** This post is from contributing author, Matt Grobe. **
Man, who doesn’t anticipate when you have ALL DAY to do nothing but fish? Well, this past Sunday was one of those day’s for me. Mother Nature didn’t cooperate though, and 1.5 inches of much needed rain fell on Friday and Saturday, jacking up most of my options. Luckily, one of my favorite streams was still flowing at good levels even after the weekend downpour.
This stream is an ideal place to tight-line; it’s where I trained all winter last year. It’s where I honed in my skills — many times leaving defeated — but those defeats eventually molded me into a better fisherman. You could call this place my Jedi Master, and I it’s Padawan learner. It often feels like Jedi Mind Tricks are throwing you off your game, and flawless drifts in complex currents is what this stream is all about.
So I started the day off in the same pool where I started tight-lining about a year ago; only this time my drifts were better, and the fish came to hand much easier. About a dozen 9-14 inch wild brown trout ate my nymph’s eagerly; what a change from a year ago. I got most of them in calm water behind structure. The fish here really love cover. The trout on this stream are as beautiful as any fish in the country, and although small most of the time, they are very rewarding to catch.
Up until about 2 pm the fishing was stellar. I was running into some issues with moss and algae; it was caking my flies every time I dinked the bottom. Well the Troutbitten gang always has a remedy for situations like this. I started to “DROP SHOT NYMPH,” using one single fly, tying a piece of tippet off the bend of the hook and adding split shot to that section below the fly. This allows your flies to ride close to the bottom without gathering junk along the way. It’s super effective. This technique allowed me to continue catching fish and gave me the confidence I needed to get down low without fearing my flies would be covered in subsurface crap.
At 2 pm I decided to venture into an area of the river that I had never stepped foot in before. It was a boulder strewn nightmare waiting to gobble up any fisherman with bad balance. I love this type of water. The fishing slowed down, and areas that were producing earlier in the day seemed void of fish. Just when I was losing confidence, I noticed a slab of a brown trout that looked out of place in this stream…….
I love when the heart starts racing after locating a good fish. Mine was pounded like never before because this place isn’t known for numerous big fish. I took a deep breath and threw a tuck cast at the head of the riffle. He bolted! Man, how did he see me??? I was sick to my stomach, the fish of a lifetime outsmarted me. In frustration, I lobbed my fly again only to get hung up on a tree branch below me. I walked back down to get my fly untangled, and I just stared at the water below me thinking about what could of been.
While these negative thoughts were racing in my brain, I noticed another long, dark shadow tucked close to the bottom not far from where I was standing before. Hello Bane. He was laying in 18 inches of water and was probably only 15 feet from me. I don’t know how I didn’t see him before. So I took a deep breath and quickly lobbed my flies back into the water. This time I could see me fly tracking on the bottom right toward him. As with most big trout, he very lazily opened up his huge mouth and sucked in my fly! A slight hesitation and WHAM, I set the hook……FISH ON! Up and down the stream he went, swimming under rocks and other obstructions where he could. I horsed him out of a few hairy spots, heart pounding harder every minute! After a long struggle I ended up winning the battle and brought him to the net. WOW. Bane was the most rewarding trout I’ve ever landed, not just because his size, but because he came out of a stream that isn’t known to supply such quality fish. Having taught myself to tight-line here, and then getting rewarded with a trophy trout employing this technique….you could say Christmas came a little bit early for me this year. Being out on the water, learning new things, and experiencing situations like that really is what Troutbitten is all about.