The latest Tales from a Trout Wrangler
Volume 1 - Issue 4
Nymph hang ups - why didn’t I think of that?
If you fish nymphs, you are going to hang them up. And if you aren’t hanging them up, are you really fishing them? So bowing to that inevitable is part of the dues you pay to fish nymphs effectively. But getting hung up doesn’t mean losing the nymph each time.
I often rely on a roll cast release to unstick dries snagged on a bank, but the roll cast doesn’t work with nymphs in deeper water. Most of the time I wade upstream to get a better angle or reach down into the water. In those cases, the fish are going to get spooked.
In his article, The Easy Way to Release a Snag, Domenick Swentosky of Troutbitten explains his technique for getting unstuck. Here’s the BLUF version.
Wade directly behind the snag, stripping in slack as you go, until you can reach with the rod tip and get that low 180 degree angle on the upside of the snag. Then pull it free. This approach ruins far fewer fishing opportunities than if you wade upstream and beside the snag to get the angle. Wading above or next to the snag is simply unnecessary, and it blows up all the fish in a wider area.
He does a video demonstration, and it is worth watching. I confess, when I read the article, I wasn’t seeing it in my mind. In fact, I was letting old ideas dominate my thinking. After seeing what Dom does, it all made sense.
The Sporty Mossy Creek Fly Fishing Hat
Years ago I had fun posting pictures of my favorite fishing hat in various places besides fishing venues. I hash tagged them #thesportymossycreekflyfishinghat.
Last weekend I picked up a new hat and decided to start posting photos to the social channels again. I’ll stick a fun one or two into Tales now and again.
This first one was from the 2022 National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit.
Which leads me to my next subject.
This is the fourth Summit I’ve attended, and each one has been worth the time. The gathering provides a chance to hear from experts, kick some ideas around and do some networking (see photo above…)
What was different this time was the range of sessions, the depth of information, and the recognition of growing dissatisfaction with the “conventional wisdom” of years past. The new sessions were on Climate Resilient Fisheries and Balancing Ocean Uses; both are challenging issues for resource management, and finding solutions will be tricky. The discussions were thoughtful, creative, and, for the most part, centered on realistic views of the future.
Those topics took up the first day, then I took the hat to dinner with friends.
Of course, no gathering of fishheads (and fishing hats) would be complete without a little food, drink and conversation.
The second day’s topics were Data Collection and Use and Management Reform, Flexibility and Optimum Yield. Color me jaded but I’ve listened to discussions about these subjects for 10 years. I’ve heard the complaints coupled with a lack of willingness to take responsibility or be held accountable. The solutions proposed are too often without a grounding in reality. Here’s my bottom line after the Summit. When it comes to these two subjects, I’m really tired of hearing people beating up on government scientists and managers who are doing the very best they can with the resources they have. Quit your bitching and start advocating for the funding these agencies need to do their job.
My friend and colleague Charles Witek wrote an excellent article about the summit titled Anglers’ Antidote for Institutional Arrogance. Witek gives the background of the summit, notes the changes from the past then drills in on the crux of the challenge many of us face doing the work we do. Please read Witek’s entire article; it aptly describes a jaw-dropping presentation and subsequent discussion.
“Institutional arrogance will always be with us. There will always be those industry voices who believe that the fish, and fishery managers, belong to only them. But the Summit helps to ensure that everyone present has a chance to speak, have their views included in the record of the meeting, and influence management policy over the next four years.”
Thanks to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission there are these opportunities to learn, share and challenge conventional thinking. Hopefully, the next summit will be more like the first day and less like the second.
Fishing with Friends
After the Summit I had the chance to fish with Brian Bennett of Moldy Chum fame. Bennett and I have been co-conspirators of mischief for a number of years, but this was the first chance we had to fish together. If there is compensation for the post summit mental discontent it is hanging with Bennet. Of course the weather mirrored the Summit but the conversations, drinks and food made up for it.
I’ll pass on this advice; if you have a chance to fish with a good friend, do it, you will never be sorry. Thanks B for time well spent, and being such a great friend.
That’s all I have for now, except to say I wish spring would hurry up and settle down. I really don’t want to fish in another snow squall, let alone three, like we did Friday.