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June 30, 2004

The Fishing Report

Alarm beeps at 6am. I groan. Went to bed at 1am. (Blogging!) Darn, it's completely light outside too. I throw on shorts and khaki fishing shirt, slip on sandals, and am down knocking back an orange juice and sipping a coffee in mere minutes. Then it's out to the truck to drive to Mossy Creek again.

The guy at the fly shop said there was a Trico fall around eight. I haven't ever fished one and am looking forward to it. I am pulling into the parking area a little after 6:30. There's one other car. Turns out it's a dad and son pair, last fishing trip before college for the son. They drove up from Raleigh and are fishing a few streams in the area. They too were told there would be a Trico spinner fall.

I string up, tie on a searcher pattern, and walk down a bit from the bridge, the morning sun will be at my back. That's good for seeing into the water, but I'm going to have to watch my shadow. Right now it's long. The pattern is my own, a size 14 parachute with a white post. The color is brown to red-brown. It's a mayfly tie, sort of brown drake, but not meant to match anything exactly. They work pretty will on flat water because the body is... what do we call those things? Not quills. Feather segments torn off the quill and wrapped over thread making a nice ribbed body. I dub a fur thorax in a matching color. The tail is fibers from the same hackle as I use for the parachute. They are fragile floaters. Riffles tend to sink them unless they're dry and dabbed with a bit of silicone. Pretty durable though. I came up with them to deal with blue-winged olive hatches on the Chattahoochee. Those are mostly smaller ties, but I found they worked great as searchers when there was no hatch, so I tied some bigger ones for that. Trout eat them nicely. Chatahoochee holdovers don't fall got traditionally hackled flies very often.

I find a few scattered rises, mostly along the edge of the weed beds. Doesn't take me long to pick up a couple small browns. The current is braided, and the weed beds create eddies, getting a drift of more than a few feet is a challenge. I put down a few fish, but they come back after ten minutes or so. When a bit of untimely drag turns a fish off to the searcher, I switch to a #18 Adams parachute, or a #16 black ant. I take a couple more on those flies.

I see a bit more activity around 8am, even see some flashing wings in the air, but nothing that resembles a real spinner fall. The fish don't seem to think there's one either. They are coming up, but they don't seem fixated on anything in particular. They do seem to be refusing the searcher more often now though. A preference for smaller flies is becoming obvious.

I work back up towards the bridge. Just below the bridge there is a pod of brown, mostly small, working some hatch activity. I can't see a thing. I suspect it's midges, but can't get close to the water to try spotting them, nor can I see anything but random flies in the air. I do some hatchbusting, throwing my big searcher into the tail. At this point I have dad and son watching, and I remark that there's no way this is going to work, so, of course, a 10" brown promptly grabs the fly. After a few seconds of mad dashing, he performs a flawless long distance release.

My audience is impressed, but they would have been far more so if I'd kept my mouth shut, and encouraged the trout to let me release him, instead of the other way around. But humility is a virtue. I can always count on the trout to keep me humble.

We split up and I continue fishing up past the bridge. I release a few more small browns. A few more release themselves. I really don't mind if they do it. Saves time. I do like to at least get a good look at them so I can guess at the size and admire their color. If I get the leader to my rod tip, I'm content. They can go in peace.

I work up to a nice riffle, broken water, not too fast, a lot of football-sized boulders. I can smell fish over the faint perfume of cow patties. I flip my searcher up and let it drift down and get an immediate take. I get a couple follows, but no more takes. I try the Adams, get a splash. So I try the ant. Can't see the thing. I miss a couple takes. The ant just isn't where I think it is in the complicated currents.

I decide to rethink things. The trout do seem to like the ant. It's a one hook stream, so I can't drop the ant behind the searcher, which would be my first choice. I poke around and find a homemade yarn strike indicator and tie that 18" above my ant. First float the yarn stops. I miss. I take six more small browns in rapid succession before they all wise up.

It's about 10am now, and I can feel some heat on my exposed calves. I've been fishing in shorts and wading boots and the morning sun is pretty fierce. My lips feel a bit burn too. And I'm hungry. I decide to call it a morning and come back about 5pm, when the sun will be behind the trees on the western side and the shadows will cover the whole stream. The fish should feel a bit more comfortable and so should I.

I unstring, swap my boots for sandals, and drive back to the Sleep Inn. I'll nap, check email, then go hunt some fambaa and giant pekos in Star Wars Galaxies. And grab some lunch. Mex sounds good.

Posted by dan at June 30, 2004 11:24 PM | TrackBack