It was so nice yesterday, I took the afternoon off and headed to the South Branch of the Raritan to enjoy what may have been the last warm day of the year. The air was calm and warm, nearly 70 degrees at 1:00pm, with high scattered clouds breaking up the bright blue sky.
I started out fishing a scud with no takers, so I switched flies to a Pumpkin Head. I fished it on a short line, no weight, letting it drift freely in the water column at whatever level it wanted. In short order I was rewarded with a nice rainbow. Take a look at that Pumpkin Head in the top jaw of the fish.......
After releasing the fish, I continued to work the run and soon was again rewarded with another rainbow. You can see how clear the water was. Steath was the order of the day - short, slow, careful steps to minimize wake and foot noise on the bottom. Here again, check out the Pumpkin Head in this one's jaw.
It went on this way for a while as I worked my way down through the run taking a step downstream every few casts. I hooked and landed quite a few fish on the same fly, before surrendering it to a tree branch that hung over the bottom of the run.
I then moved up river to a slower, deeper pool, where a new Pumpkin Head nymph drew the trout to it like a child to candy. After a while I switched to a beadhead Bird's Nest just to see if it was the fly or the presentation.I used the same size Bird's Nest, on the same leader and tippet, and did not even get a hit on it. So I switched back to the Pumpkin Head, and caught a few more fish.......some days it goes that way.
Darkenss came early and with that, the fishing had to come to a close. The air had cooled and my head was clear, and the catching had been as good as one could expect. It was a wonderful late November afternoon on the river that will feed the mind when tying on those cold winter days to come when the sun is low and wind is high.
If you missed it, the video on how to tie the Pumpkin Head can be found on the right under Fly Tying Videos.