Monday, June 11, 2012

Adventures in Fishing, June 8-10

I was out on Lake Wonosopomuc with Coach Urso in his rowboat Friday, trying in vain to annoy some bass or lobster or whatever's in there, when this whacking great storm boiled up out of the west and we had to take cover on someone's beach. Luckily they weren't home.

Coach said there's a federal judge with a house on the lake. Hizzoner has received death threats and has a detail of extra-savage bodyguards around. We were half-expecting black helicopters and guys in ninja suits shinnying down ropes.

Meanwhile in Phoenicia, N.Y., the Esopus was nice and low and pretty clear for a change. I fished Saturday night and cleaned up; ditto Sunday morning from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., when I got dizzy and figured it was time to go home, eat something and take a nap.

My timing was good because when I went out for the evening round the river was up from 300 cfs to 550, and considerably murkier. I checked the portal discharge online and it didn't indicate any major spike, but that extra water and turbidity had to come from somewhere.

Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday morning to 1 p.m. I probably caught 40 trout, including some of the famous "silver bullet" Esopus rainbows — feisty little buggers who punch way above their weight class.

And I caught all but a couple on wet flies. Olive and yellow soft hackles, regular old Light Cahills and an absolutely deadly Hare's Ear (with gold ribbing) in a wet configuration. Also a little thing that looks like a deer turd with a Royal Coachman's tail.

Go to a good fly shop and they'll have zillions of flies — dries, nymphs, streamers, terrestrials, salt-water, bass bugs. And maybe they'll have one little drawer with cobwebs on it marked "wet flies," and many of them mislabeled.

The Esopus is an egalitarian river. Here an old-timer fiddles with his bait-casting rig. Minnow rigs, I'll bet.

They're not always huge but there are a lot of them.

Esopus Creek, looking downstream toward the big swimming hole, off Herdman Road in Phoenicia. 7 a.m. June 10.

I used to tell visiting anglers to just follow the train tracks to get to the remote parts of the Esopus. Have to revise that a little.

There used to be a bridge here, but it got Irened.

A stray guard rail, part of the new post-Irene Esopus landscape.


John said...

I love fishing with soft hackles/wets, and can't believe it's not a more popular method. It's still deadly fished down and across. You'd think the fish would catch on after people fishing like this for 200 years.

Patrick said...

And upstream, too. Watch Davy Wotton's "Wet Fly Ways" DVD sometime. It will change your life.