Tuesday, September 15, 2009

9/14/09 S. Branch Raritan, Flanders 5 -7PM

This outing started out lousy and continued to be so as the day wound to a close. The weather was beautiful, 70s and clear. I was excited to christen my new waders and felt-bottomed boots. I had also picked up some Isonychia/Slate Drake patterns earlier in the day and was eager to try them out. I tied an emerger on at the car and hiked down to the river. As I prepared to enter the river, I noticed that not only had I lost the fly on the short trek through the woods but also the top section of my rod. I had felt some snags and pulls on my descent but nothing at all serious, and certainly nothing to alarm me enough to check on the rod. I managed to backtrack and locate the missing piece without crushing it underfoot in the process but of course, the fly was lost without ever touching the river. Also, my bottle of floatant fell out of my pocket unbeknownst to me as i was stooped over searching for the rod. I went back to the river and added a couple of lengths of leader that were lost and tied on another fly. I managed a few casts with this one, another slate drake, before losing it to the overhanging foliage in predictable fashion. For some reason, i decided a muddler minnow would somehow be more snag-proof and tried one of those. I kept this one on for some time but ultimately it became trapped underwater and disappeared after a particularly animated attempt by me to retrieve it. I considered calling it a day after only about an hour on the river but opted to tie on a sulphur emerger instead. Almost immediately i snagged a tiny low hanging branch in front of me with stunning finesse. I watched the tiny fly wrap itself around the twig and enthusiastically cursed life. I did manage to extricate the fly this time, though, and cast again. Inexplicably, i snagged the exact same branch in a slightly different place on the very next cast. One particularly spirited tug later and I had successfully lost my fourth fly of the day without encountering a single fish. It was time to pack it in. I did locate my floatant on the hike back, I consider that to be the day's biggest success. I did learn a few lessons, though. First off, don't assemble the rod before plunging into brush or forest, it's better to wait to do it riverside. Also, take more care casting! Pay attention to the surroundings and concentrate on keeping a lower profile while in the river. If at all possible, stay on the shore. Thrashing wildy about is essential to attracting sharks, not so much for trout.

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