8-29-2020 North Country Angling-Plop

A Saco River rainbow that got plopped. (STEVE ANGERS PHOTO)

Walking through Hussey’s field, the grasshoppers were everywhere. Late Summer is the prime time for grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and ants to start hatching. Waters are lower and the fish are on the lookout for a big mouthful of food.

Seeing the plethora of grasshoppers as I walked up to the Outlook Pool brought a smile to my face. Fishing imitations on the surface and waiting for the explosive takes is one of the true joys in life, along with Christmas Morning, New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving.

Wading into the water, I opened the fly box. Peering into the box, I selected the biggest grasshopper pattern in the box. The Mega Moodah Poodah. This fly is tied on a size 4 hook and is as big as the tip of your thumb. I added three feet of 3X tippet to the line and tied on the fly.

The riffle water above the Outlook Pool was broken by several fallen trees. The river carves safe havens for the trout and creates feeding lanes that the trout will move into at feeding time. I began to cast the fly rod with a deliberate motion. Each back cast letting out a little more line. When the length of the line felt right, I sent the fly on its way to the intended target. As the fly approached the landing zone, I drove the tip of the rod to the surface water and pulled slightly on the fly line.

“Plop!” went the fly as it hit the surface of the river and right next to the log. The Mega Moodah Poodah drifted two feet and the water erupted as a nice rainbow trout inhaled the fly. I raised the rod tip and when the line went tight, the rainbow trout went airborne. The fish tail walked the river and then went deep, headed for the root wad of the tree.

Putting 3X tippet on the line was a wise move. The tippet held as I leaned on the rod and put pressure on the fish to turn the fish away from sure freedom. The fish then tried to head downstream, but the tippet held. I began to bring the fish to net. Once in the net, the 14-inch rainbow was a prize given up by the river.

The following week, I was sitting in a canoe on Crystal Lake. The fly rod was tipped with 2X tippet and a DB Frog in orange. The wind had calmed and there was only a slight riffle on the surface of the lake.

I could see the large boulders on the bottom of the lake. Prime large-mouth bass territory. I launched the Frog into the air and as the rod flexed, I could feel the line and the Frog asking to be sent to the water. As the rod flexed forward, I sent the Frog toward the boulders that were just off the shoreline.

Plop! The Frog hit the water. Several tense seconds went by and then the water exploded as a largemouth bass went airborne with the popper anchored to its lip. The bass headed for the rocks but with a pull on the rod the 2X tippet persuaded the bass to head toward the angler.

Tip of the Week

As anglers we try to be as quiet as possible and to land our baits on the water silently. Making your bait plop on the water is a dinner bell for the fish this time of year. Making a plop on the water may be your only chance for angling success.

Steve Angers is a native son to the Conway area. He is the author of the acclaimed book “Fly Fishing New Hampshire’s Secret Waters.” When he is not casting to trout in the valley, he operates the North Country Angler.

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