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The Rookie Mistake

Questions and Answers about the basics of flyfishing for newbies and the old timers that just can't remember
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The Rookie Mistake

Postby woody » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:57 pm

Rookie Mistake
Fly fishing is full of those subtle nuances that make the sport so compelling and something which can never be totally mastered. I had prepared for fishing some very intriguing wild trout waters in the Boone area during the Sulphur Hatch of late June this last week-end. I had studied the spinners of late afternoon hatches and attempted to tie flies that matched these beautiful little mayflies.
After their miraculous escape form the nymph stage to the dun stage, these dainty creatures become reclusive for a couple of days residing in the nearby trees awaiting their return to the river to their swan song mating dance. The mayflies in the Boone area turn from a bright yellow to an orange body color that defies any dubbing that I could find. Several attempts at blending finally resulted in a fly that had the right size, color and number of tails to be attractive to these selective fish. What I had tied was like candy to these late afternoon risers.
After catching many nice size browns, I approached a portion of the stream which had two very attractive seams that could be fished. I approached carefully from downstream, bending low and avoiding the transmission of any waves into the pool. The sun was just right so my shadow did not extend over the pool and my first cast to the closer of the two seams resulted in an explosive rise but I fail to hook up.
I shifted to the second seam. A longer cast with fly line in the closer rushing water but a well managed mend allowed for the dry fly to float naturally down the back side of the second seam.
No explosion but a subtle take and a quick strike with the stripping hand and the rod tip resulted in a solid bend in the rod. This was no normal fish. The fish takes off downstream and I follow it after bringing the line to the reel. There is no stopping this run so ….. I follow. Rod bent and the reel singing as the line escapes in front of me faster than I can follow. The fish turns and reveals a large brown with shoulders. I make a little headway and it explodes again to reclaim the line that I so carefully brought back to the reel. I keep reminding myself not to horse these fish with tender mouths even though I am using a size 12 fly on 4 lb test.
Fifteen minutes into the battle I am able to move the fish against the direction it has chosen and see the 18 inches of brown trout move through the rapids to my side of the stream. I have taken to carrying a net to prevent damage to the tender trout as I remove the hook, so I retrieve the net from my belt. I also have ready a camera to document this magnificent fish.
I hold my rod high but my 12 foot long leader will not allow me to bring the fish to net so I do what I know better than to do. I bring the leader inside my tip guide. The fish makes one last surge and the knot between the leader and the fly line catches on the tip.
The fly jerks from the trout’s mouth and we both are stunned as we eye each other. With great respect I watch as this fish regains energy to return slowly to the silvery depths of the stream. I suspect that the fish is relieved that I made the rookie mistake.
Woody

It is certain that an atom of goodness on the path of faith is never lost.
Rumi

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Re: The Rookie Mistake

Postby 9ft4wt » Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:00 pm

Those long leaders are a pain. I fish a14-15 foot leader on the Soho and being a short little fellow, I really have problems.

you know what concerns me is that I have found that I end up fighting fish longer than I would. Typically to net a bigger fish i have to get some of that leader inside the rod. So, I get them tired enough to not worry about a final surge as happened with you. I have never had a fish go belly up but i have had some that took a while to revive.

I found it helps a little to not just raise the rod high but also to stab it back behind you at a pretty good angle.

9ft4wt

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Re: The Rookie Mistake

Postby woody » Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:20 pm

which works well if you are not using bamboo
Woody

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Re: The Rookie Mistake

Postby Emerson » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:04 pm

Woody,
Great story..great catch..yes..catch due to leader hitting the tip top...caught fish...that is all that matters!. I have done that myself a number of times..better the tippet breaking than the knot catching on the tip top and either ripping the tip top or worse..breaking the rod tip. I have tried to put the rod way behind me to give it more distance..when I do that, the fish just goes around behind me.
I would be more worried about the surge and its consequences. I do not call that a rookie mistake.
expelled by el Compressor

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Re: The Rookie Mistake

Postby woody » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:31 pm

thanks for your kind words
I was not really bummed that I did not bring the fish to hand as I am always concerned for hurting such a fine fish
What a great contest it was with one of those few times when most everything works just right
I left the stream after that contest and look forward to guiding my wife there to allow her the opportunity to fight a great fish
Woody

It is certain that an atom of goodness on the path of faith is never lost.
Rumi

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Re: The Rookie Mistake

Postby wgmiller » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:28 pm

I've found that in my freshwater trout fishing quests, being able to net a fish is a "bonus". I often times lose fish due to barbless hooks, a slack line, not being able to net it quick enough, etc. To me a 'success' is knowing that I had the fish on my line and for a moment in time, I had the upper hand. As disappointing as it is to lose one (and I'll cuss at myself for a bit), being on a trout stream and matching wits with them is thrill enough.

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Re: The Rookie Mistake

Postby Cutter » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:59 am

You got the best of that beautiful fish and will likely remember it longer than if you had netted and photographed it. Everyone loves an adventure. I'd say you came out ahead.
The world is your oyster-
So show up with a knife and know how to shuck.

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