Trout, like people, have their habits, routines and places they frequent. On one river pool I often fish there is a side that has as rock face, is deep and has a good flow. On the opposite side the bank is low, earthy, lush with vegetation and the water very shallow and slow. I’ve learnt that once a hatch reaches a certain density or magic mark, a couple of large fish leave the safety of the deep pool, glide over to the slow, low side and surface feed just inches off of the bank. I have often sat there when the place seems like a ghost town and said to myself, “Be patient, wait for the bugs and it will happen”. And it usually does. A large nose will pop-up next to the bank and sip a small may fly in less than a foot of water. I’ve come to know this section of the river quite well, at least from a dry-fly angling perspective, and I am always amazed that I can predict such an event. The key is some sort of hatch. I used to spot two sometimes three large trout on this bank once a good hatch was underway. In the last few seasons it is usually just one fish. I’ve noticed the same trend on other slow water stretches that I know well.
I haven’t been able to fish a lot lately but did manage to get on the water two evenings this week. The bug life has been alright, nothing special, but seems to be developing: PMD’s; Drakes; Yellow Sallies; Caddis. I’ve been walking and watching slow water sections where a sizable fish might park and lazily munch away. I must say it hasn’t been easy finding a large surface feeder. Two nights ago I did located one in the pool that I described above. The large trout ate my impression but the fly simply slipped out without much contact, and the fish moved off the bank into deeper water. I waited around but it didn’t return.
I went to the same spot the following evening and waited for a hatch. A weak one did occur quite late and there were just enough PMD’s on the water for a large fish to appear where I spotted one the night before. I’m sure it was the same fish. As I’ve said, “trout, like people, have their habits, routines and places they frequent”. This time I managed to connect with a size 16 PMD. I don’t think the fish had been hooked this season as it seemed quite surprised by the event and sluggish at first, and then after a thirty seconds or so adrenaline kicked in, or whatever “fight or flight” hormone trout operate on, and it went ballistic. It took me way down stream. I struggled to photograph it due to the awkward location that I had to land it in. There was also a lot of splashing as the fish simply wouldn’t give up. It had “moxie”.