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Mid November - Warm weather, wet flies

It’s been a busy Fall at South Branch Outfitters! The International Fly Tying Symposium was exciting this year and there is some good weather (for fishing) on the horizon next week, following some rain that should get our flows back up. The reports from guides and social media are evidence of New Jersey’s enthusiasm for fly fishing throughout the year. This Fall, the operative pattern seems to be a wet fly (soft hackle).

I was fishing the Musky on Thursday afternoon with a few bites on my streamer. A customer from the shop happened to pass by and recommended I try a Perdigon. Thank you, kind sir, because while I didn’t have a purple one, the greenish yellow one made my day. I don’t usually carry two rods, but I knew I wanted to throw my Grey Ghost around dusk, but also have a nymph rig ready. I was rigged up with a soft hackle hare’s ear and switched my WD40 for the Perdigon and the Euro-fly produced on the second slow drift, high sticking under an indicator. The second trout, a few minutes later, was substantial and got off just at the lip of my net.

Friday morning I was up at dawn and back on the Musky with the same Perdigon waiting to go. Beginning in the middle of the TCA, I worked upstream and again, the second pass with the Perdigon brought a nice rainbow to hand. After that, things seemed to shift. Once the sun was up enough to allow me to stash the headlamp, they were on the wet fly - in my case a Hare’s ear wet fly. I was off the water by 8, a happy fella.

After some QT with the family, I went back around dusk, having received intel about quality trout in the lower TCA. With just an hour to spare and willing to walk back in the dark, I set forth with the wet fly/Perdigon set-up again. For the record, I was using a 9’ 5 weight rod with regular fly line and an extra long leader - perhaps 11 feet to the wet fly. The Perdigon I attached to the eye (yes, you can use the hook bend, but I like the eye) after about 18 inches of 6x tippet. This was fished under an indicator. I lost the Perdigon on the second cast and put on an egg sucking leech. Luck was with me again and I found one feeding on the outside edge of a riffle.

Saturday morning, 11/12 was cold! I was at it again, with the extra hour of light before opening the shop at 8, I can’t pass up an opportunity.

Well, it was a beautiful morning.

My wife knows I didn’t catch anything when I comment on the weather. Sunday, though, I was back on the Musky and got a few more to close out the weekend. Again - the wet fly did the ticket! I went with just a soft hackle hare’s ear this time and a midge underneath. With this set up, and again working up stream, I roused two more.

One more tip to consider - look carefully for rising fish. In the day break and especially with the warm weather continuing in the afternoons the sips are subtle - look for surface activity and have a few miniscule BWO or (new to me) Mole flies with you. With the shifting temperatures overnight and on sunny days, there may be more than just nymphing in the next ten days!

See you out there! Roy B


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