What I Learned This Week on the River - Episode #1

This post can also be found on my blog at www.jumpcreekflies.com.

Most weeks I get out fishing at least once. And every time I go I learn or in some cases relearn something. So I hope to pass on these little items on a somewhat weekly basis. These tips can be about pretty much anything related to fly fishing and some may help you, some may not. Take them for what they are worth.

So on to this weeks items.  Two things happened that were "light bulb" moments when I was on the water this week. Lets start with an, "oh duh" moment to establish that I can be pretty blockheaded at times.

 #1)For a long time I have fished with fly patterns that use CDC and thus my favorite floatant to carry on the water is of the powdered desiccant variety, such as Frogs Fanny or Doc's Dry dust. These types of floatants do a great job with CDC, but  when you open the bottle and apply it to the fly, the fine powder tends to stay airborne a long time. To avoid inadvertently breathing any of this stuff in, which I can't imagine would be good for you, I have always turned my back to any wind or breeze, and applied the powder to the fly, thinking the breeze would carry the powder away from me. However, I still managed on occasion to somehow breath a little in and it was getting old. Finally I realized the swirling current coming around my back was not always carrying the powder away from me but in fact sucking it right back into me. I was creating an eddy and we fishermen know what eddies do.  Well ***ding*** the light bulb went on yesterday, and I figured out that the best way to make sure the excess powder gets blown away from me is to turn sideways to the wind when applying this product to a fly. It works much better.

Well now I feel silly as that was probably pretty obvious, but my lungs thank me today for finally thinking of this.

#2)Now on to an a actual fly fishing item. Fish can be feeding in a spot, but it's good to ask yourself, where is the food they are eating coming from?  Another pretty obvious tip, but one that is good to remember on the water, so I don't feel bad bringing it up. Here is what I mean by that.

Exhibit A

Refer to the above rudimentary drawing to visualize this scenario.  This week I was fishing  to a lonely riser that was feeding in the very center of a 2 foot by 2 foot area in the midst of three boulders in the stream. My only real approach to the fish was from the rear right of the fish, just because of the way the rocks were situated. Because I had this defined area that the fish was in, between these rocks, I just assumed that any fly that flowed through this area would be on the fish's radar. The way the rocks were situated, and the way I had to approach the lie, the easiest way to fish this was going to be to cast just to the right of Rock 1 in the picture, and let the current push the fly through the middle of the area. It seemed logical that if the fly floated right through the center of the area the fish was rising there was a good chance it would see my fly and hopefully rise to it. After making several fruitless casts I wondered about my fly selection, but as is usually the case, it is often more about our presentation than it is about the fly we are using, so I stuck with it.

Then I noticed that while the fish was in fact feeding in the middle of this area, where my fly had been floating directly over, there were two currents coming together here, and it occurred to me the fish may be positioned to feed on bugs coming from the current pushing off of the left shoulder of Rock 2 (again see above picture). I had cast to the current flowing off the lead rock because it was easier to get my fly drifting from there, to where the fish was feeding, and this current coming from the right was a much tougher cast. The window of where my fly could land without spooking the fish on one side, and getting caught up on Rock 2 on the other side, was much smaller. It was worth a shot though.  I loaded the rod and some how managed to drop the fly in that little window on the first cast, and sure enough the fish was all over it. Lesson learned, or relearned, and I will probably have to be reminded of it again one of these days.

It was a rewarding week on the river and with these reminders I hope we all can keep our lungs clear of "Frogs Fanny" and our flies in the correct feeding lane of hungry fish.

Tight Lines.

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