Fathers day was great. Took the kids fishing and watched them reel in a bunch of sun fish and one 10" bass that just about pulled Will's little rod from his hands. Plus we caught weeds with nets and tried to find some crayfish. A very good time for Rosemary the two munchkins and I. They had not yet decided to tackle the pond yet in the pics... thus they are pretty dry. About 10' later they were waist deep and going for it!
After getting home from the fishing trip, we got the kids down for a nap and worked on a stone wall we are building to retain a wildflower garden Rosemary's building. And after dinner, I got the green light to zip out to the Millers and fish until whenever. I texted my friend Scott to see if he could make it, but car trouble delayed his seeing the text, and when he called I was half way there... He ended up having an awesome night with a Yellow Sally hatch on a river about 5 miles from where we live and with his 10 year old son. Sounded awesome!
I arrived about 6:30PM, and got into gear mode...
Waders and boots, check!
Bag and 4wt, check!
Stop 1, the "first run". This is a spot where water from a big bend/pool on the river funnels through a shoot into a wider glide. I dont know how deep it is... but even in the lowest summers I've not seen the bottom dead center of this pic... It's a LONG ways down! I started out swinging a sulfer emerger wet with a bead head Telico flymph variant that I like on this river... there were a few fish slurping with aggressive rises, so off wen the bead head and on with a picket pin... 2 swings, 2 misses. Doh! This "Pilot" is rusty...
After the second miss I headed up stream. The last few times I have fished here it was rolling along strong at 400~ cfs. it's best 200~... and on this saturday it was 100. That kind of condition, makes the run above the big pool (Rezendes pool) sort of a mild riffle... So I went to it's head (about as far to the left as you can get in this pic) and started swinging my set... First time through and a fall fish. Next time and a strong take right in front of a blown down tree. the fish dug and pop... the picket pin's dropper knot broke and the fish was off.
I cut off the sulfer and put the pin on as the single fly and got back to a drift, swing, dangle, 1 step down stream, repeat meditation through the "riffle". I managed one brown in this stretch.
Here is where the fishless blog title comes from. I have been using my cell phone for a camera. If' I'm going to keep at this blogging thing, I need to get a waterproof cam. I'm WAY to scared to drop my phone into the river. So, fishing from a boat or a small stream where you are on the shore in 1 step... cool. Photos abound... but standing 75 feet out in a river that's tough to wade... I dont trust myself and dont want to risk the phone... So, there are no fish pic's coming here regrettably.
After fishing the riffle, I hopped on the bank and worked down past the only other guy there (a small miracle) and got back to the first run. I got a few right off the bat swinging the picket pin... but there was one fish making aggressive splashy rises on the far side of the stream, next to a rock at the bottom of the run. At first I was lazy and kept fishing up stream swinging... but that fish got me going... so on went a klinkhamer and to the tail of the pool I walked.
I'm no "elite" or "expert" dry fly guy. I enjoy drys, but admit I'm sort of a hack with them. small streams are easy, and I love dry's there... but on a major river, the deal gets a bit tougher... I do it because it's fun, and because when I was in the 4th grade and my neighbor was teaching me to cast and telling me stories about Lee Wulff... I figured to be a "fly fisherman" you had to learn to be a mean dry fly guy. So, I can fish dry's in a workman like way, nothing flashy... and if it gets really technical... It's sort of a wim and prayer.
Well, this fish, kept rising, but I couldnt really get much closer than about 55-60 feet, slightly quartered down stream and with the main current between he and I. That's to much for my skill set normally. So I tried fishing a low overhanging branch about 2/3 of the distance away, but straight across (so like 15yds down stream) and was realizing I could get a good drift for 5-10 feet - and I was seeing a few fish come up and nose the fly... so it was close. Then one ate it and I figured if I could just get 1 good drift past that rock, I had a chance...
One double haul. One shot. before I could finish thinking "Wow, I landed that fly 2 feet in front of the rock", the fish rocketed clean out of the water eating the fly aggressively. I hooked him, and fought the fish in. He had the whole fly down in his cheek. No "lip" hooking here as is often the case with a dry. This fish ATE that Klinkhammer!
He was big. Pushing 20" based on a net measurement... almost certainly the largest fish I've caught on a dry. Fun, fun fun! But, no pic's... so I acknowledge... not so fun for you guys!
For a moment, I felt like a "real" fly fisherman landing such a nice fish on a long cast with tricky current - on a dry... but given the rest of the night was filled with casts better for a streamer fisherman and a few missed strikes... I guess it was just a moment of synchronicity, and a moment Ill happily carry forward.