I wanted a challenge, and so, I decided to target the wily fish at the Farmington during cold and windy conditions. And, I didn’t want to use any indicators. It was tightlining or bust for me.
I fished in freezing conditions for five hours before pausing. Until 11 am, ice on the line every 10 casts or so. The wind was steady. Other fisherman would show up but then leave after a little while. Light conditions were murky, at best; thankfully, my new tighline leader cast well and was easy to see.
I kept working the water and had zero to show for it. No takes whatsoever. It didn’t help that, as I was leaving Spot A, a spin fisherman showed up with a huge Rapala and cast it. I saw and heard the lure plunk down. One cast. Fish on.
I went to Spot B and decided to target some deep and quiet water. Finally, the line tightened ever so slightly. A good-sized brown flopped into my net. I know it sounds goofy, but it felt great to have the skunk off. I suddenly relaxed.
I kept moving down river. Then, another very subtle take. My sighter barely paused.
I could tell right away that this fish was different. It had heft. After its initial surge, I applied side pressure to try to control it. I greedily pulled in line. I saw the fish and went completely bonkers–it was big! The fish saw me and went completely bonkers. Another surge.
More side pressure, and, then, a third surge. After that the fish tired, and I quickly pulled it into the shallows and the net. 18.5″. Here are some photos and videos.
I landed a few other fish after that. They were all within a 20-yard stretch of extremely quiet and deep water. A winter hibernation zone? But, my mind kept wandering back to that big one. Such power, and the colors were stunning.
I ran into another angler, Hugo, and we chatted. He too was tightlining and admitted that he was fairly new to it. I gave him a fly and some advice, just like so many others did to me when I was starting.
It was a great way to close out 2016. A “hard work” day and an opportunity to pay it forward.
A safe New Year’s Eve to all!