It was an accidental trip! Well…well… for James maybe, but for me, it was a “planned” to be excursion somewhere sometime during the meeting. I have planned this in my mind even before the meeting. Now I just need the final hit from a “weak” program in the meeting. I looked through the ABS meeting schedule at the first day of the meeting… marked all the interested talk and sections… and it seems “the weak link day” jump right out in my program book. “Monday! This is… skip this and skip that then I will have a nice morning excursion in Utah!” I convinced myself that those are less relative and "take a rest" is important step for further trip! : P (Note: I had finished another meeting in NY at this moment. And it was a really fruitful and intense meeting)
James was a friend of John, he is crazy about Animal, any kind of animals… big cat especially. He had excited to show me some bobcat trails just behind the hotel, the mid-night “cat - like” screaming before the excursion… He was very excited about my plan, so he hopped in! We met each other around 5:00 AM at the lobby. It was a easy wake up around 4:30 AM to me. This would be my second outing in Utah this year, I am still feel crazy to see Provo again!! The moonlight was just beautiful, we had some quick free coffee from the counter. Bring along me trusty bananas. I mean, real bananas to eat. Not something special mascot. Some people may hastate about the bananas: banana and boat, banana and fishing etc… I don’t. I just love it because it is an easy and quick energy and it is tasty!
Drove along the little cottonwood canyon under the washed moonlight was such a treat. We arrived Provo as an early bird! The air smelled fresh and chilly, you really would appreciate this moment in the summer time here near desert! Needless to say this is my beloved Provo and the silky blue river just gently harmonized with the fresh air and sage smells. It’s unreal! Forget all the combat fishing just happened couple days ago, we had the river all by ourselves. We rigged up in the parking lot and headed toward the downstream…”Caddis! Tons of Caddis size #16 light tan color with green body. They are everywhere now… “ I yelled to James. James wasn’t that really interested in caddis flies… instead he was using his binoculars and observe the waxwings eating caddis flies. Indeed, that was a fun thing to see too.
The trails along the Provo are very nice, you don’t need really search for good holding water or good standing area, every little dirt path will lead you there. I guess this is the good “byproducts” from it’s popularity. We past several good waters, James got a little bit confused why not just start fishing… “You got better water downstream, and they suffer less fishing pressure!” I explained to him. We all agree a bit of walk is a good idea. Plus, we were really enjoy this quiet morning moment (I know it won’t be something like this soon… even this is Monday… yes… blue ribbon river got it name from people, from it popularity). On the side channel a quite nice pool sit in the end, for irrigation I guess. James could not hold his fly rod high any more… “I got to cast this pond!” He told me with inpatient voice. “Yes, go ahead!” I agree… there is not need for a 2 miles hike, since we were here fishing only for a half day… The first cast into the pool, he was on… and lost. “Jezz, those fish are quick!... and fun” “Ha.. you got to be fast! They are adapted to eat quick caddis” I laughed. A second cast, James yielded a little 6 inches brownie. “That was fun!” “This is a good sign”. I had my “Little Yuhina” 3wt fiberglass rod ready by then. The water in mid-Provo was still high… but that day I had something in my mind, I had something I eager to try in my home river – a wetfly swing- There is no trout in Alabama (literally). Although I have tried swing streamer patterns for stripers and yield some pretty exciting results. There are something special for those size #16 wetflies swing! To me! I have tied several from cowbird, from partridge feathers for this trip! “Now, it’s real game! Let’s move to the main channel, bigger water, bigger fish” I was jumping along the rocks when I told James my intension.
The bank was covered with blanket of caddis flies! They will flipped around the ground, flip-fell into the water… but fly. Because of the cold temperature disabled their fly ability temporary… It seems I was baiting the fish every time when I disturbed the vegetation along the bank… but the rises still lousy… somewhere here and there… I guess those Provo trout were spoiled with gigantic caddis hatch. James have something in his mind, start to cast just downstream from me. I tied on a Elk-hair caddis pattern started to working on my way up… got several 6 inches brownies… a very quick success on top! I was extremely happy. Because this Little Yuhina is really fun to fish! Soft and accurate! The fish fight like a chewing gum… : ) There is something special in this rod, or say in the fiberglass! Differ from other friends, I choose material that is light in hand, fun to fish, also good in looking… Yes, I am a shallow college boy. “Good looking” is very important, is very essential in photography, which is another byproduct fun I have in fishing! : P Part of reason that I brought along this fiberglass rod is I want to try some wetfly swing on my little fiberglass rod. I did not expect to have an extreme catching experience though (that would be with my XP 590), instead I am searching for “fun element” that day. Several small fish later, I decided to give the swing a try. I have learned the swing “verbally” from Vlad (will introduce him later), visually from the DVD, but never practically from my hand and, most importantly, from the fish. “The approval from the fish.” I guess it doesn’t matter you claim you are a good tier or your friends assert you are a good tier or caster. It is useless if the fish didn’t approve it! I need the final agreement from the fish, or say from the “fishes”. Right?!
I settled down in a nice riffle run… water was really high, not much space allow me to walk around in the middle of calmer water. I waded in, small shallow run on my back, major run in front of me, in addition, a color change signal the drop off right in the middle of the major run. Perfect! This is a good spot, I know. I trailed a small wetfly nymph #18 (a mayfly emerger type) behind my #14 caddis dry. Cast 45 degree above me in to the run… started the sequential searching along the seams and along the run. By then, I have no sight of James… I knew he is down stream somewhere… probably already had tons of fun with those brownies. James is the outdoorsman who will enjoy himself as always…birds, fish, insects etc… I was worrying about my wading more than worry about him, just to be honest with you : ). By then the caddis was heating up and start to fly and craw all over the places. Since this is a caddis time, my strategy was to cast my dryfly upstream to get some good drift, then twitch it in it midway (B taught me his deadly “caddis dance” last year…thanks B), followed by a submerge swing and the snap T cast back. OK… the plan sounds efficient and elegant in my mind. I was happy with this plan A. (BTW, Part of reason I like the EHC is they are easy to dry and easy to cast, one more shake they are ready for dry float again) (Note: one of my problem in fishing dryfly is they “die wet” too quickly… I am a really lazy guy, I hate change flies just because they get wet…see…; ) I have several reasons make me prefer to fish wet… change fly is one of them. : P).
Ok… plan A does not work very well at this moment… I felt a bit anxious, since this is my first time fishing swing for trout… “maybe I should do something different? The swing?” I mumbled… remember the water is still high…the riffle really were catching up my line when I cast the dry upstream… impaired my downstream swing section… I remember the old timer have said… “smoothness is the key in the downstream swing, and the line control is the backbone of it!” “hmmm the line control… got to do something…” the drop off still looks fishy and I have see some rises just below the run … “They are there…just try to gain more control of my line” I told myself. I decided to cut off the upstream cast… just cast my dry and dropper 45 degree downstream and maintain a good control by mending my line into current carefully. The drift and swing are really beautiful now, I am happy…. I think the “Little Yuhina” is happier now too… since I don’t need to punch him that hard into the upstream. The downstream cast and swing turns out really smooth… I really enjoy this new Plan B! My mind was still soaking in the happy new rhythm…BAM… I got a hit just at the end of the swing…”Heee ba….” I cheered for the swing… it happened so fast and so disturbing… ( in a good way…) well… the disappearing was just as fast as it comes. Few shakes later and she is gone… Wow… the swing work! I am so happy!! Ecstasy to be exactly! Even no fish landed yet… but I knew the success is not far! I have heard the landing rate in swing is about 50% of strikes… “The important thing is the approval of the fish… or fishes…hopefully.” A friend from FFR_ Joe said ” it’s all about the take!” He is right! And I know I am truly honored by the take. Now I have 100% confidence in this run and, most importantly, in this swing thing. Surely I am not over confident, the next hour was truly classified NON-STOP ACTIONS (no kidding). I have got so many strikes that I even can’t remember how I handle those strikes with a little 3wt in the riffle. The only thing I have to say is the landing rate is not 50%... is about 25% to me… still fun though! Joe stood on my shoulder and said “Hey! It’s all about the takes!” : ) … (to be continued)
I am a biologist grew up with a fishing rod in my hands. I have been fortunate enough to embrace my love of art and science in my career. Most of my free time were well spent in the nature, either studying bird behavior or chasing variety of fish with fly rods. My favorite art medium is watercolors, I love the natural and spontaneous feel created by watercolor pigments. I am currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University. Welcome to my website. Mark