Baiting wild brookies with big and bushy dries

LAKEVILLE — It was a busy week for the Tangled Lines community. Chris and Alice Sherwood of Sheridan, Wyoming,  were in the vicinity for a wedding and assorted reunion-type revelry, and fishing for wild brook trout was high on their agenda.

We were scheduled for Thursday, June 15, and on Wednesday it was looking grim. All the little blue lines I favor were very low. The only glimmer of hope was some rain in the forecast.

It wasn’t a lot but it was enough, and away we went Thursday morning.

Chris had a nice little 7.5 foot for a #3 line, and I loaned Alice a 7 foot #4.  I carried a Dragontail Kaida Tenkara rod, which packs down small and fishes at 9.5 and 10.5 feet, just because.

Mother Nature had thoughtlessly draped a fallen tree across my usual starting point, so we had to reconnoiter.

Asked about flies, I advised starting with big and bushy dries and working down.

This worked out for Chris, who had a brookie smack a Stimulator right off the bat.

It took a little longer for Alice, who ultimately got on the board with a dry-dropper rig that featured a size 16 Bread and Butter nymph.

We made our way upstream for about three and a half hours, until we reached a logical stopping point. They had more revelry to attend to and I had some newspaper stuff that needed doing.

Oh, and it was their 15th wedding anniversary.

Saturday, June 17, the Northwestern Connecticut Trout Unlimited chapter teamed up with the Pomperaug bunch for a picnic and day of fishing at Housatonic Meadows State Park. I missed lunch but did get to watch Tom Carter of Winchester get some switch rod instruction from the highly entertaining Jerry John of Northeast Spey, who did a proper demo later in the afternoon.

We watched from the boat launch ramp, and Jerry yelled instructions, and Tom worked his long line out from his 11 foot #5 Moonshine rod.

Despite owning a pair of two-handed rods, I have never come close to cracking the code. After 45 minutes of listening to Jerry and asking questions, I am in much better shape. Now I have a pretty good idea of what I don’t know about two-handed casting.

Alas, duty called and I had to scarper just when they were firing up the grill.

Meanwhile I kept receiving cryptic text messages from my attorney, Thos., who has been ensconced at the Covered Bridge campground on the Beaverkill near Roscoe, N.Y., for a week. Thos. had been prowling the stream away from the campsite and reporting great success.

All anglers are liars. The only saving grace is they are usually not very good at it. So once I get a bead on the level of hyperbole, I can make a decent guess as to what actually happened.

So when Thos. texted that he caught two browns of 16 inches or better, that means he caught one 14 incher that got him all revved up, and then got a 12 incher that looked bigger in his fevered imagination.

Or to use a contemporary idiom, he was simply “speaking his truth.”

Which takes me back  to the Sherwoods. Alice had a brookie on. She was just about to bring it to hand when it wriggled off and disappeared.

“Aww, rats!” said Alice. (She is an old-fashioned cusser.)

“Eight incher,” said Chris.

“At least 10,” retorted Alice.

As guide and mentor, it was my duty to rule on the matter.

“One foot, and that’s final!”

Tom Carter worked on his two-handed technique at the Trout Unlimited picnic. Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

Chris and Alice Sherwood had success catching wild brook trout in a stream that cannot be named. Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

Tom Carter worked on his two-handed technique at the Trout Unlimited picnic. Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

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