September 8, 2021 – Friday
I go to this event each year as I appreciate the Park and am glad to contribute through a fundraiser that also includes fishing and a lunch with butternut squash soup from the Snapper Inn which is worth the entire entry fee all by itself.
Ed Kelleher and Joe Mikulas checked everyone in and we headed for the river. It’s a full day event from 8 to 4 so you can cover a lot of water. There were also a lot of new faces there which is good to see and Janet Soley made her debut as the new President of the organization. The fish were cooperative and a good time was had by all.
Friends of Connetquot is a worthwhile cause to support plus you get to meet new fly fishers and eat good food! Thanks to Ed and Joe for pulling it together each year.
I was walking for 27 but did stop along the way to check a few spots. I had a nice one on at 24 when John Samothrakis came along whom I had met earlier. He is new to the group and to fly fishing but is learning fast. In the parking lot I gifted him a Black Nose Dace which he promised to use first. He kept moving up to 28 which is where I found him when I finally made it to Bunces Bridge.
He was getting hits and enjoying watching the fish attack the fly. I went over to the upper 27 platform and the fish were a bit fussy. I switched from the Dace to a Joe Stack and had one on and a few up. At 30 I could see the fish. I switched to an Ant which I was having a hard time seeing. Casting from this perch is also a challenge and slapping the water never does much for my fish catching. 29 was easier casting but my sloppy casts continued for some reason. Tired? Probably, but I also noticed that my floating line was no longer floating. Even when I greased it with some Goop it was soon under water dragging my Ant.
John and I walked back together for lunch, chatting as we looked at a few spots. He is absorbing information like a dry sponge.
The lunch was soup and sandwich with salads from the Snapper Inn served with wine, beer and more. An FOC Black & White for dessert.
I put the soon to be replaced, malfunctioning, floating line away and switched to my Scott 9 foot 5 weight and Battenkill Reel. It is a powerful rod but lacks the touch of the 7′ Neuner Bamboo, although it did make landing fish easier because of its length given the long leader.
I put the Joe Stack on and tested 16a. The usual white foam has been washed away by the high water and it takes some adjusting to the water flow without the foam to guide me. After a bit a nice rainbow of good size comes up with open mouth and my reaction with the less flexible rod pulled it right out of his mouth. “I am counting that one as a take” and moved downstream.
At 16 the fish were not looking up yet. I put on a Joe Odierna tied White Death and had one while John, just below me on 15, was having a good afternoon with a number of fish in the net. He told me that he started nymphing but the fish were hitting his indicator so he switched to a dry fly of a similar color. He had 3 so far. He also hit on a wet fly. The fish seem to be getting a bit more active this afternoon. More willing to commit and certainly looking up.
I work 14 and then upper 12 with no takers. I am back to dry flies to keep out of the weeds. The currents at 11 have been modified by the high water and past flood as well. The fish are there but in different spots and with the eddy less defined by the debris which has been washed away, I keep going into a drag. I managed to tease one to come for the Ant and then moved down to 10.
I put the Ant, the Iris Caddis and the Renegade under the trees above the platform and nobody cared. I switched to the Joe Stack and had 3 in a few casts. Magic fly? Maybe. (It works well wherever I go so just maybe there is a little magic.)
I wanted to make it to Beat 9. I usually don’t fish two sessions back to back, and covering the river from 9 to 30 is a good day’s exercise, but 9 is one of my favorite places. It was worth the walk and the fish were cooperative.
I headed out at 3:30 passing my fishing friends, new and old, and looking forward to next year’s Friends of Connetquot Outing.