Sundays in the park with a fishing buddy... what could be better? I went fishing with Caleb Abramson this past weekend on a clear and crisp day.
Fishing in December has its joys. Water temperature is not among them. The water was a balmy 38 degrees near the Sinks, and consequently fishing was a grinding ordeal of high-stick nymphing.
I have a fair amount of experience with high-sticking, dating back to my Steelheading days. However, I am not in the same league as Caleb. Local guide Tim Doyle refers to Caleb as the "Jedi of the Wet Fly". Caleb grew up fishing in the park with many of the old timers, emulating their favored technique.
There were many subtle differences in Calebs style of high-sticking. Most notable was the lighter rig he was using. I am used to using a great deal of split shot, actually bouncing it across the shale bottom of my Ohio home streams. Caleb uses little or no shot, relying instead on the weight of the nymph to get his rig to the bottom. He also favors a 3-4 cast and move on approach where I am used to repeatedly dredging the same slot until I am convinced it is a futile gesture.
I learned a few other things Sunday. I learned the Little River is one slippery stream. I learned that when you combine a cold stream with a slippery bottom, you can end up shipping a bit of water and are left with some very cold feet. But I also learned that with patience, high sticking can be a very effective way of taking fish in the park when there is no hatch activity to speak of.
In the end I caught 5 fish including an 11 inch rainbow, but I am not yet a Jedi. Caleb, at home on bith the river and with his chosen technique netted just under a dozen.