Friday, January 22, 2016

Trip Prep - Catch & Release at Montauk, January 2016

Late last year, I switched jobs, and one of the many benefits of my new position is having Martin Luther King Jr. Day off work. Now, this was a surprise to me. I fully intended to come into the office this past Monday, but luckily I overhead a couple of co-workers discussing what they were going to do on their day off. A day off? It was the most pleasant shock I've felt in a long time. Whereas Emily still had to work that day, I figured I might as well spend the holiday fishing. There was just one snag in that plan, the temperature.

Weather forecast

Now, I wasn't planning on wimping out on my day trip, but holy hell was it cold in Missouri that morning. I loaded up the car with my gear, and even brewed a Thermos of coffee. Before I left, I decided to take my pup Norma on a walk. In the short 10-minute walk around the block, my face was already hurting from the cold. At 9:00 a.m., it was only 9 degrees outside. It wasn't going to get much warmer either, so I cancelled. I sat down at the kitchen table, sent my wife a you-were-right-it's-too-cold text, and unpacked all my tying gear. I might not have been fishing, but I at least got to catch up on some fly-tying.

A few weeks back, I had worked it out with my buddy, Jake, that I could crash at his rental cabin at Montauk for this upcoming weekend. Honestly, that's probably why I was so open to the idea of bailing on fishing Monday, because I knew I'd be fishing anyway five days later. Oddly enough, a few former co-workers from my old job are also going to be stalking the trout on Saturday as well, so I'll have a few friends to see on the water. I haven't been fishing since late September, so I'm eager to get out on the stream tomorrow.

On my day off, I tied a ton of flies in several varieties. Most of them fairly small, ranging in size #14-18. I plan on doing a lot of nymphing tomorrow, since that's what I seem to have the most luck with when I fish Montauk. I just hope that the park hasn't been too devastated by the winter floods. Maybe that tree has finally been swept off the dam.

A photo posted by Jacob Voss (@voss_fish) on

I started off my tying marathon by tying some small, dark-blue midge patterns. I don't have any science to back this up, but I feel like the trout are going to hit this dark blue pattern hard with the weather being so cold. Again, this is a gut feeling, at best, so we'll see if it pays off.

A photo posted by Jacob Voss (@voss_fish) on

I also tried some more traditional patterns, like the Adams below. This was my first attempt at producing a parachute hackle, and it wasn't the disaster I thought it was going to be. I used calf tail material for the wing, and I think I finally got the trick of properly supporting the wing material enough to create a stable pedestal on top of the fly. I used moose hair for the tail here. It's not a perfect fly, but I think it's a step in the right direction.

A photo posted by Jacob Voss (@voss_fish) on

Finally, I tied a mess of bead-head flies, mostly because I find that these sink faster than lead-wrapped flies, and they're easier to whip-finish. Typically, when I'm fishing and not getting results, I find myself wasting a lot of time by switching flies too often. I'm going to really need to fight that instinct this weekend. With all these new patterns to test, I'm afraid I'm going to be dicking around with my nail knot tool all day instead of actually fishing. Fight the urge, Jake. Fight it.

A photo posted by Jacob Voss (@voss_fish) on

In addition to the normal errands I usually run to T. Hargrove's and Cabella's for a fishing trip like this weekend's, I also made a stop at Jo-Ann Fabric and bought myself a magnifying LED lamp. Luckily for me, it was  on sale for 60% off, and now I can actually see what I'm doing on size #18s. That said, I look like a massive dork hunched over a table looking through a magnifying lens at my vice. I was going for a Ryan Gosling in "Drive" vibe, but I think I ended up looking like a cross between the toy-repair guy from Toy Story 2 and the creepy guy on the cover of R.L. Stine's, "The Girl Who Cried Monster." You can't win 'em all.

Hopefully these flies do the trick, and next week I'll have a new post and plenty of pictures of all of the trout I caught and released this weekend. The temperature is supposed to be a balmy 33 degrees, which is a world of difference from 8. I'm stocked up on hand warmers, coffee, and whiskey so I'll have no excuse from staying out on the stream all day Saturday.

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