Saturday, January 30, 2016

Early Outings and New Tools

Public domain picture of 1904 by Edmund Davis "Her First Forty Pound Salmon."

I not sure how that skirt fits into the waders;but, she's awfully dry for such a large fish. The rod in her hand does double duty as the centerpole of the excursion tent.

First outing of 2016 today: Mill Creek in Dexter, Michigan.

One of the Amber Liquid guys - Chip - came along and we enjoyed a nice outing in forty-five degree plus weather. Won't hold; but, it was sure nice.

I saw a midge fly down the stream in front of me as I walked. We saw a rock bass and a trout. The trout was in the stream behind a rock presumably feeding in just a couple feet of water. It didn't reach freezing here yesterday but the fish were out today.

I worked on the dreaded French Leader.

My apologies for not have a good photo myself. There is a link here to a great picture of one as deployed. Louis Cahill shot the image and I wish I knew Louis to ask if I could use it.

I used a 10' 3wt Echo fiberglass two-hander as a rod for tight-line nymphing (short line, more probably) with just a couple feet of line out on a leader I built myself last night. I made a "curley-q" French leader from some 15 lb. Stren hi-vis.

It works.

Now, the casting is a bit tricky. The curley-q business introduces slack in the system so a strong, brisk water-haul works great. An oval cast - as in Tenkara - works okay but just okay. A sharp roll cast work like garbage.

You need a good bit of line tension so the water-haul is the one.

I fished upstream using a #1 shot and a weighted hare's ear in 14.  I rigged the shot about 18" ahead of the fly and casting upstream in light current allowed this rig to roll over obstacles, pull free on snags, and still keep the fly in "floating" motion 4" - 8" off the bottom.

This was more learning than catching session and I learned plenty.

Short curley-q works best ... 18" is too long. I'll next try just 12".  Tight lining with the indicator bit tied-in somewhere around 6' down the leader is a good place with the 10' rod.

The French leader is sensitive ...I could tell by watching when the shot/fly was ticking over rock, when over obstacle, when over sand. It's super sensitive and with a little observation and practice, you catch right on to "normal" versus "fish."

I will develop a better nymph feel using this crutch. My goal is to sharpen my knowledge of the subsurface take then eliminate the French leader enabler. I'm just too damn ignorant now to hook fish who are not hooking themselves.

I'm an unskilled nymph fisherman.

Strikes with small sharp hooks are pulls - not jerks. Don't let that fly and weight come out of the water on a hook-set. The bloody rig is tangle prone. Smooth authoritative lifts. Not jerks.

We went to a local ale house run by a brewery after fishing. Chip broke ice on the side of the stream so I could get out easier - damn nice.

The water is cold. The sunshine is fine. The fish are out and about.

Early days are as nice as mid-season days. Maybe nicer, as I dream of spring.


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