November 7 – Tuesday – Election Day –
Also Project Healing Waters day at Connetquot State Park. I have been to a number of these outings as a volunteer from Long Island Fly Rodders and enjoyed giving assistance to the Vets who participate. Most are ambulatory; others are less fortunate. All love to fish.
Jimmy Gilmartin is the organizer for this PHW event and Mike Postol is the volunteer coordinator for the LIFR. Both good guys. I am going to fish with Dave who I have fished with before.
A quiet fellow, I ask him where he’d like to go. He shrugs deferring to me but I suggest that he lead and stop where he wants. We come to 16 where most would stop as there are usually big boys there who make themselves available, but Dave walks on. We pass all the beats including 13 and cross the river. Here he looks up and we get in position to fish.
A lightweight streamer is first as the initial water is shallow, a Black Nosed Dace. Dave has a working cast that gets the fly to where it should be. There are plenty of fish but it is about 46 degrees and the water, although I did not take the temperature, is noticeably colder than it was on my last visit. This can make for slow action.
As we move down into the deeper parts of the pool we switch to a Green Woolly Bugger with a bead. Keeping it off the bottom and out of the weeds takes some doing. Dave’s line seems to be stuck at the tip making it difficult to manage. Upon examination we need to re-thread the eye. Once addressed it works fine and he covers the water well.
He gets a hit on the bugger but no hook up. The PHW Group Leader, Fred Thorner, comes by as we are changing to a tandem nymph rig and fishes through. The nymph should work as we can see the fish moving right and left mouthing something along the bottom, but it doesn’t. I adjust the depth and nothing.
Next a heavier fly is exchanged for the tiny one Peter Dubno had given me on the Croton a few weeks ago. Dave sees a good 20 inch fish almost at our feet and flips the nymph towards him. The fish took a look but that was it. After a while we decide to move upstream and head toward the Rainbow Bridge area where good fish were reported by Fred.
I show Dave the dock at 15 and suggest we take a look. It is a deep hole with a sluice entering it between two rock weirs. According to Mike Postol it is often effective to fish the Woolly Bugger as if it were a nymph here. That is, let it sink and bounce along the bottom with no stripping initially. At the end of the drift giggle it, then strip – and repeat. Bang! A nice rainbow is on. (Thanks Mike!) I net him and we take a quick photo.
Dave recasts, if you can call this casting as it is more of a flip, and within a few moments is into a truly large fish that came up to the top to grab the Bugger upon its retrieve. It is instinctive to reel him in but it is better to let the big ones play for a while if we are to have any hope of getting one into the net. After a few short runs he quiets down and Dave brings him in close enough that I can get half of him in my small net. Half – he is that big. Wow. A beauty and in fall colors too. As we tried to take a photo he jumped and into the river he went. Great fish.
We go to lower 16 by the dock and drop the Bugger in under the tree. Dave moves closer to the bank and points his tip toward it while letting out line. “Three more steps” I say and he takes them. On his next strip a fish is on. Sometimes you get lucky.
We headed back to the cars and the other guys, all of whom seemed happy with their day and thankful for Project Healing Waters which provides these outings as well as weekly fly tying sessions.
If you are a Vet and would like to get involved contact Jim Gilmartin at (516) 241 5868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org