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Poor is a relative term.

Posted on July 06 2019

I've fished six days this week. The first five days I never hooked, let alone landed a fish over 16 inches. This time of year most of the big browns stop feeding on top and the rainbow population this year is mostly younger fish. But still, to not hook at least on big one is unusual. Today things changed a bit.

Fished above Hale Eddy in the morning. More for peace and quiet (boats don't usually start 'til noon), than anything else. Was looking for fish sipping spinners - there were quite a few spinners in the slow moving pool and I found a back bay where there were several fish sipping them. Was only able to convince two of them to eat but they were nice ones. An 18 incher with a clean mouth (no hook marks) tore all over the river, was into my backing on the first run and never quit fighting. The second, a beautiful 19 incher was the "Chamber of Commerce" fish's twin brother, never made a run, just thrashed on the surface and came quietly to the net. Am going to carry a tube of Neosporin to put on the mouths of fish like that. You couldn't begin to count the hook marks.

After waiting out T-Boomers that hit helter skelter in the area, I went out again at 6:30. Fished down low in the WB after first checking Shehawken to count the trailers (only one - yet four boats came by???). The riff is one that I seldom see waded but the evening boats are an issue. Six-thirty was clearly too early for bugs or risers and I was left with nothing to do but blind cast to fish that didn't rise. Fished for at least an hour before a twenty foot blind cast got eaten by my second 19 incher of the day. This one jumped five times, went 40 feet into the backing, tore all over the river and had an absolutely clean mouth.

There are still big fish to be caught. Some of them have had the life beaten out of them. Others (usually because they are in a hard to cast to lie or are just on the opposite side of the river from where all the boats go) are ready to give you all the fight you can handle. You just need to find them.

If you fish where the guides do, you will get double digit refusals and maybe a beaten up fish or two. Look for spots away from the boat traffic. Places where the lower water levels require the boats to all go on one side of the river. Look for fish on the other side.


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