I took the afternoon to visit a spot that I hold in high regard. It’s on private property and I’ve built a rapport with the owners over the past eight or so years simply by taking the time to get to know them and respect their property. These folks are hardworking people who have had this land in their family for generations. They use the land to make their living and have been gracious enough to allow me to show up, park at their house and hike down to the stream. One of my first seriously large brown’s came out of this water and I’ve watched it evolve over the years. Today I just wanted to sit on two spots, watch the fish and try a European style nymphing leader that I was given a while back.
It’s been a while since I sat on a spot in the sun and nymphed a pool hard, turns out I can get the job done. That being said I know I missed a ton of fish. This leader is designed to be used without an indicator, in the past I nymphed without an indicator on a traditional all clear mono leader and just assessed my fly line/leader connection for momentary pauses, slowing or jumps which may indicate a strike. This thing is made of several lengths of varying hi-vis mono, a couple of tippet rings and some fluorocarbon near the end. I tied on a #16 Pink squirrel trailed by a #18 Skinny Nelson. These are pretty small flies with only the bead head for weight so a long slow drift was going to be required to get them to the fish. First few passes I missed a couple light strikes, managed a smaller brown and then decided I wasn’t getting down fast enough. I could see the hi-vis mono and admittedly it did what I wanted it to, gave me a focal point closer to my flies to assess for the same pauses, slowing or jump. The only time this wasn’t the case was when the sun was blocked by the clouds, the glare was too much for me to see the hi-vis mono below the surface. I was still able to watch my fly line/leader connection so at it’s worst its the same as what I previously used to nymph fish.
I ended up tying on a #12 Black Hairball as the heavy fly instead of using split-shot (which I could have done) simply because I was interested in remembering what it was like to cast a three fly nymph rig. Over the next hour I went back and forth between two smaller holes and one deeper one managing maybe a dozen or so smaller brown trout ranging from the comical 4inches to maybe 13-14inches at the largest. I was fishing 5x tippet and enjoyed turning those fish to keep them from charging to the banks and potentially snagging one of the other two flies presumably not attached to a trout. I got tangled once on a poor cast and once because the fish took the middle fly and wrapped the trailing fly around the line, both were easily undone. There was a time when I would have tied on multiple flies in frustration but my casting is tolerable and I just take a bit more time now. I think its more the latter that has made the biggest difference. Simple summer day, clear stream, smaller browns, beautiful scenery, this is the place I live because this is the place I love.