Monday, September 23, 2013

Use the force, Luke

We all have that inner voice. For some, it warns of the Obamacare Death Rays; thank God for the tin foil hats. Others find moral and ethical guidance from their inner angels. My inner voice, with a gravely, older tone, mutters about knot strength and tippet status.

I recall a winter day a few years ago. I was fishing a midge hatch over in the Croton watershed. In a pool against a piece of ledge the dorsal fin of a fish I initially mistook for a subsurface log porpoised in the frigid water.

I hooked that fish. Not on the Griffiths, but on the #22 zebra midge dropper that hung below it. The fight was slow and heavy with a fish made lethargic by the cold. It felt like I was fighting a piece of sunken wood. With a swish of his paddle tail, the Brown turned towards the riffle below. My rod dipped sharply and then sprang back. The end of my tippet had the hallmark of a poorly tied knot, the pig tail.

That day the voice chastised me severely. Not fifteen minutes before he warned me that I should retie the knot on the dropper. My frigid hands had made poor work and it didn't look right. My hands told him to shut the hell up. We fished that bad knot and suffered for it.

Last night I heard the voice several times. He muttered about a dropper knot securing a #18 Olive WD40. A nice fish took that one leaving me the pig's tail. He voiced his concern again about a kink in dropper tippet. "Doesn't look strong", he said. He was right. I got back three inches of tippet for my trouble. Later, he commented about the foolishness of using 6x on the dropper. A nice fish abraded the hell out of it on a rock. I got back a piece of scraggly tippet sans fly and fish.

The knot curmudgeon in my brain can usually get through the clutter, but not last night. I was too eager to fish and a good hatch had brought the trout up for the first time since the spring. A mixed swarm of Isos, late Summer Sulphurs, and BWOs were keeping the fish busy.

Sometimes it pays to slow down and listen to that internal voice though I'm sure this is not the last time I'll ignore him. Especially when the fish are on on the surface on an early fall evening.


  1. Don't you just hate it when that voice is right. Don't feel bad, we all ignore it on occasion.

  2. Yes, I just wish I could remember not to ignore him.