Monday, November 22, 2010

Cold Fingers

The cold weather fishing season snuck up on me.

When I last fished, almost a month ago, I was still fishing in a shirt. Sure, it got down into the mid-50s by the time I left the water, but it was tolerable in that "I'm not going to whine about anything whilst fishing" sort of way.

Yesterday afternoon was different. The temperature gauge in the car read "48" on the drive up and was hovering in the lower 40s by the time I pulled off a small road and suited up for the walk to the river. I had all the cold weather gear I required and wore fleece pants to stave off the cold of the tail water. I also layered above to make sure I didn't get a chill. However, I drew the line at fingerless gloves and a knit cap. Mentally, my brain said you don't need gloves in October. Of course, it's not October anymore. I should have brought them along.

I can guess what the ache and inflexible fingers of an eighty year old arthritic feel like because I have tried to tie a Surgeon's Loop in 5X tippet when my fingers absolutely refuse to work. It wasn't that cold (38 degrees by the time I returned to the car), but I did get the message; next time bring gloves (and perhaps a hat).

The fishing was not good. I got on the water late just as the sun was moving below the valley wall. Any hope of their warming rays was gone though the valley wasn't so deep that it got dark early. It just got dim.

There was a steady BWO hatch coming off the river though I only saw a single rise in the two hours I fished. The flies were those micro #24 or smaller flies that are best imitated with a small hook with thread for a body. I fished the likely spots with a nymph rig fishing a golden stonefly, a pink egg, zebra midge, caddis larvae, brassie and probably a half dozen other flies.

Not so much as a tug.

I did have a fine cigar.

And it was nice to be back out on the river after so long on the road and so many hours in front of the computer and on the phone.

This Friday I'll be on the Housatonic with a bunch of close friends for our annual Black Friday mall avoidance trip. The weather is sure to be gray and cool. But that's what winter fishing is all about. I'll bring the gloves this time.

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