Dancing With Trout

Discussion in 'Fly Tying, Trout Fishing' started by spinner, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member


    It was opening day 2003. My friend
    John Armstrong drove up to Wisconsin
    to fish with me. John is a Pennsylvania angler
    displaced a couple times over due to job changes.

    John called me 4 times on the way up
    and interrogated me about the weather
    conditions. The 4 degree weather up
    here was really not very inviting to
    a Georgia native.

    John and I have been fishing buds for
    quite some time. He use to manage
    Madison Outfitters on Madison's west
    side. His wife works for Oscar Mayer.
    One fine day in September 2002 John's
    wife was involuntarily moved to the
    Atlanta office.

    To make a long story short...
    John had to drive 11 hours to fish with
    me now. John has done that least once
    a year since his move.

    John rolled in the Friday night and we
    prepared for fishing. I was amazed at
    how many pairs of long underwear John had
    brought with him. He was going to wear 2
    pairs along with fleece wader liners. I
    told him he would look like the little brother
    from The Christmas Story movie after he geared
    up. The one with the Red Rider BB Gun theme.
    I wondered if he would even be able to put his
    hands to his side.

    We hit the stream at 8am. We parked his truck at
    the beginning of the area and we planned on fishing about
    2 miles up to a very deep hole. I called the final
    hole the sewer hole. It had a large spillway and was
    the first obstruction on that waterway. It was a perfect
    wintering hole.

    We were having fair luck and John could put his arms to
    his side. I still tormented him and kept saying.
    "You will shoot an eye out with that thing." The temperature
    did not get warmer and the robin's egg blue sky didn't help
    at all. We were cleaning ice out of the eyes about every other cast.

    John had never fished this stretch before and was growing wary
    due to the slippy banks and excessive clothing. I told him we would
    go back to the truck after we fished the last hole on the stretch.
    I told him it usually held a big one.

    The end is in sight. John sees the hole and thanks me for not letting
    him turn back. He has a little more spring in his step now and the
    prospect of a big trout is very real. John said he need to change
    his leader and his entire set up. He wasn't walking all this ways to
    hook a big one and have it school him. I watched as John put a new
    11 foot leader on. He was using 3x before but switched to 4x here with
    an indicator.

    John's rig has a size 6 hornberg on the end. A brand new leader without
    tippet tied to it. There is moldable tungsten placed above the fly about
    12 inches. Tungsten not a split shot..John said. The split would cause a nick
    in the line and a decent trout would break off. The last part of the rig was
    a bright orange stick on strike indicator at 8 feet up the line.

    We made the battle plan. John was out in the water to about his crotch.
    He was hesitant to go any farther due to the extreme cold conditions.
    He had the left lane of the hole. I was to block the trout if he got one on
    that would try to escape out the right side of the hole.

    John is a pretty good caster and has his hornberg up in the sweet spot
    below the spill in short order. John explained to me that because of the
    cold the trout would be on the bottom holding tight and any fast action
    by the fly would be ignored. John called it the dredging method. John
    even paused a couple times for long periods during the retrieve.

    I can remember it like yesterday. John is at the end of his retrieve
    and just taking the fly out of the water. He is telling me he calls the
    last part of the retrieve the most important. In cold weather conditions
    like these when he takes the fly out he does what he calls a Shake and Bake.
    The action mimics a bait fish swimming to the surface. It is a slow upward
    lift of the fly and pauses and stutter shakes are used as the fly exits the water.
    A very slow meticulous thing.

    John is an excellent teacher. He is looking right at me when he is talking
    and explaining the Shake and Bake. He just had told me how important it is to
    watch the fly come out of the water because lots of times a big one will hit it
    at the very last moment as it breaks the surface. John readjusted his view on
    the fly as he did the final lift.

    It was like it was choreographed to happen. John slowly did his Dance
    With Trout and the surface erupted as his fly hit the surface. The surface
    was alive with a big trout directly at John's feet that had NOT been tired
    out by a battle. The trout was on about 4 feet of line and giving all it had
    to escape from his captor. It got off the surface for a moment and tried to
    dive and run out the side of the hole. John reached for his net and did
    a right side step all at once. He lunged at the trout with his net fully extended.
    The only problem was that to John's right was about 3 feet deeper and when
    John side stepped his right foot found nothing but deep water and John
    fell over like a tree.

    It happened in slow motion it seemed. There is John with that nice brown in
    his net and he stands up out of the water and one side of his body is wet and
    I can see the ice forming already on his clothing. John is shaking uncontrollably
    but still wants a photo taken of the trout and him. One photo and off we go on
    a full jog back to truck.

    We are about 150 yards back towards the the truck and we come up to a
    dairy farm. We are talking all the way. John doesn't know if he can make it all
    the way back to the truck being wet. I suggest to find the dairy farmer and warm
    up in his house or maybe John should find a warmer place in the barn and I would
    run and get the truck. Luck was with us a little this day and we found a farmer right
    away and he gave a ride to John's truck. We sat in the guy's truck for a while so
    John's truck could warm up.

    Out John hopped and went directly
    to the back of his truck to his
    bin that had his extra clothing
    and long johns in them. John
    down to his birthday suit right
    there on the roadway and put on
    warm clothing.
    The farmer bid us a fond farewell
    and John and I looked at my digital
    camera while
    sitting in his truck while he warmed
    up. I can remember him saying. I sure
    the heck hope you got a good photo of that
    trout with all the DANCING I had to do.
    The photo turned out fine.

    Later that night I can remember us
    sitting in a local watering hole and
    reliving the experience and sharing
    the photo with the bar patrons. John
    said at the end of the night: "This is
    what it is all about........Fishing
    with good friends......catching big
    trout.....sitting around talking smart
    with whoever will listen and Dancing With Trout.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2009
  2. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    no dancing this day



    Same method but we walked directly to the hole.

    NO dancing this day and John wore chest waders.

  3. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    Those picture make me feel cold.