Mojo found…

In “The Spy Who Shagged Me”, Austin Powers wakes up one day to discover he’s “lost his mojo”. Devastated, he goes about doing whatever he can to retrieve the magic stuff that makes him a man of extreme attraction to beautiful women world-wide.

If Austin can lose it, so can you...

I suppose anglers have their own version of losing their mojo as it relates to piscatorial pursuits. There are some fly fisherman out there who seem to bubble over with the stuff, have the masculine chin of Dudley Doright, and knowingly or not, seem to veritably rub it in no matter what they do on the water as we lesser types flail away. Most of us mortals do come up short, sometimes for brief periods – but sometimes for longer than admissible.

Such has been my case this summer. Whereas the Susquehanna has behaved itself well, the hunting has not been good. I plied my favorite pools and riffles with little to show for it. At first I considered it bad luck and then maybe poor timing. Every technique I tried, including dead drift nymphing, failed to get more than a few smallmouth wannabe’s. Ultimately I gave just gave it a rest for a while, attributing my string of poor results to the weather, which was supposedly the hottest on record (figures from the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University show 28 cities from Washington, D.C., to Caribou, Maine, set record highs for average temperature from March through August) and one that had warmed the river to feel like a bath-tub. Beneath that official Southern Tier Flyfisher statement, however, lurked the possibility that I truly had lost my mojo…

Come September and the world once again seems to be one groovy place, baby. Two recent trips to the often-overlooked Chenango River have proved quite successful, the first a week ago in the late afternoon and another trip just yesterday.

This swift run is at the head of a long, deep, and smallmouth-infested pool...

Both trips started almost immediately with hookups on the much maligned fallfish.

Fallfish often serve as a marker species for smallmouth...

Fallfish are wrongly referred to as “chubs” by many who come across them on the river. They aggressively strike nymphs, streamers and even dry flies and while they are no smallmouth bass, the bigger ones will put a good bow in a 7 weight fly rod. The New York state record (and potential world record) fallfish, weighing in at 3 lbs., 9 ounces, was caught in our very own Susquehanna River near Owego last year.

Eventually I got into smallmouth, and the headshakes, jumps, and sheer bulldoggedness of their fight put a big smile on my face. The pool I fished was deep with good current, so I fished a sink tip line and caught many fish on a crayfish pattern, courtesy of Murray’s Fly Shop. The bass seemed to hit on just slight and occasional stripping of the fly and almost a crawl across the bottom.

Singer's Crayfish - smallies love 'em...

On my first outing the bass were very aggressive and for a while it seemed I was into a deepwater feeding frenzy. I later noticed inch-long dark brown nymphs in the mouths of some of them, a discovery which backs up the fact that smallmouth bass can be taken on big nymphs and even dry flies when the time is right.

Other patterns also produced: Murray’s Mad Tom as well as another favorite, Whitlock’s Near ‘Nuff Sculpin.

Chenango River smallmouth bass...

Yesterday’s trip produced fewer bass but bigger ones, including a real gem that I lost after a while and most likely due to a poor hook-set. A highlight of the trip was fighting a nice bass while a bigger cousin cruised alongside to see what the fuss was all about. I’d never witnessed this in any of my river fishing though I’d seen it on various televised fishing shows.

Now is the time when smallmouth start to feed aggressively. Cooler nights and the resultant lower water temps seem to signal the bass that it’s time to feed up and get their own “mojo” on…

The Chenango River, looking upstream...

Tight lines and happy hunting…


2 Responses to “Mojo found…”

  1. Singer’s Crayfish is made by local flytyer Warrn “Barney” Singer. He hails from just outside Towanda, PA in a little hamlet called Rome, PA on PA Rte 187.

    Barney has a distinctive style of tying. Being friends with Barney I’ve watched him tie and sometimes he gives me tips… once, as a joke I went through Harry’s website with Barney and I bet him I could pick out all of Barney’s ties. When I was through with my targeted search he told me my pass/fail rate. I was shocked to learn that Barney probably ties 80% of Harry’s warmwater patterns.

    If you would like to fish with Barney and I… let me know. I could set it up!

  2. Bruce Rowland Says:

    I live on Long Island but love too fish in Cooperstown. I fished Otsego Lake, but it was very hard because of the water depth we were fishing. I know it would be better in June or July (topwater) I rather fish streams for smallmouths,but don’t know of any near Cooperstown. I am also a member of T.U. Art Flick Chapter. If you have any suggestions for the bass fishing I would appreciate it. Thank you, Bruce Rowland

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