Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Naugatuck Report - December 3, 2014 - Winding Down

Last one for 2014?

Last fall, I posted about a trip that went exactly according to how I envisioned it. I figure I get one day a year that goes exactly according to plan. It took almost all year for it to happen this year, but today was the day. Despite being far less dramatic than last year's equivalent, it was just as greatly appreciated.

This morning, I told my slightly agitated wife that this would be my last trip of the season. Did I actually mean it? Probably, though I could be convinced to go again, so long as it doesn't land me in hot water.

My first fish of the CT broodstock salmon season took a sz. 10 Sugerman Shrimp, my favorite salmon fly in my favorite size. I wanted to catch my last salmon of the season on a Sugerman, though it would have to be much larger than a sz. 10. I already had a few tied, but I didn't like the look of them. I tied another, more suitable shrimp on a sz. 2 hook.

On a whim, I cut 2.5' off of the tip of a 350 grain Rio Steelhead Scandi head while waiting for the lacquer to dry on the Sugerman. That particular Scandi head is a little heavier than I like on my Sage Z-Axis 6wt. switch rod, plus the taper never turned over heavier polyleaders very well. I knew I would have to get down to the fish a bit today and I had hoped cutting the head back would turn over a 10', extra super fast sinking polyleader a little better.

Nice to see you again, old friend

The babysitter came at 12:45pm and I was on the river a little over an hour later. I decided to fish a couple pools that are new to me. I fished them my last time out, which was in cold and high water. I got skunked. The water was lower and warmer today, 350cfs. and 42ºF. The air temperature was about 47ºF and it was overcast with light rain. Those conditions are pretty good for this time of year.

Within five minutes, I decided that the modified Steelhead Scandi worked like a charm. I've decided to do some line welding and modification for a winter project. I really should have used a micrometer and grain scale to fine tune the line, but I don't have either yet. Looks like I got lucky this time.

Within ten minutes, I had hooked and landed a salmon in the tail of the first pool and my trip had quickly fulfilled my expectations! Maybe I set the bar low today, but this season definitely hasn't been the broodstock salmon cornucopia 2013 was. I fished through once more and decided to move down to the next pool.

The second pool is much larger and required longer casts. Seeing how the sun sets at 4:25pm, fishing it thoroughly and methodically would have taken too long, so I opted for the run-and-shoot approach. I lost my original Sugerman on a rock, so I replaced it with a lesser model of the same size. It didn't matter, that fly was the right one, too. I had a subtle take, but felt it too late to get a solid hookset. I had a salmon on, but it threw my hook in its first leap. Oh well, I already had my fish for the day.

I wanted to explore some unfamiliar water I found on Google Earth, but there wasn't enough time left in the day. I headed upriver, to a pair of familiar pools, to close out the afternoon. I didn't see any salmon, but that's okay. These short trips can be a gamble and this one paid off.

I would like to get out at least a couple more times, but I don't know if it's in the cards. We'll see. I'm going to give it a couple of weeks before I post a short season summary. In the fly department, two of the perennial frontrunners have been deposed this season, replaced by two of my Canadian confidence flies. More on that later...

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