found that using a lighter tippet makes it easier to thread the eye

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  8. Good story along with the pictures, Mark. I'm with you on the 5X tippet which is as small as I normally go as well. When I go with 6X my breakoffs have come at hook set and not with bringing the trout in though it does take longer.

    Best Regards, Sam

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    1. Sam - yes, I don't often use 6x and have the same problem since I'm used to fishing heavier. Maybe I should fish 6x more just to work on my hook set

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  9. Interesting. E. needhami is a new one for me. Out here the best (early) a.m. patterns at this time are Trico, BWO spinners, and Blue Quill. Always looking for something else, though. Nice pictures of sunflower and cardinal flower!

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    1. Thanks Walt. I've never really seen that much about them either but they do show up on the Farmington in the summer and fish did take the small chocolate CDC flies I tried. I told the needhami should be tailing off as the trico hatch comes on stronger (another hatch I have very limited experience with)

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