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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fishing With Ben's Beetle-The Sequel

On Friday evening I met a fellow SRTU member up near the dam to fish the "falling water" when they turned the turbines off at six o'clock. I still had "Ben's Beetle" tied on from a previous trip. It has lost one leg and was looking a bit ragged but I was hopeful as I stepped into some very chilly and fairly swift fog obscured water. A few casts later in that foggy cloud bank I had a rise and temporary hook up. This repeated itself three times in a row. I could see the rise, the line would straighten out and my rod with give a good bend but I could not close the deal. Some of you folks who are devote catch and release fishermen might have been tempted to count these but personally I don't do a mental tally until I place my hands on the fish. No matter, at least I knew my three legged beetle was still drawing attention

My first stop had been right near the dam but after a half hour I moved downstream
to another spot. This one was the ticket because I was soon tight to a pretty brown which finally stayed on long enough for it's "Kodak moment". This repeated itself a half dozen more times until dark, which came early due to heavy cloud cover. Ben's beetle ended the evening very much the cripple with only one leg

I had planned to try the beetle down in the Hay Field area Saturday morning but heavy rain during the past two days had turned the entire Smith River below Town Creek the color of well creamed coffee. The only game left in town was up near the dam. I was out of beetles but a call to the "Beetle Man" revealed he was on his way up for a day of fishing. I worked on deer stands in the morning and made a date to meet my beetle distributor near the dam at 4pm. At the appointed hour I spied Ben in a long stretch of water working his way to our predetermined link up point. Not five minutes later the sky opened up in one of those torrential rains with sun shining all around. I ran for the cover of my truck but poor Ben was stuck in the middle of the river with steep banks on both sides. It lasted just long enough to thoroughly soak the unfortunate Beetle Man. With a handful of authentic beetles I went to the same area I had slain them the night before. The water was clear, low and with very little current. The night before it had been much deeper with a current that made you think twice before stepping in. I went a long way before catching one with a blind strike, i.e. started to pick up for a new cast and he was on without my seeing the strike. I caught one more on the beetle. I even tied on a different color which Ben was experimenting with but could not draw another fish. I finally arrived at a good "get out" point which I took advantage of. I walked back to my truck, switched rods and started doing what I do best, which is fish a nymph. I fished up through the same section I had earlier fished with a beetle.

On my 2nd cast I hooked up with a rainbow which would push the 20 inch mark. It was definitely the biggest trout I have caught this year. It had fallen for a Zebra Midge hung below an Allieworm. As luck would have it the battery on my camera had died. I love this Pentax Optio W30 but if you fail to shut it off after taking a photo it will drain the battery in short order. (My previous camera used to shut itself off if there was no activity in about a minute - if this one has that feature I have not figured it out) - After a nice fight I released the rainbow and promptly caught it's 12 inch sibling on the next cast.

It wasn't exactly a fish on every cast but I did catch an even dozen in the short run where I had previously fished the beetle. Could I have done the same thing with a nymph the night before when the beetle had been so effective? I don't know and don't really care. It was fun fishing both ways. It certainly shows that you need to have more then one trick up your sleeve. If one method is not working you can continue to beat the water to a froth or you can change tactics and just maybe catch a few fish.

Best part of the whole weekend was fishing with a couple of good friends.

Contributed by: Albert Kittredge

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