Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Well, that was fun...

I have been working a lot lately getting ready for a big seminar I was doing and great event called RaceMania.  Its a blast, but, I needed a reboot, so Rosemary told me to go fishing yesterday afternoon.  One of the good things of self employment - I can do things like that :).

About the only game in town right now is the Swift River tailwater.  It's my old stomping grounds, and I was really excited to get out.

Always enjoy this descent.  Heading into the Millers River Valley - who said MA is flat :)

Easy on me MA SPD - I realize these on road pic's are not the best... That said, this view towards my hometown, looking across Quabbin Valley, that hump you can see is the Prescott Peninsula, beyond it, Petersham MA - greatest place on earth.

Trying to keep this, my first bow of the day, wet... amazed how it blends into the river...

Now, here's the cool thing.  I caught a lot of rainbows.  One brown.  When I started out, the weather was mid-upper 30's and damp.  I picked up a few on #22 tan thread midges with olive wire rib.  I noticed the "Infamous" Y pool only had one guy and figured I would fish it.  Rarely do I, because it's normally packed with about 5-10 people... and well, there is other water with fish!

As I approach, I realize there were a few guys on the rocks on the far shore, so I made 4 folks.  But one guy was leaving, so I just slid into a spot I've literally not fished in years (not the pool, the position in it) on the north edge, kind of between the two main current's flowing into it.  Started out midging... but, in the last few years, age or impatience has caused me to not want to get much below a 24.  I just dont find it that fun dealing with the tackle needed to do that, nor the length of fight I need to put the fish through.  It's certainly it's own art, and if you love it, have at it... Just not for me at this point.  Add that to the contrarian in me, the part of me that likes to fish #6 cherynobyl ants in while others are trying to deal with #30 shuttle cocks or mole flies on this river... and well... big won out.

Despite having my 11 foot #4 nymph rod in hand, I swapped out to 5X flouro, dug out the biggest flies I had with me (first was a brown version of my "Ugly Damsel" which was on a #6 streamer hook), I got about 5 on that swinging it, and dredging bottom with it.  Every fish made me giggle - knowing the guys that had just left were talking about fishing 7-8x, and complaining that they thought their #30's were to small.  I mean c'mon - slugging meat and catching when others are "matching the midge hatch" is pretty awesome.

Oh, that's another cool thing, everyone cleared out, and I had the river to myself - that said, I was as voluntarily close to hypothermia as I could get most of the time. If you have fished the swift, you know it's rare to be alone... It's even more rare to have the Y pool to yourself.  Only one other time do I recall that, and it was a 20 degree winter day - had to look back in my old notes to find that.  So, I've fished that river 30~ years and only had 2 days where I had it to myself.  I guess a cold, pouring rain, random March Tuesday is the ticket :)!

I'd forgotten my gloves and hat and my rain coat was soaked through (as was I) which resulted in the heavy, cold rain sending an Icy chill that took a large decaf Dunkins coffee and hour car ride with the heater on blast home to start warming up again!  That's why only 1 pic.  Point blank, I could barely hold my phone and didnt want to drop it in the drink to test out whether the Samsung S7 really is water resistant to 5 feet...

This is a great book.  I've read it many times.  It's not a joke, it's literally been referenced in peer reviewed papers in many areas of study.  Yesterday reminded me of something that's repeated a lot over the years while  fishing.  Sometimes, whats "supposed" to work... is what you have to do.  But often, our bias of what we should do confirms a reality that does not have to be there.  I mean, 10 years ago, tossing a 7" streamer for trout anywhere would have been nearly insane, today, it happens some what commonly.

Believed best practice on the swift is to fish small, skinny flies most of the time, and in summer you may luck out with a sulpher hatch or BWO's or something.  late summer terrestrials come to play.  But overall, small, skinny flies are the deal.

Bullshit.  (not being crass, just trying to hit confirmation bias out of each of us).

It wont always work, but sometimes you can find success doing something very different.  Yesterday, I started with  that #6, when a big trout broke me off, I rummaged through and found a #1 cone head beast of a streamer I carry for a different local river.  This thing was thumb thick with a 4" long rabbit strip tail.  It's big, thick, ugly... and I caught a ton of trout on it.

If you are confronted with a challenge, and you feel yourself wondering what to do, dont get down.  Acknowledge that thought/feeling, get curious about it, and expand your views - looking at possibilities.  If it helps, take a beginners mind to it, by "pretending" you have no clue, like you are a kid seeing this for the first time.

Dont let YOUR history (or others view of history) ruin your ability to adapt, adjust and grow with things.

Have fun out there!


  1. Will, Mass. is definitely not flat I can attest to that.
    Gorgeous rainbow looks almost wild.

    1. He looks that way from above Alan... But the tail wear and pectoral wear suggest otherwise... Really pretty coloration regardless.

  2. Great post! Always pays to try and be different and catch the fish off guard.