More than minnows for a newbie

T
Tinker
I don't know how to fish with a fly rod, okay? I freely admit it. I own a small kit rod and reel, and a bag full of fine flies (thanks to MattZ and Spydyrch) and I'm hell on casting on the front lawn... but I don't know how to fish on the fly. Biggest fish I'd caught was a two-inch minnow of indeterminate species and I only landed that guppy when I set the hook like it was a half-ton of tuna. It hardly justified hauling the fly rod with me every time I hiked a stream, so mostly it stays in it's case tucked behind the seat in the truck.

I asked a forum member where the fish go in late Summer when the water is warm, low and slow like this, and he remembered seeing guys park where I park, but instead of working upstream, they went downstream. Maybe there's something down there?

Good information, but I didn't do anything with it because I assumed the fellows were just drunk or hungover or something and had accidentally staggered off in the wrong direction, but desperation finally sent me downstream. Well, to my surprise, a couple of miles down, there's a string of long, 8- to 10-foot deep pools, even this time of year. One is even very nice, with two small creeks dumping in at the head of the pool, and all of it well protected from the wind. Lots of little fish breaking the surface and clouds of little beasts-with-wings flying upstream.

And then, something big broke the surface. Didn't see it, but instead of the little plinky noises of the small trout, this was a SPLUSH and the ripples were swamp-my-sneakers big. I'm standing there thinking that I'd seen a heron wading just about exctly where that fish rose, and now it's gone and I don't remember seeing it fly away... It's not quite 7:00AM and I'm sober - not even the teensiest bit hung-over from last week's glass of wine at dinner.

I won't go into the desperate race over cobblestones to get back to the truck for the fly rod - the only rod in the truck - other than to say that now I understand why folks happily pay a royal ransom for horrendously expensive, mountaineering-style wader boots.

When I get back to the pool, the first thing I remember about fly-fishing is that the eyes on fly hooks are really, really small and that the Wal-Mart reading glasses I bought just for this tortuous task are still in the truck. I squint and struggle for fifteen minutes to get the leader trought the eye of the hook and finally thread it.

To be honest, I never saw or heard from that heron-gulping fish again. But I caught and released a handful of 8" to 10" rainbow trout and a few little smolt on dry flies. I often remembered to (and how to) set the hook and was pretty good about remembering you strip the line and don't use the reel. Most of the time.

I don't remember how any of the fish behaved or how I landed them because I was completely lost in doing all the strange and alien-feeling things one does when there's a fish on with fly tackle...

I'd like to acknowledge that OFF inspired me to try my fly rod. Any other day, I'd have headed home and come back the next day with my "real" fishing gear, but if I'm ever going to hook a steelhead on a (larger) fly rod, I have to start somewhere. Thank you, ChezJfrey!

I might even try it again. Some day.
 
Last edited:
T
TimberTodd
Way to go Tinker. You will do it again someday!
 
Chromatose
Chromatose
:clap:
 
bass
bass
Great post Tinker!
 
C
ChezJfrey
Glad I could provide some motivation.

Steelhead on a fly can be a slightly different game and John Larison's Complete Steelheader has been helpful for me. Keep at it!
 
T
Tinker
ChezJfrey said:
Glad I could provide some motivation.

Steelhead on a fly can be a slightly different game and John Larison's Complete Steelheader has been helpful for me. Keep at it!

You're welcome. T'was the tale of your recent encounter that got me to get off my arse and use that fly rod, again. I'll look up John's book, so thank you again.
 

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