Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Zebra Midge

Wearing only a wool shirt to cover my upper body, vest over that, I distinctly felt a shift from the treadmill-like day in and day out of working, to slowing way down and minding my zebra midge. I try not to mean this as any complaint, since the pay is even better than my former credit union job, given some 50-hour weeks, time-and-a-half overtime and Sundays. And these days are going really fast, which is how I seem to like it, since I look forward to retirement in, say, nine years. I'm supporting my son at Boston University, and my wife says that maybe four years from now we can consider an alternative, but I'm very sure any alternative will depend on my earning some serious money from writing, which is unlikely, though despite working six days a week, I manage to get a lot done, and most importantly, hew a close line with regards to my plans. I know what it's like to lose the feel for them, and I don't like it.

This is Peapack Brook where I fished with my two-weight TFO, starting out by trying a strike indicator for the first time, that flying off to whereabouts unknown on my first cast. So I had a hard look at the instructions and managed to get three casts before the indicator hit the rod on a bad cast and flew off. That one lost also. For the next half dozen casts, I lost attention on my line, since I kept looking around for that float. A package of four cost $5.50 plus tax at Shannon's Fly Shop in Califon a week ago.

Then I settled in. Forgot about the indicators, and kept a keen eye on my floating line.

As you can see by the photograph above, that's a likely-looking hole for some wild browns. As a matter of fact, Jorge Hildago caught one nine inches long on a salmon egg intended for a stocker in April here. I took him out for his first trout success, when he performed extraordinarily well at catching many stockers....and that brown. I can only imagine there are a few in those five or six feet of water, but I must have cast five dozen times for nothing, just getting into the feel of simplifying experience for a nice change.

I also wonder about stockers. The stream supports browns year round, so why not holdovers, also? Back in the year 2000, I caught stockers in this brook in July and August. I haven't tried any summer fishing here since then.

The water's cold. I noticed some ice along edges at the second hole I fished, deep, maybe six feet deep under the bridge. Back at the dam, I had thought of Oliver Round's catching some half dozen trout, browns and a tiger, I think he said, on a cold January day on the South Branch, using egg patterns. I figured I should have picked some up at Shannon's, tied one on, and then tied tippet to the hook's bend to drop a zebra midge behind the color. If my son and I go fly fishing next month, I think we're making a pit stop. For strike indictor's too, and I hope I can get them to stay put. Trout will take a tiny fly so lightly this time of year. You never notice a twitch.


  1. Nice story Bruce! I've had some nice days on Peapack Brook too and those wild Browns are a treasure. While I appreciate you stopping by the shop, I may be able to offer a word of advice on the strike indicators. I like to slide them on where the leader is at its thinnest. Then, I grab one side and make sure it is beneath the rubber gasket. Then I repeat the process. Finally, I slide the indicator to the desired distance from the fly or flies. I actually use two. A smaller one in front and a larger one behind. This seems to help me detect strikes. Cheers and Happy Holidays! -Jim

    1. Thanks Jim! I got the indicator into position as you describe the second time, but placed it where the leader is thick. Also, I wasn't so sure it was well beneath the gasket on one side...sort of seemed to resist, and I guess I was a little impatient. We have serious cold on the way, if the forecast is correct. My son & I may yet get over to the shop, and fly fish, before he heads back to Boston, but my gut tells me we'll ice fish, besides Round Valley Tuesday.

      That's the first I've ever used an indicator. Don at the shop was perfectly helpful. The rest was up to me, and it was like starting out with anything...so I let my old habit of trying to decipher a strike on a floating line take over...as if mild weather like Tuesday's might be ahead next month for another go at it.


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