Above Bunces

May 3, 2021 – Connetquot

It is Monday and rain is expected, but not much.  Jeff assembles our unofficial group to bring us up to date on the Covid impact on the PHW program.  Grin and bear it is the general feeling while hoping for a return to normal soon. Tom Casey is there along with most of the Usuals.  It is good to see them.  John Waltz and Ted Bany join us as well.

I head upstream and John says he will come up as well after visiting 16A. I tell him to look for me around Bunces Bridge.

Taking my time, I walk slowly but don’t fish.  There are many visible rainbows until I pass 22.  After that they are in seclusion and perhaps not as plentiful. I prefer it that way. 

There once was a story told by some writer of note that a fly fisherman died and went to hell for his transgressions.  When he got there he found himself on a beautiful chalk stream with a rising fish.  He cast and caught it – 18 inches.  Released it and it rose again in the same spot.  Cast and caught it, same 18 inches, same place, same fly.  Then again.  He suddenly realized he really was in hell after all.

I start drifting a BWO at 28. The river is quiet.  In fact all the way up I didn’t see a rise or a bug. With the sky overcast and the wind light, I sensed a spooky feeling like no fish were around.  Can’t be, can it?

My fly drifts unmolested. I move to 29 and work each of the openings, fishing to quiet water, not a flash or a splash.  At 30 I put on a fresh BWO in a size 16.  A fish moves toward it and then refuses. Game on!

I tie on a traditional BWO dry and recast. After a dead drift and a twitch – Bang. That one gets off and the others seem to have learned from his mistake as no one else comes to the fly – until it sinks.  Another good fish, and this time in the net.  

I put on one of the BWO emergers pictured at the top of this post.  They have a little CDC wing and don’t float well.  Also hard to see, but in this flat water I can follow the drift, most of the time.  I often find myself looking at some light colored debris instead of the fly. The emerger worked and then it didn’t.  Fussy fish. I took a break.

While sitting on the bench by the bridge eating a delicious apple (not a Delicious, a Fuji that was delicious) John comes walking up. He had some luck downstream.  This is his first visit to the upper river, to Bunces Bridge.  We chat a bit and I introduce him to Beat 29.  I roll cast it – with no fish helping me authenticate the efficacy of the technique. 

John Waltz on Beat 27 – Bunces Bridge

He went over to 27 and had a good hit – then headed downstream as the session was coming to an end.  I followed, after losing a fly at 26. He goes over to Deep Water Pond while I head for the car.  His Woolly Bugger proved irresistible to a nice bass.

We both headed for home smiling, the last two in the parking lot. It was just 3 pm.

A note:  When on the Esopus with Joe last week I used the new Scott Rod I won at Long Island Flyrodders.  It is a powerful 9 ft. 5 wt. and helped me cast all day without much effort.  Today I selected my old favorite, the GLoomis 9 ft. 5 wt. from the early 80’s. I noticed the difference.  It was more work to roll cast and flip in these confined upper reaches of the Connetquot.  Next time I’ll try the Scott up here as well. Thanks again LIFR!

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