Access fished: Baptist, Tan Vat, right below Montauk
Time fished: All day Tuesday and Wednesday morning
Flow: 110 cfs Tuesday, 115 cfs Wednesday
Water: Gin clear
Weather: Warm and sunny, big overnight storm
Hatch activity: A.M. tricos, mystery mayfly at dusk
BaptistI finally had some free time this week and spent it the best way I know, fishing the Current. After furiously filling in the many holes in my fly boxes on Monday I was ready to go. I arrived at ol' reliable Baptist early Tuesday morning, but not early enough. The trico hatch was all but done. Since I missed the tiny flies I decided to do the opposite and throw some big streamers. I was quickly into a nice brown right at the tailout of the parking lot pool. It nailed my waggy tail sculpin variation on the first strip. It looked like I was in for some good streamer action. Unfortunately I was wrong. That brown was the last fish I would catch for 4+ hours. I had tons of fish flash my flies and plenty of follows but no takes.
After lunch it was high time to ditch the streamers. I switched to my trusty 10ft. 4wt. and set off to go nymphing and finally got into some fish. I used a #8 dronestone variation as anchor and a #16 quill nymph on a dropper. That section down from the parking lot is almost tailor made for Euro-nymphing. I was hardly knocking them dead but I found plenty of willing fish tucked in the rocky run.
The highlight of this stretch was kind of funny. I set the hook into what seemed like a really nice brown. It felt really big and was doing the trademark brown down and dirty head-shaking fight putting a serious bend in my rod. I get it in and find a 15 inch rainbow, not the two foot brownie I thought I had. If anyone was around they probably thought I was crazy as I couldn't help but laugh at myself and the feisty rainbow in my net. No one was, the crowds were nonexistent. I saw only one other person fishing and a single canoe all day.
I had seen a few fish rising along the banks earlier and plenty of hoppers on the banks so I figured dry/dropper might work. Plus it's a lot less labor intensive than what I was doing. On the way way back to the car I fished a tan stimulator with that same olive quill nymph as earlier hung off the back. The nymph received most of the attention but I did get two to come up and take the dry. I was also very happy with how my nymph rod handled this rig. It cast great and that extra foot made mending a snap.
I went to go set up camp at Montauk and then headed to Tan Vat. I stuck with the dry/dropper set up but switched from the 10 footer to my normal rod. Nothing special to report here. I caught a few but none on the dry. Most of them took a hare's ear I was using as a dropper after losing the quill nymph to a snag.
After dinner I hustled down and out of the park to get a little more fishing in before dark. The hole here seemed different than I remembered but I don't fish up by the park much. Regardless it's quite the honey hole, shame it's so easy to get to. There was a very sparse hatch coming off. The bugs have me a little perplexed. They were mayflies, about a size 16 or 18 and orange in color with cream wings. They sure looked like sulphers, but those shouldn't be hatching this time of the year. My dries were back at camp and the stimulator on my fly patch wasn't any kind of match so I went wet. I've been really trying to hone in my wet fly skills anyways. A #16 partridge and orange tied shortshank worked on the few risers. I fished it upstream just under the surface picking up the rising fish. They all turned out to be little park escapees but oh well. I'm sure there were better fish deep but I'll never pass up an opportunity to fish anywhere near the surface.
I had clear skies all day and it was a starry night when I went to bed but by midnight one hell of a storm rolled in. The thunder woke me from my fishing induced coma. I thought about making a run for my car and sleeping there but decided to stick it out in my tent. Luckily I didn't float away and my tent didn't leak(props to Kelty). Even more luckily my waders were hung upside down. It would have been a bad morning surprise to find them filled with water.
Back to Baptist
The morning was surprisingly chilly considering how hot it would get later. The water was up a few inches from the storm but still crystal clear. It actually seemed to drop all the way back down by the time I left. Luckily I was up in time for the trico's. I decided to go the wet route again. I used a little black wet with an up wing (Clyde style, more or less) fished upstream. It was a #20 dry hook, short black thread body, quill wing and a single turn of starling. By the time the hatch petered out I'd caught a good number of rainbows and a single brown out of the pool. I thought about trying streamers again but decided to nymph since I had to leave early. The stone was the hot fly the day before so, big surprise, I lost my last one right off the bat. It didn't matter much as they were hungry. A Vladi worm as anchor and a Frenchie on dropper did the trick. I don't know the actual numbers but I think I caught as many Wednesday morning as I did all day Tuesday. Shame I couldn't stay longer.
I timed it pretty well though. After getting my quality fishing time in I tore down camp double fast and headed back home with just barely enough time. I had to be at work at four. After getting home I had just enough time to unload the car, shave and shower. If I had fished fifteen minutes longer I would have either been late or got pulled over on I-44 trying to make up time.
It ended up being a great trip. The streamer fishing was crappy but that's usually hit or miss anyways. Nymphing worked as usual and I even got a couple on a dry, not to mention the wets. That possible sulphur hatch still has me confused but more than anything I'm ready for some fall hatches. I just need to make sure I have some dries with me then.