September 9, 2020 –
Friends of Connetquot Annual Fishing Outing
– a fund raiser for this volunteer organization that does so much to enhance the experience of all the different users, including fly fishers. If you enjoy this park you should consider joining – the dues are very modest and the good deeds great.
It is a beautiful day – cool in the morning and warm later.
Sunshine. I meet Joe Mikulas at the Barns where I check in. Up at the Hatchery we park next to one another and chat. I show him a photo of my catch up at Caleb Smith then give him a Joe-stack. He reciprocates with a photo of his Connetquot monster. Neither of us are fish photo flashers but each of these catches deserved a flash! I am going to fish upstream and he’s going down but we are enjoying our chat so I walk with him to 16A. Once there I show him how I use the Joe-stack and then show him again. Another convert in the making.
I walk to Rainbow Bridge
and meet John who is not familiar with the Park having not fished it in many years. I confirm what he has been told about no wading up-river. He has a fine rod in his hand so I figure he will enjoy the challenging fishing the upper river presents. He goes back to the car for his mask and catches up to me around Beat 24.
I saw some fish on the way up,
but not too many. He hasn’t seen one yet. Between 26 and 27 we gaze into the deep pool where we can see them cruising about in the eddy. I offer him the access but he wants to move on up. A small parachute BWO, floated in both the downstream flow and the eddy doesn’t do it. Then a nymph Chuck gave me, with no indicator, but nothing. In a short while John comes back. He has some business that needs attention. I wish him luck and hope to see him later.
I go up to 29 and 30.
Looking it over, I decide not to cast until I see a target. Just as I am about to head downstream there is a rise and then more. Lots more. Getting a cast off in the breaks between the platforms is indeed a challenge, especially from the bank. I manage a modified roll cast while balanced on two hummocks and land two of them. Medium rainbows of modest spirit. They may not stock up here but the stockies are finding their way.
Lunch is one of the joys of this outing.
Provided by the Snapper Inn, it is at the Main House at 12, so I hike down at a good pace.
Lobster Roll for me. Yum. Rita didn’t bake a cake but assures us that the cookies in the lunch bag are worthy substitutes. Ginny Fields says a few words about Friends of Connetquot and then they hold a raffle for an Arthur Shilstone framed print, one of my favorites. I buy 5 tickets but it goes to another which is probably just as well since I don’t have any more wall space at home. In fact, there are a few in the basement waiting for the right time to either rotate the walls or find them a new home.
I stay after lunch and fish Beat 4
and 2 as well as walk up to 8. At 4 I stay on the grass between the platform and the bridge and haul casts with the 6’6” 4 weight out to rises, big rises. Big fish. But far out. I come up short but fish it anyway. Let it ride for a while, then twitch. I don’t recall which I was doing when she hit. Wham! A jumper of the first order. Not so much large as high energy and bright silver. 4 -5 jumps and a good run in between each. When I net her someone behind me asks what is it. I forgot that I am not alone here.
I look at 2 and decide to move on upstream and perhaps test it later.
I have high expectations for 8.
When I get there a young couple is enjoying the sun on the fishing pier. I wait until they notice and the lovers politely surrender it to me. I said I would have liked to have let them be, but it was a long walk for an old guy. They smile.
I float the BWO up, down and across to no response. I try a Usual in fall colors and the same. The wind, which was helping me haul casts on 4 is in my face when casting toward the lake, which is where the big boys hang out. I work it for a while and then surrender to the wind and head back to the rising fish.
I check the gauging station
which has been cleared of the fallen tree. I put a stimulator in there and fish it on top as well as strip back as a streamer. Nobody interested.
Back at 4 I put the BWO back on
and work the areas I can reach, again choosing to stand on the grass rather than the platform. I had to look over my shoulder, each way, before starting a cast as there are a good number of people strolling around and none of them are warning me of their presence. I guess that is just as well. A couple of folks did stop to chat and ask the usual questions which I gladly answer, but it took my eye off the fly. I have a few hits, or refusals, which keep me motivated. I move to the platform and flip it in to an immediate hit I am not ready for. I couldn’t get a do over.
Back on the grass, down by the bridge, I put it in the out flowing current and across it. Change to a Joe-stack and repeat. Bang! Nice fish on that gave me a jump and run but then came in without much effort. The pond is home to the big and small, the short and the tall. Never know what you are going to get. Makes it interesting.
I move over to 2 and try the dry fly.
The tide is in and the water deep. I switch to a Black Nose Dace which has a little weight. It slowly sinks in the back eddy off the pier. I have to throw big mends downstream to get the fly to move toward the rush of water coming out of the sluice, then let it sink some more. Twitch, strip, and let it drop. Then aggressive stripping brings a bite. A Bass. Nice little guy with some initial spunk but is quick to run out of gas. I snap a photo and send it to Joe as his fishing buddy is a bass guy.
I call it a day about 3:45. A good day for sure. I have been to a few of these Friends of Connetquot outings and the delicious lunch, the friendship, and my love of the Park keeps me coming back. Hope to be here next year, same time, same place. Hope you’ll join us.