Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fly Fishing New Jersey Trout Before the Bell

Today's trip to the Pequest River reminded us both, my son and I, of the Salmon River near Pulaski, New York, because the lot at the Trout Conservation Area just off Route 46 filled.

Temperatures in the 60's made for a great afternoon. Everyone I spoke to appreciated the warmth and some of them caught trout on nymphs, all of these fish released. I did manage to turn a fairly good-size brown, about 13 inches, on a zebra midge, missing the strike. Much larger trout frequent the river and get caught on occasion, and while of course we had such fish in mind, we didn't expect any, since our experience with this river before we stepped in was nil. For a river experienced fly fishermen can depend on for action before closing in anticipation of Opening Day, it's beautifully marked by boulders and deep pockets between, by bank cuts, holes, and stretches that can occupy you for hours if you like.

We spent at least a half hour plumbing a long stretch far downstream of where we parked, along with another angler fishing a Hare's Ear. We got involved in conversation, during which he claimed to have once caught a 10-pound brown right where he stood as evening approached.

After he spoke of this fish, I just savored a long moment, cast and relaxed before we would head back to the car, having to drive nearly an hour back home, reflecting on all the things a day away from more narrow routines inspires.   

I'm a novice fly angler and so is my son. I can catch dozens of stocked trout on salmon eggs, fathead minnows (brown trout), or spinners,  and for the salmon eggs I use a 3 1/2-foot super ultra-light with a tip so light it can seemingly almost be tied in a knot. Two-pound test carries no more than a small barrel swivel for weight. It takes skill. Trout steal salmon eggs like blackfish chop pealer crabs off a hook, or sheepshead remove sand fleas with teeth that look exactly human on a small scale. Whether or not I continue fishing this method I first adopted at age 14 is yet to be seen.

This angler captures a 16-inch brown he released

Zebra midge, I believe size 20
Something hatched a little, don't know what

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