Despite the warmer weather, fishing has been pretty decent for me. As of late, I’ve become obsessed with catching big fish. In fly fishing jargon, some would refer to this as “Head Hunting”. I’m not out in search of every fish in the river, I’m looking for the biggest fish in the river. I think I caught the bug in March when my friend Chris and I hooked into multiple monster bows on what could only be described as an epic day. In my opinion, the best way to catch big fish is to throw fly patterns that imitate what made them so big…baitfish. Big and heavy articulated streamers seem to do the trick just fine. Since it has been so hot lately, I’ve been sticking to fishing before noon and then fishing the last couple hours of daylight. So far it has produced great results.
First Hybrid of the Morning…Not a Bad Sized One Either
Another Chunky Hybrid
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to go fishing with Brent from Uprising Flyfishing and my friend Chris who I fish with all the time. Our target, fatty mirrors from a reservoir chock full of them. It didn’t take much time to starting seeing where the fish were. It took a little bit longer to figure out how to get them to take. I tried a few different things but settled on a little creation that I had tied up the night before. I stood still for a while and eventually was surrounded by fat and happy feeding carp. The only problem is that as soon as I hooked on, the rest were gone. The fish are very wary right now and even the slightest misstep in your wading will spook them all away. A hooked carp is a surefire way to spook the school away. The fishing was “hot” by any means but having to work for fish made it well worth the effort. Some times it is nice to be challenged harder than you’ve been in a long time. This trip was definitely the hardest that I have ever had to work for a carp. It wasn’t that they weren’t biting, it was that the takes were so subtle. I couldn’t see any of the takes because the water was so dirty but it felt like the fish were just barely lipping the flies as they went by. It was a huge contrast to just a couple months ago. The fish would chase down your fly and hammer it hard. Although they are harder to entice this time of year, it is well worth the effort. The fish are very healthy and even the smaller fish will give you a run for your money. We weren’t able to land any monsters on this outing but it was still a great time. Thanks again Brent for driving and showing us a phenomenal flat.
Quite the Belly on This Guy
My First Carp of the Day
Brent With One of the Many he Caught
An Eery Sunset
Friday was a pretty busy day for me but I was able to get out for a couple hours in the evening. The weather wasn’t the most ideal. Smoke was constantly blowing in and out and it looked a little eery outside. The wind was blowing pretty good and a cold front was moving in. Throwing big flies in the wind is when the “Chuck and Duck” technique becomes necessary. A whack in the back of head helps you learn this one real fast. I planned on starting off swinging and stripping streamers and as the sun went down switching over to a mouse. The first hour or so was pretty slow going. I hit my usual spots with no success at all. Not even a bump from smaller fish. I worked my way up to a spot that I lost one heck of a trout earlier in the week. While working my way up I hooked a couple of little guys but not the big guy I was in search of. My first couple of casts produced nothing but I knew a fish was there so I continued working the hole. Right as the fly landed I felt a hard smack and the fish rocketed right out of the water. I immediately knew it was a nice fish and was surprised at the jump. In my experience, most large trout will dive down as hard as they can. Next thing I know the fish has ripped out a bunch of line and is shooting right for the shallow water. This would generally be a good thing but when you’re trailing another big streamer behind your lead fly, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. The trailer fly can hook up on rocks and next thing you know the fish is gone. Knowing this, I really started horsing the fish back into the deeper water until I could tire it out enough to net it. It made a couple more runs for the shallow water but I eventually brought it to the net and came out victorious. I balanced my camera on my backpack and set the self timer. Snapped a few pics and the fish was back in the river to be caught another day.
Patience Paid Off Again
At this point in time my happy bucket was pretty full. I had accomplished the goal that I had went out to do and was ready to call it a day. I decided to throw a mouse on and fish it for a few minutes just for fun. I had a little foot long cutt explode on it but in its excitement, the little guy completely missed the fly. By this point in time I was getting pretty cold and decided to call it a day. Although things started a little slow, that is often how it goes when throwing streamers. When it comes down to it, I now fish for quality rather than quantity. Sometimes that means long periods of time without a single hit or fish. In the end, the reward of a trophy fish makes the waiting 100% worth it.