If you’re anything like me you’ve had far too many days when the steamer bite is tough, fish seem harder to find and engage and it seems like you are floating along simply getting 6 hours of casting practice. Bug switches become frequent as panic starts to sit in that the dreaded “skunk” is staring you straight in the face. Each and every single time you open your giant box of flies, a feeling of helplessness comes over you – and all of these great once proven fish catching patterns strike ZERO confidence.
We have all been there, sometimes the reasons are obvious why we aren’t able to engage fish – sometimes all you can chalk it up to is that fish are assholes.
As I look into my boxes of streamers I see several neatly organized rows of mostly natural appearing food resources. There are natural colored, natural sized sculpin imitations. There are piles of small appropriately colored baitfish patterns. There’s weighted flies, there’s unweighted flies. There are flies that swim left to right, flies that swim up and down, and flies that do both.
What I didn’t have in my box are large, bright, flashy, here I am type of streamers. Everything is in the 4″ to 5″ range with muted flash.
Before my last outing, looking at the water temperatures (33 degrees) and anticipating higher and dirtier flows than normal, I hurried to throw together some larger flash bugs – for when those desperate times called for desperate measures.
I’ve read it before, I’ve heard it before, I’ve seen it work before – but I’ve never done it before (I’m a slow learner), on slow days when you are not able to engage fish actively looking to feed………invade their safe space to invoke a reactive territorial strike.
Some times fish just won’t eat – but almost all the time they will protect their homes.
After fishing a half a day with 3 guys in the boat and seeing no fish, I figured it was time to throw caution to the wind and go big and bright. My confidence was nearly zip when I saw how stupidly bright and giant the fly was in the water, it was unlike anything I’d thrown before. Planning to give it an honest 30 minute trial run before going back to the tried and true more natural imitations – I only had to wait about 5 minutes before my large fly was completely inhaled by a fish about a half a strip after it landed in the water. I must have threatened this fish’s home for it to jump on the fly so quick and violently.
Sitting back down in the rowers seat, having a victory cigar never felt so good. After hours of casting and not seeing a fish – a nice trout like this is even more sweet. After spending a little over an hour trying to find fish for my boat buddies, I jumped back up to the front of the boat as shoulders were getting sore and spirits waning a bit again. About 10 minutes longer using the same giant ball of flash fly, and not even getting through one full strip of the line I was rewarded again.
The lesson here for me was simple and it was something that I’ve heard and read many times from far more accomplished and wiser anglers than myself – if they don’t eat, go directly into their kitchens and threaten them.
January 30, 2017 | Categories: Rigging, River Conditions, Streamers, Trip Report | Tags: brown trout, fly fishing, fly tying, michigan, mystic rods, sink tip, streamer fishing, streamer fly, trout | Leave a comment