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Week of December 31st: New Year 2024

I hope your holiday season was filled with family and friends and fish!  The consensus in the shop and around the river is the rousing success of the holiday stocking.  As of this writing, Sunday morning - 12/31, SBO’s Bubbas are still out there and the single jaw tag is, too.  The Bubbas and friends will continue to provide for Winter fishing as long as we Catch and Release carefully.  When the air temperature is freezing or near freezing keep the fish in the water when releasing your, naturally, barbless hook. 


The big question people ask is about the rain: will these two massive storms flush those fish toward the Delaware? Doubtful. Instead, the fish spread out and find places to be.  Now that the water levels are dropping, we will find them in likely places for this time of year.


Lots of people are coming to buy Waltz and Sexy Waltz Worms, Prince nymphs, Perdigons or the materials to tie them. The fish gracious enough to find my net have taken zebra midges or black bead head buggers (#10 or #12) that follow a tungsten perdigon or Crane fly larva (fine - mop fly).  When the levels are up, I will put on up to four split-shot if the conditions call for them.  I should add I am fishing 4x tippet from tippet ring to top fly and 4x again to the following fly.


This morning (12/31), the SBR was still up, but running clear around 288 cfs.  I decided on Califon Island park because that would put me close to the shop and maximize the daylight before opening up at 8am.  I had about 40 minutes.  I fished faster water with a Crane fly/bugger combo until I got snagged.  Pulling straight back - using the line and not the rod - I knew the line would break off. With about 8 minutes to go, I was wondering if it would be worth rigging everything back up, or just be grateful for another opportunity for the ol’ skunk.  


Fate smiled on me today and the line broke off at the fly, leaving my spit shot and tippet intact.  I quickly tied on my new favorite streamer and cast out, letting the fly sink before beginning a slow retrieve.  The Grey Ghost is by Carrie Stevens - available commercially in our shop.  They are really nice flies, I must say, and this year I intend to try and tie up a few myself using this video from another legend, Davie McPhail.


Thank you Ms. Stevens and anonymous fly tyer across the globe and thank you to the feisty little brown, beautiful and showing off his fins. 2023 had some ups and downs - but what year doesn’t?  My ten year old twin daughters and seven year old son are expecting me to stay up this year and, since I promised them, I will. I may still be out first light tomorrow! After all, it’s a New Year and new fish await. Tight lines, everyone!




See you out there.

Roy B.



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