Friday, May 30, 2008

Clinch River May 30th

Got an afternoon pass from the wife today, and headed out to the Clinch to try and fish the last of the sulphur hatch. I got to the river around 1:30 and once again there was no hatch taking place. Started fishing a double nymph rig of a bead head pheasant tail and an improvised split case nymph. I tie mine using ostrich herl for the thorax to give it a slightly buggier appearance. Picked a couple brookies right off the bat, and chose to head downstream to work some new water and look for some browns. I have been to the clinch 5 times this month, and am yet to catch a brown.

It was a wonderful day for fishing. It was mostly cloudy, no wind, and the flow was perfect. The temperature was a little warm, but moving to stand in slightly deeper water remedied that quickly. Found a very nice run that emptied into a deep broad pool with a log jam along the bottom. I had strikes on the nymphs the first three drifts thru, but missed them all. The next two consecutive drifts I hooked up with a piggie bow and each time I got broken off. I guess that is the price one pays for using 7x to maximize strikes. Finally managed to pull one out of this pool and chose to leave it for an hour or so to see if the pigs return. Worked downstream fishing every pool and run on the way, and managed a few more bows. The best fish of the day was the 14" bow at right. Around 4:00 the sulphurs started to hatch, so I went back upstream to find some smoother water where I could work to some rising fish. Landed a couple more in the smooth water on some emerger patterns, but not much luck on the comparadun. Most fish were in the 12" range, but all were very brightly colored and chunky. Caught one that only went about 4", but was the most brightly colored rainbow I have ever caught on the Clinch, even looked like a possible successful spawn fish. At the end of the day, I still lack a brown trout for the month of May. Maybe next time I will focus on stripping streamers deep.

I lost multiple fish today, and I believe I have identified the primary culprit. I have found that my success on the Clinch is much higher if I use an across-and-down drift. Doing this typically allows me to let my line swing directly downstream of my location. If the fish strikes when the fly is downstream of my location a traditional directly overhead hookset finds its mark with much less consistency. I have started doing a sidearm hookset when the fly is directly below me. My theory is that since the fish are facing upstream when they take the fly, pulling upstream is not maximizing the potential for the point to contact flesh. It is hard sometimes though to remind myself not to jerk overhead, especially if the strike was sudden and it surprises me.

With two weeks to go until the wife's delivery date, I think I am going to take the next month off fishing to help her with things. I also need to replenish my fly inventory after the number of trips this month and losing some flies to fish and logjams.

Still another wonderful opportunity to get out and enjoy God's creation. It was a beautiful day, and as always it beats a day at the office.

Tight Lines and God Bless

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19" Clinch River Brown