August 31, 2021 – Connetquot
It has been a tough month, couple of months actually, but we are beginning to accept and put Otto in his proper place in our hearts. Fishing has been pretty much my only relief for which I am thankful as the days in between are somewhat dreary. I decided to go this morning without a reservation to the 8 am session. There were only two other guys who took 12 and 11 so I had the place to myself, pretty much.
It is a clear day and a bit warm but I put the waders on just because it is easier than trying to switch out of my routine. Plus I wanted to scout the 16-9 stretch for the Vets next Monday at Project Healing Waters.
Last night I tied up a bunch of Green Woolly Buggers with bead heads to have them on hand for the Vets and if today turns out to be a day with no risers, I could tie one on myself. As it turned out I will need to tie up a bunch of Ants and Beetles for the Vets as that’s what they were coming up for.
The Park is getting a good flush since Henri, assisted by the work done on clearing out the feeder brooks and ponds. As I walked to 16a there is much more flow and lots of bait fish rushing about. Once Ida dumps her load over the next two days, things should really show some improvement.
I dapped a un-see-able Ant at 16a and missed 3 or 4 takes that I didn’t see until after they were already rejected. My eyes got keener and hooked a nice rainbow. One of the things I like about 16a, besides the fun of having them come up to a fly dead drifted with no drag, is the size of the fish are manageable, for the most part. I mean you can see some (and catch some) monsters in this pool but most of my dry fly takers are 10 to 14 inches. After a while I switched to a Beetle/Cricket pattern which had deer hair on the back making it more visible – but it didn’t catch as many fish.
I walked downstream and looked at the usual spots but kept on strolling. At 13 there were a few rises in the dark water above the “S” curve so I unhooked the fly and waded in quietly. One was rising at the inflow, the other near the far bank. Sipping something, why not a beetle? They have cleared a lot of the over hang out so casting is a relative breeze. I plop it down where it should be to no reaction. Then tried the other one. Alternated a few times and got a reaction but no hook up. Should have put the Ant on but moved on instead.
12 and 11 were occupied. I said hello and invited the guy on 11 to work down through 10 if he’d like. I had signed up for 10 but was planning on fishing lower 9. Don’t ask why I didn’t just sign up for 9. I got in at 10 which is heavy with weed. I popped the Beetle in a few open spots and tweaked it. No reactions all the way to above the sluice at 9 where I got into a tree on the far side. Once out, I crossed the rock diverter where it is covered with grass, near the bank. I stay off of the rocks out of respect for the good work done by Idle Hour and Friends of Connetquot.
If you look at the post of the last time I fished 9 there were some amazing fish, so I just assume they are still here, or in the area or, if some lucky fisher or osprey got to them, others will have taken their places. Optimistic. I start with the Beetle and after a few refusals I put it in a tree over the hole I am working.
I broke it off at the knot rather than spoil the pool (I have 5x on) and figure I will get it later, it being easy to find with the tippet hanging down. I take a bio break and notice large black ants where I dropped my gear, but there is barely any wind. I have a close match to the naturals made of foam but decide to try the Dace since the shorter leader was available. They liked the Dace the last time. I cover the area thoroughly to no reaction. Work my way to the dangling tippet and recover it and the Beetle. I add the tippet/Beetle to make it a 12 foot leader again.
I rest the hole while I munch on a granola bar and have some water. I guess it’s the equivalent of having a smoke break in the old days. With wild fish you’d have to rest it longer but this is about right for our Connetquot beauties. I let the Beetle sweep with the current and then drop it back and work it some more. They show interest but not commitment. There is definitely more than one fish.
This area offers cool water (60 degrees) and lots of tree cover as I hear the Osprey‘s screech overhead. It’s relatively dark too. All this helps, plus the current carries well and the weeds are minimal. There is a deep section spanning the stream and then holes on both the right and left, and a few more plus some holding water with a bit of weed once down past the tree cover. Lots of places to hang out. I have seen them move from one hole to the next, their backs breaking the surface. It is a neat place.
Like most good holes it requires patience and it helps to rest it a lot. To wait for the fish to do something rather than covering the water blindly (not that I am always as tactical or patient as to do what I advise others). I put the size Ant on I saw earlier. It is a good match but not any easier to see than the small one I started with. I have to use the glare on the water to find the silhouette and then lock my eyes on it, striking at the take, not a second later. It works and she is a feisty thick rainbow who has a few jumps in her and some fly removal tricks she has learned over time in the river. She is off.
I shorten the line, greased the fly, and fish close. Bang! A similar smart-alecky ‘Bow who runs me side to side and into the upstream weeds but after a bit she is in the net, filled it in fact. Nice fish. With forceps the Ant is out and off she goes untouched by my grubby hands.
This went on until I checked my watch. It is 11:15 so time is running out. I had promised myself to use Joe’s LaFontaine Caddis as it got such a nice reaction last week on the pond. Give the water a rest while I tie it on and then rest it a bit more. I fish it close at first and Whap! Fish hit it immediately. Three more from different parts of the hole and it is time to go. I did stop by 13 to throw the caddis at those two fish from earlier but they had either moved on or seen me coming.
I walked out with Brian who had been on 12. He used to fish here a lot in the 80’s but got away from fishing for a while, although he still considers the Conny his home waters. We reminisced about having to walk up to the hatchery and was saying he just might do it the next time he comes for nostalgic as well as exercise reasons. Nice fellow from Brooklyn. Hope to see him again.
For those of you not familiar with all that Connetquot has to offer see my YouTube video – click here.
August is done and with it the summer. I text Sue that I am on my way and then Joe to let him know how well his flies work. I will be here next week with PHW and then head for the Catskills for 3 days with TGF. I am not as excited about going upstate as I would usually be. Not sure if it is Covid, the dank motel room, the hassle of driving so far, or just that lack of energy that has been plaguing me lately.