Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 39 - Was it the yellow hat?

Was it the yellow hat? Or was it the egg pattern that I purchased from the fly shop? Or was it just plain stupid hatchery fish? Whatever it was, I ended up having a great day on the stream.

It was truly remarkable, and if you are not careful you could waste it away with thoughts of how good your angling skills actually are. To be honest, my skills today were only so-so. I ended up tangling my line more often than I caught fish, and the flies landed sometimes too heavily upon the water. Yet despite my errors, I still managed to catch quite a few fish (between 7-10, but closer to 7 if I was to be truly honest).

The real question of the day is why I caught the fish. I almost walked past the pool where the fish were holding. Those invisible bodies blended in so well to the bottom. In fact, it wasn't until later that I realized that I was fishing two pools (one in front of a rock, and the other behind it). So, not wanting to accept blind luck, what allowed me to catch them (as I want to continue on this successful streak).

If I were to rack it up to luck, could it have been the yellow hat that I described before? I started thinking about this and realized, this hat could very well be the same hat that I had on when I learned to fly fish in college. The timeline for the hat and the fishing experiences seem to line up pretty well. Also, I wore this hat quite a bit when trout fishing in Iowa. So... maybe it has something to do with the hat? All I know is, I'm wearing the hat the next time out.

Could it have been the fact that for once I took some one's advice? Before I could go fishing I had to deliver some items to Montreat. After the delivery, I stopped at a fly shop in Black Mountain (here's my shameless plug to the good folks at One Fly Outfitters, Ltd). The gentleman running the counter took the time out of his day to explain some of the quirks of the local streams. He even tied a couple of flies in front of me to show me what he was talking about. In response for his kindness I purchased 6 flies, a package of size 22 red hooks, a pair of new fly tying scissors (they're pretty cool they have a prism finish), and some non-toxic weights... grand total $39.11.

The gentleman told me that he had been catching quite a few trout on Curtis Creek on an egg pattern used as a dropper fly below a yellow sally fly. Those were the six flies I purchased, 3 #12 Yellow Sallies and 3 #16 eggs (the color of that port wine cheese you get at Christmas with the meat and crackers). After reaching the stream, I rigged up the system before I even hit the water (a big no-no to many traditional fly anglers).

Or it could be that I managed to fall upon a bunch of big dumb hatchery trout. For those who aren't in the know, hatchery trout are stupid. No seriously, they rate below the 2007 Miss Teen South Carolina's IQ (OK, I admit that was a pretty low blow). Hatchery trout are raised without the fear of nature in them and assume nothing can hurt them. They are then thrown into the streams and are easily picked off by anglers, otters, hawks, and a whole plethora of other predators. So while I don't want to admit that I caught stupid fish, that could be a factor.

What I'd really like to say is that I'm a kick ass angler, who knew exactly what I was doing, and as such smoked them. Alas, as I mentioned before I kind of muddled through the process. I would have had even more fish to the net if I hadn't of missed a few strikes, set the hook to soon, or gotten as many tangles as I did. Nevertheless, it was a good day in spite of the rain.

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