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Bad Luck Larry

The Warmwater Trout

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Chub.
Mention it to any fisherman and most will either laugh or turn their nose to the heavens as soon as you say it. For me, the chub is a fish which means an awful lot, while to others, just AWFUL!

My friend has a book called 'The Fly Rod'; a collection of stories and essays on subjects about fishing, primarily from an English point of view. There's one chapter which I re-read every time I visit my friend's house out of that book, titled 'The Magnificence of the Chub' by John C. Scott. Everytime I read it, I wish I wrote it.
To me there is no other fish so akin to trout in so many ways. It occupies the same haunts and lies that trout would, and equally attacks the flies we tie with our hands with the same vitality. There really is no other fish more forgiving and eager to please, especially for the beginner entering this wonderful hobby of ours. Your dead-drift may not be as good; you've slapped the water a few too many times; and still, the chub when it sees that fly pass by will forget everything and send your spirits soaring as it soars out of the water for that juicy morsel of fur and feather passing its snout.

I remember a day on the Saranac, fishing midday/early afetrnoon when the sun was so hot, it seemed there were no trout to be found. The closest I got to catching a trout was a guy that climbed a rock to follow a wooly bugger I lifted over that same rock after it swung around the far side. Two hours and not a hit. And then on the other side of the bank in the shadows, a beaded GRHE caught something which felt like a trout. Lo and behold, it wasn't a trout; it was a chub to save a seemingly fruitless day.
"Is that all you can catch?!" my mentor hollered.
"We're here to catch trout! We can catch those things back at home!"
And there's the beauty of chub: in those moments when the sun is so hot, and the trout know better than to be out in the warmwater (and in the open to boot), one fish will defy those conditions and stand in its place to make you feel glad to be out there with that stick in your hand.

Unlike a lot of the folks here at FAOL, warmwater species are what I fish for here where I live. There aren't any mountains to feed cold water, and so the opportunity of catching a trout doesn't happen that often.
My 'home water' is a part of the Napanee river which flattens out of some fast riffles. It's a place hallowed to me because it is where I caught my first fish on a fly rod; the chub.
Today, I went for the first time this year to that 'church'. It was overcast; there was a light drizzle; and I was the only one attending 'mass', waiting for that same minister who schooled me nine years ago in this 'religion' of ours to begin the sermon of the day.
Water was 65, and there were some very light hatches of tan caddis and some BWO's about, but nothing topping at all. So, I started out with a beadhead GRHE, and on the first retrieve caught a little largemouth bass. Quickly released, I cast again and caught the one I was waiting for, a little chub of about 8 inches.
I put on my intermediate sinking tip to get the nymph a little lower in the column, and WHAM! ; this big chub 12 inches and fat all around hooked nicely in the corner of his mouth came forth to welcome me once again, home.
Making my way up the river to the faster water, I decided to go dry with a UFO my friend Steve specializes in tying. Swung the UFO to a rock, and LEAP; some kind of BIG fish swiped hard at it from its hiding place underneath. Decided to change the fly to a Rusty Haystack, and it did just the trick. Thinking at first it MIGHT have been a bass, was surprised but overjoyed that another large eager chub 'went for gold'.

Every fisherman his his/her preferences when fishing: Dry or nymph; big fish over little; number of fish is important; trout over any other type of fish.
Me? I guess I've been too humbled by life too many times to mention, that I find beauty in everything around me. And that beauty comes from somewhere deep within ourselves and others. I appreciate everything served to me, because I know that everything and everyone around me, has something to teach me.

So when the waters of your favorite trout stream turn a shade to the warmer side of things, attend a class of that 'Professor Chub' to give your techninque a little warm-up; whose eagerness and naiivete makes you feel like a kid again when it attacks that fly of yours like you expect a fish should. He'll save your fishing day just when you think there's no fish to be had. And he'll keep your spirits high, to enjoy this hobby of ours long enough for the waters to cool down for the beginning of the evening hatch, where his cousin will take over.

Updated 08-21-2009 at 01:30 PM by Bad Luck Larry

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