Winter Beast in the east


(Gressak) #1

Not sure what to think of this. I have been hitting a wild stretch here in Connecticut.

Todays temps were supposed to hit 35 degrees fahrenheit, but I decided to to a morning session anyway. When I arrived at the trail head it was 33 degrees. Perfect. No ice will form on my tippet.

I had a couple of half assed takes and decided to just hop to water I have had luck in. I did not have a lot of time. So over my last 4 outings. I have only caught one fish each time accept one outing where I got nothing. In the fall, I had success with multiple fish each outing but the winter has put them into a trance.

So i fish this deep pool that has a moderate current and slips under a pine. Last time I fished it I got this nice brook trout. Really the biggest thing I have ever hooked here was a 15 inch brown that I dropped, but most of the fish I catch and land are like this guy. 6-10 inch fish. Typical for a small wild stream here in the northeast.

This time…I decide to experiment with a test fly. My wife and I bought a couch for the living room about 6-7 years ago. We bought matching pillows with it, but for the last couple years the damn things have been purging feathers to no end. My wife decided it was time to go, but she said jokingly …maybe you can use the feathers for your flies.

Ummm…ok…sure… They were a bit long for reverse hackle, but I do like fine for a regular soft hackle.

So…I put this one fly I tied with the goose feather. 4 drifts and I see the line jolt…then come tight to what initially seemed like a log or small submarine moving up current. A flash of its long orange belly told me it was a brown, but I really was in disbelief. Heavy heavy fish, thumping in current. occasionally it would come up and show me its giant head. This river has a ton of dead fall and it littered with obstacles. I really did not think I was gonna land it. I thought for sure that it would convert into a fish story.

Nope…my master fish landing skills were no match for this winter beast. Well, that …and I am sure the cold temps had half its body in hibernation…hahahaha…none the least…here he is…

If I had to guess…its well over 20 inches.

here is the pillow fly…thank you pillow fly!!!

Definitely a trophy fish and a personal best on the tenkara rod. If you look at the last photo…its clear that this fish was not too bright and was recently hooked and possibly caught before. Looks like a hook scar and some leader burn.


(Chris Stewart) #2

Nice catch!

Any stream that supports natural reproduction can harbor a few monsters.


(Gressak) #3

Thanks Chris.

I guess I am just surprised as this water seems far to shallow and small to support such a large critter. I suspect it might be lost. Its existence may explain why my success on the smalls may have dropped off though. I bet if I unzipped its jacket…a dozen brookies would have spilled out.


(David Walker) #4

Lost fish ya say. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a couple of websites that reported fish biology research wherein they described tagging fish with miniature radio transmitters. They seemed kind of surprised at the variety travel. Some fish lingered on the same section of stream yet other fish would travel far onto smaller feeder streams or down stream to larger streams. Though I don’t recall if the sojourning fish were a different species or if the long travel just occurred at season change or weather change. If I recall correctly their research was on streams in Va. or Md.


(Rob) #5

I too have caught large browns in small creeks in which the majority of the fish are less than 12 inches.


(Gressak) #6

A buddy of mine told me yesterday that a lot of guys target the browns this time of year because its their shot at a trophy fish. He was noting that these big spawning browns make their way up to the skinny water this time of year. It was not my intention to target fish of this size. I was noting to a friend that part of me hoped the hook would pull because the tackle i was using is not stout enough for that class fish. Luckily the fight was relatively short and the fish did not need to be revived. The moment i placed it in the water it pulled away and swam off. I am out there to target fish appropriate for the size of my tackle. I have never been wired to be a trophy hunter, but am glad to have tangled with such a beautiful fish.


(Rob) #7

A certain river I fish in New Mexico is not a tributary of any other river. It’s its own river that flows from a mountain top to lower elevations until it eventually disappears underground. I have caught large browns in it that a person would consider the river not being able to support. A brown like that would spend its entire life in that river from birth to death.


(Mike Shelton) #8

Amazing catch Gressak, way to go. Those feathers had magic in them. The pictures are excellent.
How big was the trout? It looks about 21 to 22 inches (53.3 - 55.9 cm).


(Gressak) #9

Thanks I would say that might be an accurrate guess.
No larger than 24"… but definitely over 20".

I will need to tie up some more of that pattern.


(Nick Pavlovski) #10

A mighty fish indeed. Well done.


(Gressak) #11

I saw this today…good read. Seems like my friend was wrong. Browns stage in Oct…to spawn in November.

Seems like big fish tactics correlate with the same tactics as with striped bass. Rumored haunts…low vis…stained water or low light…high feed opportunities…etc.