Being the last day of 2011, I got the chance to get back out on the water for an exclamation point to 2011’s fishing season. It’s great to have an opportunity to fish so late in the year, and actually have the opportunity to catch fish. That aside, I fall into the category of being a poor nymph fisherman. Whether I get frustrated or just miss dry fly fishing, or I just suck at nymphing, we’ll never know. I do relish trying to become a better nymph fisherman though, and this was definitely going to be one of those days.
I decided that I needed to stay within my skill level, and not try a hopper dropper, or a tandem rig with a bobber, or split shot, or other things that get me to a point where breaking the rod seems like a better alternative than using it for its intended purpose. One fly, no indicator, and try to relax.
Relaxing was easy, as the holidays have been crazy and just being on the water on a warming day was a treat. I expected to catch 0 fish, so that took the edge off as well. I went with a fly I tied myself, a bead head pheasant tail nymph. Just the one fly. No indicator.
The weather was cool, but as with all winter fishing there was no rush to be on the water like in the crazy periods of spring when fish are eagerly rising. I took my time and had coffee and got there just at the temps were getting over 35 degrees. Then something amazing happened. I caught a fish. I nice rainbow. I had fallen into a zone of casting and watching the end of my line, over and over, and over again. I was relaxed and realized when the line did something out of the ordinary and set the hook. And I’ll be damned if a fish wasn’t on the other end. I’ve had exactly 2 other good days nymphing in my whole life. One was on the North Mills River where I sat in one place pulling fish after fish in, almost at will. These stockers would have hit anything probably that day, so I don’t chalk that up to “skill”. Another day near Wilson’s Creek, a friend and I caught many brown trout on Hare’s Ears we had tied ourselves. We actually were trying hard and these were wild fish, so 1 day of skill.
I ended the day with 5 or 6 fish to hand including a couple of nice rainbows. One jumped when hooked and took some line out of my reel on 5 weight line. Not too shabby. I actively set the hook on every fish today, feeling when the line was stopping and bumping the bottom. Add day 3 to successful days using a nymph, and make this the first day of actually learning what I am doing.
Thanks for reading!