First Fish of the Year

The year began with the Edison Fly Fishing Show

…which I did not attend but my books were there. Then the Casting Clinics at Connetquot (didn’t go due to snow) and Caleb Smith (which I attended). The LI Fly Fishing Expo was last week and LITU sold over 27 of the new Long Island Stream Guide which is already in its 3rd printing.

Busy, busy but the first fishing is on the Connetquot with Shane:

March 20, 2019 – Connetquot

Shane is home on Spring Break. I ask if he wants to go fishing, he jumps on it. I had picked up new waders and boots at RiverBay Outfitters to have them on hand in case he or Hunter wanted to fish.  Redington brand, Paul gave me a good price.  The boots are size 12 which will fit Hunter but Shane could use an extra pair of socks. 

I explain how the park works

We arrive at about 11 am for the noon session.  There are 7 people ahead of us including a guy who was tail-gating me from Sunrise at the crossover at exit 47a.  As we approach the park entrance he zooms around me – he is number 7. Oh well. I am not concerned about getting any beat in particular although it would be nice to have two that are next to each other. We end up with 16 and 10, both good beats.

A couple of Blog readers

…come over and say hello which is nice. We wander around while waiting for the 11:45 sign in time. Took in the sights – the clubhouse, the mill, the pond and river.  A few folks are fishing at Beats 3 and 4. We suit up and get on line. The crowd is jovial and nervous at the same time, worrying about getting the beat they want and, more so, getting into the fish.

Beat 16a

I had not realized that they assign 16 separately from 16a which is the platform by the whirlpool.  When we arrive a fellow is rigging up. I say hello and mention that we have 16.  I am looking forward to showing Shane this interesting hole.  He said he has it and pulls out his receipt which clearly says 16a.  My mistake.  I apologize and thank him for pointing the way to 16, just below where he is.

16 is a good spot and holds plenty of fish

We start with a Green Woolly Bugger, walking upstream of the platform and drifting it down the far side.  There is a big fish or two working in front of the rock diverter and Shane puts the fly in front of him but he isn’t interested.  Neither is anybody else as we drop it back and then over to the log.

Shane on Beat 16

You all know I am not a big nympher but the idea here is for my grandson to catch a fish. I put on a new tippet and a buggy looking bead head nymph with an indicator. Shane quickly adjusts to the flip and drift, even as he is managing with his right hand. (He is a lefty. I have to remember to set up a lefty reel for him.) He has an immediate hit, a big boy who quickly separates the knot I tied. Damn! Shane thinks it is his fault, that he did something wrong, but he didn’t.  I did. My hands just don’t pull the knots tight enough anymore.

We recover and tie on a new rig

Two flies this time. We drift them, adjust them, and drift some more but the hole is done, at least for now. It is time to move down to Beat 10.

It’s a good walk and he seems to enjoy the scenery, especially the water crossings by 13 and 11.  A few guys are fishing 11 & 12 and had some luck on nymphs and a wet fly.  Some are walking out and invite us to fish their beats. Plenty of fish are evident. “Stacked up” they say.

Shane on Beat 10

10 is usually productive

Shane starts with the nymphs but then switches to the Bugger. I have a Joe-Stack on my line. Dry fly. As Shane works the downstream I pop the dry here and there hoping to get lucky on what has been a tough day so far. An hour passes with no action so we decide to go back and finish upstream.  We pass a fellow who invites us to try 15 as he is not going back to it – “Just don’t drink my coffee” he jokes.

This is the way it should be

Everyone being respectful and generous as we enjoy this beautiful place together.  I had tied a few flies specifically for the deep hole at 15, a weighted White Woolly Bugger with a cone head for one.  It sinks like a stone so it can get down to where the fish are in that rush of water that has created the deep pool.

I shorten the tippet

…tie on some 4x, then Shane goes to work.  He can see the fish and is working to control the fly, sometimes dropping it too far back and other times riding it too high. We work on it and when it is just right he has a few takes, but no hook ups. I am reminded of my early days on this river and how difficult it was to get it just right (and I was a righty fishing right handed).  He has handicapped himself and is doing just fine.  We switch to a heavy Green Bugger.

White or Green?

I try not to be too instructive

… but I know I am and it can be annoying.  I show him one more time before I take my rod and move upstream. 

The Bugger gets bit!

He is on and he is a good one. Shane’s first instinct is to reel him in as the drag is singing, the line running off.  He asks what to do? 

“Just play with him for a while.” 

 “What if he comes off?”

 “Don’t worry about that, just enjoy the feel of him.”

And he did.

Shane’s first Connetquot Rainbow

A great opening for our season and a day I will remember for a long time.  Can’t wait for us to do it again.

For more information on fishing Connetquot click here