The Meal Ticket
As the sun was starting to creep behind the mountain tops of the Eastern Berkshire’s, our guide Brian Lynch of Pheasant Tail Outdoors was setting up the boat for a sweet little drift on the upper Deerfield River…
Earlier in the day, we fished the North River, a tributary of the Deerfield in blistering heat and humidity. The 59 degree water felt very refreshing as we had the sun on our backs for most of the day. Needless to say, with the sun shining and not many clouds in the sky, it made for a great day of fishing, not so much catching.
As my colleague John and I entered the boat, we immediately strung up the 6 wt’s with a 200gr sink tip and started to dredge little olive Krystal Buggers. We had some success with a heavy rainbow coming to the net followed by a bunch of smallmouth bass. Brian took us upstream against the current to the top of a juicy looking run. He set the anchor and John and I started to pound the banks. We started off slow and I knew there were plenty of fish in here that were willing to eat but, we weren’t throwing anything that sparked their interest. I decided to switch up to a TFP Stinging Smolt in a size 6. A long cast against the bank and allowing the current to drag this fly deep in next to the SUV sized boulders that were strewn amongst the river bottom, I let the fly swing slowly to the top and started to retrieve quickly. Brian noticed my stripping technique and told me to slow it down, these fish are lazy and aren’t keen on working for a meal… made sense. As I slowed down the strip, boom, fish on, first cast with the TFP Stinging Smolt. A good battle ensued and I was rewarded with a nice Rainbow in the 14-16 inch range. Fat too.
A couple more fish on the smolt pattern and the fish seemed to be catching on to what was happening. I guess you would be to if you’re hanging out with a couple of your friends and suddenly they go missing, chasing after an empty promise only to come back later with a mystery lip piercing… This called for another switch up. Before we left the office for the trip, I grabbed a handful of a new pattern that will be making its debut this year called, The Heisenberg. Some of you may recognize the name from a certain TV show. This little tandem streamer is tied in a range of colors from white and black to a baby rainbow and brown trout. We took the “Baby ‘Bow” for a swim and right away we were into the fish. Crazy strikes from down deep, mid water column and even up top right under the surface on a fast retrieve. This fly just couldn’t be ignored. I think the biggest came in around 18-19 inches and about 2lbs. Fat health fish, every one of them.
As they say though, all good things must come to an end, and this was no exception. The sun was setting and people were tired from the harsh sun all day. A great time was had by all and something that was forgotten was retaught. If your pattern isn’t working, tie something else on. I know some of us can be stubborn at times when we’re on the water, refusing to switch flies because of previous successes that we’re achieved on past outings. We all get that way but, it never hurts to try something new.