Saturday, February 4, 2017

Part Time Home Water Ep. 3: I'm Geekin'

It's no mystery to most who follow me that I am a total multi species fly fishing geek. If it swims I'll try to catch it. I've even cast flies at mola mola before, because my subconscious was saying "how dope would it be to be the first person to catch a mola on the fly?". It must be the biologist that I have repressed inside... but when obscure species and binomial nomenclature get tossed around I'm all ears! I take pride in the fact that I have caught more species of fish in a day than most common folk could name, and that I've caught some really unusual and infrequently targeted species. So I was totally geeking out today when I caught the largest common shiner I have ever seen in person.

Kirk and I made a brief visit to my PTHW, hoping to connect with some beautiful brown trout like the ones Rik and I were able to pull out of it recently. I recommended he fish an olive woolly bugger as that had been the choice fly recently. I went to work nymphing with my brand new CGR 5/6 wt. When I finished the run I was working and walked up to where Kirk was he was tight to his second fish of the day... and they were both largemouth bass!

 After missing hits and catching nothing I was worried I wasn't going to properly break in the new rod. The worst omen ever is to skunk with a brand new piece of gear. We stopped moving downstream because we came across a flock of mallards... not good for someone targeting fish that spook easily. So we made our way back upstream. I crossed the river to get into a good position to fish a deep pool we had passed by on the way down. Suddenly, I noticed a lot of movement going on. The pool was filled with hundreds of suckers, with fallfish and even a few trout mixed in. I started fishing my Ausable ugly through the school. After a few casts, I hooked up. What I brought to hand was something completely unexpected. At first glance I thought it was a redbreast sunfish. Second glace it looked more like a golden shiner. When I eventually got it in hand I was shocked. It was a large common shiner, bigger than any I had ever seen before by more than two inches. It was girthy and measured just over 6 3/4 inches. My personal best common shiner, Luxilus cornutus. In my humble opinion one of the prettiest fish in CT. They have many color variations and males often turn a navy blue during the spawn and get vibrantly red tips on their fins. Just look at it in the water and tell me it isn't a piece of art:

Kirk and I stood there and beat on those suckers for a lot longer, but there is only so much you can do before you feet turn to icicles. I was cramping big time by the time I had my waders off. That was a very interesting short trip. 


  1. Glad you got the 5/6 wt. tuned in. That stream looks very healthy and cold. That shiner is the biggest I've ever seen!
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. Thanks.
      One trip and one fish does not tune a new rod in, I'll have it in the rotation but yesterday just barely gave me an idea of how it will fish.

  2. Rowan
    Quite a variety; shiners on the fly rod, unusual, use to land those with a bobber and red worms as a boy. The markings on that bass seems to look more like a spotted bass, perfect water for it. What length is the new fly rod? Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Bill,
      The CGR is 7'6". I catch hundreds of common, spottail, and golden shiners a year so the only thing truly unusual about this one was it's size. We do not have spotted bass this far North but I've noticed that largemouth in smaller rivers do tend to get similar pigmentation on their backs.