I want to post these two tidbits on landing fish, or not landing them. Here are two examples of what not to do.
On May 12th I was at the Wayne Harpster property on Spruce Creek for the annual On-The-Fly event. It’s a fund-raiser for Center County Youth Services Bureau. I’ve been invited a number of times over the years, to do some demo tying, and make a donation of flies, and I always enjoy it. I have a few pics I took that I will post in a few days. I’m still busy tying flies.
When I got there it was nearly lunch time, so I went through the fine food catered chow line and sat at an outdoor picnic table. Several anglers on one of the teams came and sat down. One talked how he’d lost several large trout on one of the morning beats. One of his teammates asked, “What were you using?”
“A Wooly Bugger,” was the reply.
What size tippet were you using?” his friend inquired.
“5x,” came the reply.
“5x!” His friend exclaimed. My sentiments exactly. I already knew why he lost the fish.
“Well, it was a small bugger,” he answered in defense. And I thought to myself immediately, a “small” wooly bugger would be a #12, and even with that size hook, you don’t fish a bugger on 5x. Remember to apply the ‘Rule of Threes,’ “Hook size divided by three equals tippet size.” On a #12 bugger that would equal out to 4x, but with buggers and they way fish strike them, better drop to 3x. And on that private section of Spruce Creek where stocked trout sometimes are four and five pounders, yeah…go with 3x.
The other story took place last year on Big Pine Creek, right of the bank of the Hotel Manor in Slate Run. It was a warm, very bright day, and I was waiting for some friends who managed to elude me up there, not intentionally, there’s no cell signal anywhere, so that explains that. The middle of the day, nothing was going on, so I decided to go to the Manor and enjoy myself. I ordered a Bloody Mary, then another…and later on…another. Then I smoked a cigar. And had another Bloody Mary. And an other cigar. I mean, hey, like four hours had passed. In the evening several anglers lined up fishing, wading in from the west bank. Still nothing was rising but one angler managed to hook a large trout right behind the hotel. And then here’s his mistake. He was in the water, and instead of heading immediately to the bank, he stayed in the water and followed the fish downstream. His drag was probably set too light, but I told my waitress who had come by to chat, “That’s guy is gonna lose that fish.”
“How can you tell?” she asked.
I explained why. He should have moved to the bank to follow the fish, which he could have done, and faster, if necessary, and at least keep even with the trout. But also from shore he could have applied pressure to bring that trout out of the middle of the creek into slower water nearer the shore. The ending might have been different. And referring to story No. 1, I don’t know what size tippet / fly he was using. He lost the fish. So there you are…