Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Red Darts and Surveyers for Trout on a Chilly Day

The South Branch Raritan had come down enough from yesterday's rain for me to meet Jesse Sullivan at about 10:00 a.m. for some fly fishing. He told me Shannon's Fly Shop had recently stocked trout, from Hoffman's Crossing Road to further upstream than where we met at the park in Califon. The added possibility raised my hopes. Jesse had never before fished the stretches behind the park. I told him the water is slow.

"That's what I like to fish in the winter," he said.

"Then let's try it," I said.

He later made the point that slow metabolism and slow water go together. He does catch some trout, but it's tough this time of year. He uses an especially long four-weight rod designed for Euro-nymphing. It casts easily. It reminds me of a spey rod, though it doesn't have the power, and he doesn't need it on the little rivers of New Jersey. The rod is 10 feet, six inches long, and Jesse has a couple of pieces to lengthen the rod, to either 11 feet, or 11 feet, six inches, by attaching them to the butt section.

We fished Red Dart and Surveyer nymphs, which he had tied, under strike indictors. Neither of us got any strikes, but days ago Jesse caught a wild brown trout of about 10 inches in Ken Lockwood Gorge. By size, that fish is little compared to "Bubba" released by Shannon's, but a wild fish in the heavily stocked Gorge stands out. I don't know how big this year's "Bubba" brown is, but if I remember correctly, last winter's was about 12 pounds.

I stayed until after 1:00 p.m., leaving Jesse at a slow water hole in the Gorge. The temperature never rose above 32, but the cold bothered neither of us. It's a matter of dressing warmly. I wore a quality base layer, wool pants, and socks, so I never felt the chill of the water through my waders. On past occasions, I've felt that chill very distinctly.

Monday, December 16, 2019

More on Florida Coming Up

Viewed videos about butterfly jigging tonight, while enjoying a bourbon Fairy Tale New York my wife made. It was potent. Definitely allayed the anxiety I've felt for about two weeks now, feeling as if I'll blow our opportunity out to sea from Big Pine Key in mid-January. I wondered why I didn't spend more time with videos sooner, but I sort out all sorts of pressures on my time.

Can't promise you big posts after we get back, but I do know big fish are out there beyond the reef. I think it was an amberjack I hooked in 2007. A big one. One of the guys on one of the videos said they dive down into the coral and break off, unless you can hold them up from it, and that's exactly what my fish did, in very few seconds. I have never before felt a fish run so fast and with such power. It made my 11-foot, heavy-power surf rod feel like a noodle. As I reeled in the line, I measured about 60 feet of it frayed by coral.

Not taking my lap top. And since I shoot RAW images, it's all but useless to transfer them by wifi from my camera to my mobile device. I wouldn't do it anyhow...the jpg representation of the RAW file...because I prefer to develop images in Lightroom before I post them in this blog. An undeveloped jpg is not a truer image. I will be blogging about the trip after we get back.