Dissecting the water not just laterally, but also vertically, helps us analyze and understand the full area of a trout’s habitat. Reading water should be a combination of that lateral and vertical plane because trout can move up, down and side to side within every dimension of the river.
In this episode we Wadeoutthere with Domenick Swentosky from central Pennsylvania. Domenick is a fly fishing guide and the creator of Troutbitten.
Dry fly fishing in Pennsylvania with the Mono Rig was one of the most lasting memories of my fly fishing journey. Casting blue winged olives in the silent, snowy, solitude of a beautiful river I’d never stepped foot in before was remarkable. I had never fished dries in the snow, let alone on the Mono Rig. Both proved to be deeply rewarding.
It’s not the most famous rivers or biggest fish that fill up my mind and make me smile when I think back on all the places I have gone and people I have met while fly fishing. It is all the things I wasn’t counting on, but was hoping for. We go to where the fish are, cast out, and never know what we will find.
I had caught several fish already. Fishing was good. A size 16 pheasant tail with a zebra midge dropper. Most of the takes were on the midge. It renewed my confidence in this confidence fly, and in the idea that my fly mattered far less than the rest of it. My casts were landing softly. My drifts were sliding smoothly. The fly line flowed evenly with the indicator and my hooksets were effective. It all felt right. I was in the groove.
Getting to know the river is important for finding your own spots that you know will produce fish. Even if it is a short stop at the stream, every little bit of time on the water counts. If you are fortunate enough to live close to a trout stream, but short on time, stopping to wet a line even for fifteen to thirty minutes can add up and help build experience.
“Hey! Keep it tactical Shady.” And a smile. I miss it dearly. Talking tactics is one of life’s great joys. I learned this from years in a fighter squadron but looking back I understand why talking tactics was so special. I realize that while the endeavors and communities are different, the men and women who move through them seek similar goals. Progress. Knowledge. The betterment of the whole. And, yes, a touch of competitive spirit that pulls us forward and requires our best. Engaging these “tacticians” in the fly fishing community and sharing those experiences has become one of the great joys of my journey with Wadeoutthere. Talking tactics with dedicated fly fishing men and women who passionately share their knowledge and listen for those ideas they know will move them forward. People like Domenick from Troutbitten.