When my friend Steve Mirin, aka “Doc,” pinged me to see if I’d be up for a float with Chris Jackson, the answer was a strong and quick “yes.” Chris could only do a half-day with us, which freed Doc to visit family en route to Western Massachusetts and let me target some picky fish at one of the most-pressured spots at the river at which we were to meet.
I “slept in” until 5 am before heading out for a pleasant drive, stopping along the way for coffee and breakfast wraps to go. I was hoping to catch a midge hatch and brought with me two dry-fly rods, the Sage #000 and the trusty Orvis H2 #4.
When I got to the river, there were bugs galore: midges, stoneflies, and caddis. Unfortunately for me, no rising fish. I’ve seen this often this season, with rivers full of bugs and the fish content not to show themselves. Over four hours, I gave it my all, rotating through piles of dry flies, changing positions, and staying on the bank as much as possible. I then switched to a dry-dropper and then even deigned to nymph with a New Zealand strike indicator. Blanked. During all that time, I saw only three fish rise.
After pretty much exhausting myself, I went back to the car and got my Euro rod. Four casts in, I felt a tap, set the hook, and good-sized fish bolted and leapt. It wasn’t the biggest of rain-bros, but it sure fought with vigor, after taking a small midge pupa. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, but I can be a slow learner. I’ve caught many fish over the years while tightlining, and I am eager to fish dries. That ‘bow really salvaged the morning for me.
Then, it was time to meet up with Doc and Chris for our float. We had a great time and were able to find some nice, wild browns and a good pile of rainbows. I think our three personalities meshed well on the boat. There was a lot of boat traffic on the river, but after 15 months of a pandemic lock down, it was really nice to see people out and about. Fortunately for us, the fish didn’t seem to care.
Famished, I stopped by the Golden Arches en route to home and caught up with an old friend over a long call, both of which made the drive back seem really short. Next weekend, our blog team will be in Maine. Stay tuned!