Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, September 14, 2014

It was a strong strike. The fish really wanted it. This wasn’t a dainty sip or subtle take. It was a sudden, savage grab that indicates there was absolutely no hesitation behind the decision to eat. The leader and line snapped taught and as the rod bent I knew there was a really decent fish on the other end. But I also knew I couldn’t win this fight so I had a bit of fun, playing the fish for a few seconds before it was gone. It was the second hit in a row that ended this way. Damned strike indicators should be designed to sport a hook somewhere.

It was a beautiful day as Tom Baltz and I headed up the Yellow Breeches to fish a particular section of the stream. After gearing up and pulling on our waders we hiked up a road for awhile before pushing through some bushes, stepping out of the bright sun and into the cool shade under a canopy of trees that covered the water.

Tom was adjusting his leader and told me to not wait for him--start fishing. I’ve fished with him for awhile and I know from experience that you NEVER fish BEHIND Tom Baltz if you intend to catch a fish. I had a size 16
Para Nymph on the end of my tippet so I started to work over all the logical spots. After a good amount of time had past without a take I began working on all the illogical spots too. Finally I gave in and retied the leader, converting to a nymphing configuration that sported a size 18 bead head fly at the terminal end and a tiny New Zealand wool strike indicator set about 24 inches up the leader.

Finally, I started to catch fish. As I worked upstream I tossed the nymph into the deeper slots and runs, pulling out a couple of fish here and there. Nothing really big but enough of a fight to keep things interesting. They were mostly brown trout about 3 to 4 inches long and an equal number of
tiny Fallfish.

I took a break to reset the depth on the indicator and saw Tom approaching behind me. He was fishing water I had just left about 15 minutes ago and as I watched he hooked a couple of decent fish. Fish that were much bigger than the ones I caught. I walked over and admired the rainbow trout as he removed the hook as slipped the fish back into the water. I asked what fly he had used and I was surprised to discover we were using almost the same nymph. There was a difference, but it was slight.

I continued to fish in front of him and continued to stick and land tiny fish. Tom was cleaning up behind me, vacuuming up all the larger ones. He passed me about a half hour later as I was pounding on some fish in a side channel and he disappeared around the corner. As I approached a deeper section of the stream I was startled when something large grabbed onto the strike indicator and wouldn’t let go. I played the fish for a few seconds then it was gone. I put a few more casts out and I got another grab on the indicator. To me it was just an orange blob of wool floating on the water but it obviously looked like something very tasty to a fish.

After a short break for lunch we returned to the stream. But so did a lot of other anglers. In the morning, it was just Tom and I on the water. We had the whole place to ourselves. Now, there were people all over the place. There were a couple of folks below us and as I turned the corner there was a person standing there fishing. I told Tom I was going to backtrack and try the spots we fished in the morning. Tom went upstream towards the other angler to see which way he was heading.

I picked up where I left off in the morning--more dink fish. I was catching fish, but they were all small. The big ones loved the indicator and I had one more strike on that fuzzy ball of wool. Finally I had enough and removed the nymph, tied on the biggest dry fly I had that was close in size to the indicator and fished that for the rest of the day. But after awhile the action began to die down and by 6pm Tom and I decided to call it a day and head for home.

EQUIPMENT: We used 4 weight rods, weight-forward lines, New Zealand wool indicators and a variety of nymphs and dry flies from size 14 to 18.

LOCATION: The Yellow Breeches is located around the town of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. The most popular spot that most anglers know about is the Yellow Breeches at the Allenberry Resort and Inn. We did not fish here, Tom knows of other water on the Breeches, but Allenberry is a great place for most people to fish.