Night Shift – One of These Days …

by | Jun 21, 2014 | 1 comment

One of these days I’m going to file an amazing night fishing report . . .

I started about an hour before dark, and action was crazy good on nymphs. Basically, I was Frank Nale-ing it, but just imagine what I could have done with a gold bead white spinner.

Right before dark I decided to change to my night fishing leader and tie on this fly.  “It’s the one that says bad mother f…….”

Took a big swig of water, affixed the headlamp to my forehead, tied Bad Mother to my .013 Maxima Chameleon tippet, and I got ready to swing the heartache.

The first cast shouldn’t even count. You know what the cast looks like, you’re basically just getting the line out there a little further. So the (technically) second cast happened and, damn did it land in a sweet spot. I twitched the rod tip, I thought about the first time I got laid, and then I lifted the extra line and short stripped that fly line subtle, like a p-r-o-fessional.

WHAM!  THAT’S a big fish!

I’d been night fishing in the summers for years but never really dedicated myself to hooking up with anything large, usually just fishing close to home, but on this night I had purposely planted my boots in some big-fish-water.  I finally had a waterproof phone/camera solution and a GorillaPod and I was ready to get night pics of some slobs.

There was enough light to see the outline of a trout as this fish broke the surface.  I mentioned the .013 “tippet” right?  The difference between that line and the 4x tippet that I usually tie on for nymphing is what changed this fight.  I never did get used to the lack of stretch in the line, and this big boy and I had a short, energetic fight all on the top of the water.  Splashes, jumps and short runs ended with my first brown of 20+ at night.

What else do you want to know? Heart was racing and blood pumping as I felt the weight of a good fish in the night net. This being only the second time to set up my tripod and the first actual picture worthy fish for it,  I didn’t know whether I was more happy about the fish or the new fly. First cast? This fish?

I tied that fly two days before, trying to copy the black thing that I saw sticking out of the mouth of every big trout in a five minute Rich Strolis night fishing slide show. As I plucked the fly out of the mouth of this exhausted trout I whispered, “That’s a bad mother f……”

Minutes later I texted this picture to some of you and immediately ruined the rest of my night with that curse. I fished for two more hours and got nothing. Not a bump. “What the hell happened,” you ask? I have no explanation.

But, I refuse to let what happened in the last two hours of this night of fishing sway me from what I believed after one cast with that fly.

Maybe we should call the fly Honey Bunny.

In the interest of accuracy and honesty, it wasn’t completely dark yet when I hooked the fish. I could still see my fly on the water, so this can’t count as a night fish.

I suck.

But, one of these days I’m going to get to file an amazing night fishing report …..

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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1 Comment

  1. Dom,
    I’ve reading through your more previous articles and just thought…”Hey, I wonder what his first articles were like?” Glad I did. I’ve been very very tempted to do some night fishing myself, and although I don’t live on the greatest trout eater in MD, I know there are beasts that lurk within. It’s just ALOT of water to search.

    I guess I should just suck it up and drive a little farther to some better trout water to have a more successful night.

    I did have one cool experience that was relatively local. My buddy has a small branch flowing right behind his house and he has mentioned that he’s seen fish in it. He’s not a fly fisherman. Yet.

    So I had just rigged up my very first Mono rig. 20 ft. Of 20 lb. Cameleon, 10ft. Of 10 lb., etc. tied on a white leech pattern (similar to a white half pint) and snuck down to the water towards the upper section. It was getting on dark. The sun had just tipped over the horizon. As I approached the water, I saw a sip on the surface down below me. You know, the kind of sip that comes only from a larger fish. Trees were tight, skinny water emptying into a slower deeper run. I made a couple forward casts and laid the line out on my back cast, right in the middle of the run. The fish hit my fly almost immediately and after a fight lasting about 30 sec, he was in the net. I didn’t measure him. I didn’t really care. The fish filled my net. I was ecstatic! Got a couple pics, released it, and took a sip of whiskey.

    I knew there was probably only one fish in that section of water, but I got greedy and fished the whole section anyway. Not even a nibble…. Still, I took it as a sign. I’ve been fishing the Mono rig ever since with pretty good success.

    It’s good to keep a flask in your pocket on the water. You never know when you might need it.

    Reply

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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