Sunday, March 11, 2018

Learning new water

If truth be told, I like to fish familiar places, places that I know well and that I have invested the time in to learn.  I would be willing to bet that I am not alone in this regard.  When we do have some time to get out, we all head to stretches that we have a decent chance of finding willing fish.  However, if you really want to learn to be a better fisherman, you need new places with unique and different conditions and challenges.
 
Since my daughter has been attending college in central PA, I've been taking advantage of the trips down and back to spend some time on the Yellow Breeches.  The Breeches, while not a true spring creek is a bit of a hybrid between a spring creek and a freestone stream.  It is quite a bit different from a typical New England freestone which I am more familiar with and the learning process has presented some challenges to work through with each visit.  I typically use a long rod with weighted flies on a mono-rig, but one of the sections of the breeches is too small for a long rod and when you are fishing #20 nymphs you need another way to get the flies down to the fish.  By trying out different setups and experimenting with split shot, I've been learning how to be a more effective nymph fisherman.
This past outing I was taken to school on fighting fish in tight quarters with a small nymph in their jaw.  The first handful of fish I hooked quickly came lose when they would charge around the small pool I was fishing.  Eventually, I figured out that by keeping the rod tip low and using side pressure, the small hook would hold and fish could be landed.  It is challenges like these that fishing unfamiliar water presents.  These challenges require us to solve new problems, learn new techniques, and strategies that in the end make us more complete fly fisherman.  So go fish some new water!  You will probably catch less fish at first, but in the end you will be a better fisherman!

14 comments:

  1. I've never fished the Yellow Breeches but the colors on those fish are beautiful... Sounds like challenging fishing which makes for new and exciting experiences. Fishing the same stretch of water can be almost too comfortable, I don't want to say boring and fishing in the same sentence but you know what I mean. This seems to be a nice chance to enjoy some new water and to use some difference techniques, nice.

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    1. Doug - My guess is the pictured rainbows are hold-overs from previous stocking and they can be quite colorful (notice the fins on the larger one). Fishing small (light) nymphs has been a new experience for me that's the point!

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  2. Mark
    Good read. I am glad you have the opportunity to fish these places and have had good luck. Nicely colored bow . Always good to fish new water and have some success.

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    1. Thanks Pete. It's been a great experience to learn to fish a different type of stream.

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  3. Sounds like you have figured out the Yellow Breeches, Mark. Well done.

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    1. Sam, I wouldn't say that I've got the Breeches figured out by any stretch!

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  4. Mark, I've enjoyed watching and listening to your experiences on the yellow breeches. Even though it's my home waters I've learned things from you. I really like your advice on learning new water. I don't feel you can expand your skills unless you challenge yourself with new experiences. Great post thankyou.

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  5. Thanks Brad. Our conversations have been very helpful in the learning process. Your local knowledge has been invaluable in helping me focus on the right things first

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  6. Anytime your pull is sideways to the fish, chances of the hook pulling out are greatly diminished. Deep nymphing is not my favorite method of catching trout but sometimes (Winter) its the only way. Good post.

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    1. Thanks John! Sometimes in tight spaces it can be challenging but it made a big difference

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  7. Mark
    Fishing new waters can have its pros and cons, especially you aren't landing fish---thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill - I would prefer to learn something that can make me a better fisherman to catching a bunch of fish but I will admit it isn't as much fun sometimes.

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