Open guide date Tuesday 6/18 (tomorrow)

THE SPOT HAS BEEN FILLED. THANK YOU!  

My client for tomorrow, Tuesday, June 18 had to cancel, so suddenly I have a half-day open to anyone who wants to give themselves a late Father’s Day (or Mother’s Day!) present. Four hours, has to be mid/late morning-ish to mid-afternoon-ish. Rates are here.

Fantastic Farmy fishing. Right now.

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Farmington River Report 6/13/19: Fish on!

Mark is a repeat client, and yesterday he wanted to work on his nymphing. We picked a great day for it: moderate-to-high flows, overcast, rain, showers, cold (54 degrees in mid-June? Really?). We hit three marks below the Permanent TMA and found multiple fish willing to play in all of them. The method was a combination of indicator and tight line nymphing, both using a drop-shot rig. We fished a size 16 Starling and Herl top dropper and a size 14 Frenchie variant on point; the trout found favor with both flies.

Trutta buttah, the best fish of the day, a some-teen inch wild brown that hammered the Frenchie. Love those pecs! Great job playing and landing by Mark.

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Pure paar pulchritude. This yearling was my personal favorite, a testament to the fertile nature of the river. He selected the Starling and Herl. Mark also took a half-dozen rainbows of varying size, all of which were more than happy to treat us to aerials and other obstreperous behavior.

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A shout out to Mark who has vastly improved his nymphing skills: line/leader management, quality drifts, and especially hook sets. Well done, and thanks for a great day.

Striper Report: Grass Shrimp Basstravaganza

I love me some topwater grass shrimp action. Even if the bass are on the small side, there’s so much soak in: the metronome-in-molasses turning of the tide; the bottle rocket-like traces made on the surface by hundreds of mating shrimp; and the percussive pops and swirling boils of the diners.

The method was a floating line and three fly team, presented with a combination of swings, mends, dangles, and animating the flies by raising and lowering the fly rod. I took the first fish, then handed the rod over to #2 son Cam, who spent the next gleeful hour catching stripers. Cam reported that he could feel the bass sucking the fly in — the first tap — and then waiting to feel the second tap or the weight of the fish to set the hook. What a great job he did (said his proud papa). Cam had the bonus excitement of his first double hookup, a riot with two feisty schoolies in tow.

Droppers are the fastest way to find out what the fish want, and last night they wanted all of the below. The Grass Shrimp Gurgler was on point; Orange Ruthless clam worm in the middle. If you’re not fishing droppers during small bait/lots of bait events, you are missing out on a proven, strategic advantage — not to mention plain old fun. You can read more about how to tie and fish dropper rigs for stripers here.  

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The Law of the Instrument and the Intermediate Line

I recently came across a reference to the Law of the Instrument, and it reminded me of fly fishing with an intermediate line in surf and current — especially since I recently used an intermediate line for two days on Cape Cod.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Law of the Instrument, it’s basically this: If all you have is a hammer, you see everything as a nail.

And why, you may ask, was I fishing with an intermediate line? It was the ideal taper and grain weight for my new two-hander. For test drive casting, it was aces. For fishing, it reminded me why I never choose an intermediate line for current or surf. (For more on this, read Mainly Misunderstood: Five Myths and Realities About Using Floating Lines for Striped Bass.

“The fundamental thing about fly fishing is presentation. It means that you control what’s going on, so that you can bring your fly to the fish. You’re in control. Not the line. Not the accident.” What Ken is saying is simple: use the right tool for the job.

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Perhaps the Law of the Instrument explains so many of the misconceptions about intermediate lines: they are less affected by surf, they are good for presenting deep, they are versatile. (D: none of the above.)

Expand your toolbox with a floating line — and you’ll begin to notice all the screws and nuts and bolts around you.

Cape Cod Mini Report: Get Shorty

I recently spent two long nights fishing the Cape and as is so often the case, it was good news/bad news: legions of stripers/99% of them shorts (some unworthy of trout size). But the company was fine, the midnight tea lovely, and I got the chance to play around with a line that actually worked on my new two-hander. (Of course, that line is no longer made.) Just getting back to a regular schedule now after 5am bedtimes.

To (again) quote Colin from The Great Escape: “Tea without milk is so uncivilized.” British mate Mike Oliver does the honors, his world famous Kelly Kettle on the right.

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Used to be a September Night. I have no idea how many bass I caught on this fly. We fished moving tides, incoming and outgoing, with great success.

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Farmington River TMA Poachers and the TIP Line

Unfortunately last week I witnessed two incidences of attempted poaching within the Farmington River Permanent TMA.

Use the TIP (Turn In Poachers) line if you witness poaching. Other than the actual creeling of fish, warning signs include: those toting large plastic buckets (and not for storing gear); dragging trout up on the bank and taking a lackadaisical approach to hook removal (all trout are to be returned to the river without avoidable harm); building stone weirs to keep the fish alive and penned in until they make their move. You betcha, I saw all of this behavior, as well as the attempt to walk off with trout.

TIP Line: 1-800-842-HELP (4357). Program it into your phone. Don’t be bashful about using it.

A poacher’s MO from a few years ago. I recovered this after he broke it off on the bottom. Barbless hooks only in the permanent TMA!

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