There are occasionally fleeting moments in fishing, brief encounters, glimpses of huge fish that leave one shaking and gasping for breath. Today I had one of those encounters. I hit a couple of spots in a Connecticut River harbor looking for winter holdover stripers. The first yielded nothing.
The second spot gave me a surprise on the third cast. I did three quick strips then began swinging the fly. Towards the middle of the swing it began to work it's way up in the water column and I began to strip. I could see the fly, it was a highly visible white and chartreuse Gartside. Suddenly a huge striper came up and slammed the fly. I tried to set the hook and failed but he was back on it again. This time I felt him for a second. Then the big fish was gone. There was my shot, the best I've had at a big striper all year, and then it was gone. I fished that for another couple of hours and didn't move so much as a perch.
On my way home I passed the pond that has been producing bluegills on dries all through fall and a bit into December. Based on how cold it was last night I wasn't planning on fishing on doing any lake or pond fishing for a few days, but I stopped for a minute just for giggles. And there were rises. I went home and switched gear to something lighter. When I got back to the pond it did not take long. I got a good number of pumpkinseeds of decent size, and plenty of smaller bluegills. Would I rather have caught a striper? Obviously, but in the absence of the one I'll take the other!