So, for you fellow fly tyers out there who may be interested, you probably have noticed in the last few months that snowshoe rabbit has become scarce if not non-existent at your local shop. Apparently, there has been a small epidemic amongst those who are raising the rabbits involving some issues with their coats. Sounds like some futuristic Frankenstein mad scientist freak show stuff I know, but to all of us who depend on this great material for some of the patterns we tie, it basically means we are in a holding pattern until further notice.
|BWO Shucked Up Emerger, Snowshoe Pattern|
So, that being said I bought up as much as I could find so that I could keep pumping out orders, and of course flies for myself. I hope that this situation gets rectified sooner than later as I know there are many anglers, commercial tyers and the like that use this material extensively.
On a side note, I snuck out for the day yesterday, and actually got to put the Hyde in the water for the first time this year. Nothing like a day on the oars on a big river, and one that had been unfloatable a few days prior. A suicide run to personal favorite was the agenda in hopes of some streamer fishing and head hunting. The 4:45 alarm was rough after getting home from work at midnight, but a couple of rounds of strong coffee and I was right as rain. Like most of my fishing excursions these days, it was a last minute plan that came together the day prior. Floating a river alone is not really my cup of tea, especially when the water is up and off color as it makes it difficult to fish streamers in all the likely holding areas. Being able to hit stuff while in motion is key, and when you're alone it just isn't going to happen. My ace fishing partner Mike was tied up with work, so I needed a back up plan. My neighbor Zack had mentioned that he was on vacation, but I wasn't sure if it was this week or last so I gave him a call and luckily he was free.
|Cookie Cutter Brown|
Zack had never fished this particular river before, and I was happy to take him not only for the first time, but also for the first time fishing out of a drift boat. The weather was very New Englandish, as we experienced intermittent 25 mph gusts of wind, sideways rain followed by sleet, snow and then the occasional bout of sunshine without wind. Lucky for us, we managed to find several bugs and some pods of fish that weren't going to let the crazy weather deter their dinner plans. After Zack managed what he termed a "fluke" brown on a streamer out the gates, the streamer bite pretty much shut off for us. Aside from one really quality fish that I had on for a short 3 seconds after a lackluster strike, that was it.
|Bird Fur Brown|
We opted to keep the nymph sticks in their cases and strictly search for heads and it paid off. Throughout the day we had some steady surface activity on Apple Caddis, Blue Winged Olives, Hendricksons and Mahoganies.
|Olives, One of Many|
The highlight of the day came when I located a nice fish feeding within inches of the bank. I set Zack up with a cripple hendrickson, he made the cast and boom he was on. Zack got to feel the burn on this guy as the fish made several runs both to and from the boat before being scooped up in the net. That fish for me made the trip and it was a pleasure to see Zack get a small taste of what this fishery has to offer.
|A Nice Dry Fly Specimen|
We spent the day hooking, landing or losing several nice fish on the surface in all kinds of crazy conditions. I got schooled on 3 separate occasions by some rather large fish, that were just not having anything to do with being landed. The most notable one was sipping olives on the shoreline in a very tricky spot. Always up for the challenge, I just couldn't pass this one up. Tight to the bank there was a small, and slow channel that was less than a foot wide. The seam was separated by a large pyramid rock from the main flow of the river, which created a really slow triple conflicting current nightmare, a perfect spot to hold a big guy so to speak. Zack wasn't quite sure that this fish was as big as I hinted as the rise was very small. This fish was chowing hard and I knew if I could get even one good presentation to him he would most likely eat. On the third or fourth attempt I hit it right and he at my size 18 BWO Shucked-Up Emerger. One giant swirl, a couple of head shakes, an alligator roll exposing the enormity of this brown and then the fly is back in my face. Only problem, it pulled open on this guys mouth. Gotta love big wild browns and what they can do to small flies.