It would be safe to say that smallmouth on the fly is a current addiction. Back for more last night, a shorter session at three hours (6pm-9pm), and quite different from Monday’s.
For starters, the water was up a wee bit (180 cfs and rising) and perhaps had a bit more color. While not Africa hot, the air was rain forest humid. I got soaked just walking from the truck to the river. And the overall action was off, in terms of general size and numbers. But yessiree Bob, it was still good.
How to tell it’s summertime by the river. We get these along the Farmington, too.
The surface action window was brief, about a half hour, and I didn’t even bother trying to fish with classic dry flies. I saw a few caddis and a handful of white flies (and the ever-present midges) — clearly the smallies were keyed on emerging bugs. I sat on a rock, enjoying my cigar, and as it got dark I went to work on some risers with a size 6 olive Zoo Cougar. That was fun, but for me the main event would be testing a prototype surface bug I’ve been working on, a floating/neutrally buoyant version of the Deep Threat, size 4. (More once I get it ironed out.) On it went, and….nothing. And more nothing. Finally, a respectable bass. Then another, a little bigger. I saw a splashy rise down the pool and parked the fly over it on my next cast.
KA-BLAM!!! It was one of those takes where you knew you had a good fish on from the moment the transaction went down. As soon as I came tight to the bass he went airborne. I cackled out loud, which you can do with impunity when you’re alone on a river. Thrust and parry, thrust and parry, my forearm burning with fatigue. (This is surely why God created 0x leaders.) And there he was. A smallmouth you could measure in pounds instead of inches. (Yeah, I know, low pounds, but please let me have my moment of glory unmolested.)
I’ve now landed a mid-teens Housy smallmouth and a mid-teens Farmington wild brown, and I gotta tell you, with all due respect to Salmo trutta, that it’s not even a contest when it comes to battle skills.
So, the new fly works.
It’s probably not a wise decision to do an impromptu victory dance while you’re wading out of a river in the dark. But I couldn’t resist.