Fly fishermen looking to fish the no-kill zone in Deposit last Thursday night may have been in for a surprise. The DEC access adjacent to the Deposit Gentleman's Clubhouse was packed with cars, and anyone on the water would have noticed a large group of anglers, crowding the banks, watching a solitary fly fisherman ply his trade.
That angler was Joe Goodspeed. Joe graciously volunteered his time on a beautiful evening to show the BC Flyfisher's chapter of IFFF a thing or two about nymphing. And after gathering a growing group of fly fishers for a round of picture-taking, Goodspeed was soon challenged to hook a trout before the group of eager fly fishermen. He made no promises, but was soon to deliver.
This event, like all BCFF events, started with some general chapter news. President Nick DiNunzio announced that a fundraiser will be held on September 27, by the UE High School administrative building near the UE High School. This event will feature Gance's Catering and a great selection of good eats. To go along with fund-raising, the chapter will also be asking that non-members of IFFF who attend future events donate $2 ($1 for students) to help the chapter raise money. Finally, Life members of IFFF were recognized. After these announcements, Joe Goodspeed talked briefly about his tackle and rig. Under his arm he had a 10' 6" 4 weight Cortland Competition Nymph fly rod - a rod that he designed and developed himself. His large arbor reel was spooled with 2 weight Cortland Double Taper fly line and a hand-tied 13 foot leader.
Joe then headed for the water, as promised. He worked the head of the Gentleman's Club riffle, a spot he admitted could be difficult to fish because of its slow flows. But he claimed fishing this area can be worth it. Brown trout, according to Goodspeed, like to nose up to the lip of riffle, and feed, and it's the biggest browns of the pool that go to the head of the feeding line there. Joe's rig consisted of a #16 caddis pupa on a 2 - 3" dropper and a #14 jighead Isonychia nymph as the tail fly. The Iso nymph's 3/32 ounce tungsten bead was the only weight in the rig. Joe used a very small and dull strike indicator about 10 feet above the tail fly.
While it was only his second time on the Delaware since April of this year, Goodspeed certainly seemed at home. Before at least 20 - 30 bankside onlookers (and some already fishing the pool above him), Joe moved almost spiderlike as he positioned himself and then cast his long nymph rig. While his casting looked good, he showed that nymph fishing is more than just dead drift indicator fishing. He was constantly throwing mends and wiggles into the line, explaining later that he always kept his indicator tight to his flies, but with a 'J-hook' in the line below, used these jerks in the line to animate the flies. He cast and moved up the riffle, then stopped to make an adjustment to his rig, explaining that his dull indicator was hard to see in the evening sun. At the risk of spooking fish, he changed to a bright orange indicator. A few casts later he was tight to a fish, and this was a good brown - perhaps 18" - 20". The fish jumped twice as Goodspeed kept a tight line to it and made a graceful bow to the crowd. It ended up being a long distance release, but all onlookers were impressed.
After his 'on-the-water' presentation, Joe led the group back to the DEC fishing access for his bank-side presentation. The second part of this post will detail Joe's bankside discussion on nymphing as well as the results of the Q&A he held after his talk.
A good indicator of meeting success is attendance. By the time Joe Goodspeed began his bank-side nymphing presentation, 45 or more people were crowded around the parking area and the bankside bench. Anglers wishing to fish the access probably wondered whether a wedding was going on or the trout in the river were on an all-out feeding frenzy. No matter, all of the anglers there were engaged by Joe's presentation, and more-so, by his pointers during his presentation. Stay tuned for more on what he had to say in Part 2 of this post.