Monday, February 27, 2012

Frozen Spey, First Fly

The thermometer lied on Sunday. The red line topped out just under 40 degrees and the light blue sky and bright sun offered promise of a warm afternoon of spey casting for steelhead. But there is often a large gulf between promise and reality, particularly when the water is colder than air and you are wading up to your waist through one of the deeper pools on the Rocky River.

At least the howling wind was coming downstream, making it so I could still work on my double spey technique. The alternative was to spend a few hours roll casting; while I could use the practice, who really wants to roll cast for a few hours?

I am slowly picking up the rhythm of spey casting, but it's a struggle to do much of anything with feet that quickly become blocks of ice and hands that would rather be inside gloves than gripping the 12 foot-plus St. Croix rod. The sun's low angle never delivered much warmth, and the wind blew what little there was downstream. I stuck with it partly because a few fish (or perhaps one very active fish) were regularly porpoising in the tale of the pool. Nothing like watching a large slab of silver break the surface to make one forget about his frozen toes and fingers. 

Thankfully a few fish got into the spirit and I hooked my first steelhead on a home-made articulated grapefruit leech pattern created by Kevin Feenstra. It's always more fun to catch a fish on your own fly, and this one was a first to remember. The photo is the best I could manage on my iPhone through its waterproof case.

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