Over many years I have taken big beautiful trout from that river. But one of the best days I was given the opportunity to catch a fish that was a true monster. Not to far from where this picture was taken the Lackawaxen merges into the Delaware river. There was a small restaurant and a couple of shops the afforded me access to the river. The river here is pretty rough and wading is not the best method of fishing it. So I hopped on the rocks and fished it that way. I selected a Gray Ghost streamer, rumor was that large brown trout would move up from the Delaware and were taken from the area I was fishing. I cast the streamer and within seconds the current pulled it under. My retrieve brought nothing. This same action produced the same results. The thought came into mind of putting on a split shot to bring the streamer down. That idea quickly was thrown out because I had left the shot in the car. So I tried fishing closer to the bank, which was almost all boulders. That proved to be a better idea. The fly moved slower and deeper. After several more casts I took a strong strike, fish on. The fish attempted to get into the middle of the river. Run, dive and repeat. It took me some time to get control and as the fish moved in closer I could see one heck of a brown. The brown lay there calmly and I reached to lift him up. As my hand entered the water that brown ran. Within a heartbeat he was in center river headed south. The fish broke off with the Gray Ghost in its jaw.
That was my only streamer. Looking into the fly box I saw a Lackie Special. I know big browns like meat but they also will take flies that they are familiar with. With the Lackie Special tied on I continued to fish. I caught a couple of smaller rainbows and some rock bass. I cast to a large boulder about a quarter way to center. There was a nice eddy there and the went down and sort of lingered there. I pulled back and all hell broke loose. That fish headed for the nastiest part of the river. Such strong currents I have never fished. In the back of my mind was the picture of a big brown with a Gray Ghost in his lip. That thought was quickly erased when the fish broke water. A foot out of the water and clearly saw a smallmouth bass. My goodness this has to be a dream...I battled that fish for some time and he knew jut where to take me. I was in a bad position because I could not move along the stream. I relied on my skill with rod and a good reel drag. I can't tell you the time it took to get this bass to give up but I was glad it was over. I lifted him up, his dripping wet bronze flanks were tense. I could see the Lackie Special in his mouth along his tongue. I did not have a camera but a patron of the restaurant gave me an applause.
My research into this great pattern is on going.
I was so excited to read and see the above posts! You always inspire us to stretch out and try new patterns! This one is no exception! I like how you have changed the length of the fly by simply altering the hook style! The Tiemco 200R is a wonderful hook choice! It's longer length almost throws it into a small streamer genre. Or, a longer bodied wet fly as compared to the patterns you tied back in 2016! Was this your intent? The reason I asked is the high water in the Laxen in your pics! That would indicate streamer! Although, hatches happen just about anytime! Gosh, this is exciting stuff Alan!
I also like being along with you on your journeys via your photographic work! Both posts are laid out perfectly! We are there with you and this is exciting too! I can't wait for you to revisit the former streams and waters this summer as you mentioned above! They look delicious!
Doug in the Den
I am also into pattern research so keep us posted on the continuing research that you will do on the Lackie Special!ReplyDelete
Doug at the time I did the original post I mentioned the fly was an emerger. The hook used was a Mustad C53S hook which is a great hook for these types of flies. The C53S hook was also used in dry fly patterns like reversed parachute flies tied by Roy Christie along with stimulators and hoppers. I loved that hook. I continue to seek where I posted that first report on this wonderful fly.
Can't tell you how many times I've reached for my camera for that once in a life time photo only to find I left it........ReplyDelete
Mark stuff like that happens. It reminds us we are not perfect. You are about my age do you remember those throw-a-way 35mm cameras? I always had one of those stuffed somewhere.
I do. Take pictures both above and under water and then give them the camera to develop the film. When we were in St. Thomas we wanted to take pictures while snorkeling, but couldn't find an underwater camera anywhere.Delete
Great post, Alan. Doing pattern research is just as much fun as tying and then fishing the discoveries. The Lackie special is literally in my vise as we speak; can't wait to try it on the salmon up here. I've never been crazy about the Tiemco 200R, but in this case it works fantastic! Doug is right, it pushes the fly into baby streamer territory. Good stuff, Alan.ReplyDelete
Mike you are going to like the results of the Lackie Special. Landlocks should tear it up. The hackle color could be changed to suit your needs also. Colors like red, black and yellow might work well.
I love these kinds of fish stories, Alan. What a great read on a winter's night. The big ones get big for a reason as they say, and that is surely true.ReplyDelete
Sam as memorable as the fish were the real experience was being able to stand on those rocks an actually fish. I have to get back there this year. Also the Lackawaxen has the most slippery rocks I have encountered, lots of shale. Big fish know there escape routes and methods.
This post is what I love about fly fsihing----the Smallmouth had a fighting chance to break free, but the angler had the skill to land the fish using a combo desigend for smaller fish.
The post also reminds me of landing the 4 lb. Spotted Bass in June 2020 using a 4 wt. like you it took some time to land the fish but skill and patience allow me to touch the fish. Looking forward to the season which begins for me Wednesday. 66 degrees on the Sipsey hoping I get to wet a fly without generation----thanks for sharing
P.S. The trip will be all Euro Nymphing!!
Bill if you try to force these fish to submit you usually loose them. Patience is key.
Glad your getting out, I may give it a shot myself come Tue or Wed. Good luck.
the Lackie special shown in the previous blog appeared to have ribbing or is that just a sparsely dubbed thread?ReplyDelete
I know it looks to be a rib but it's not. It's just the way the dubbing is wound.
Great story, and I enjoyed your earlier post about the Lackie Special and the little shop that is now closed. What do you think the Lackie Special imitates? It looks a bit like a March Brown wet. Do you fish it for a particular hatch, or just as a general buggy attractor?ReplyDelete
Keith I'm not sure if it represents any one hatch but i know it works very well in that river. It can represent many insects.
Found this post you did on the fly. https://www.sparsegreymatter.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8117ReplyDelete
Yes sir that's the lost post I've been searching for. I appreciate the research.
People please check it out.
Lackawaxen Emerger - Sparse Grey MatterDelete
Thank you for posting Alan!ReplyDelete
I think I have good materials to tie this fly, interesting story.
Humberto. I would love to see your completed fly. I would also love to hear of it's performance when you fish it.
Catching up on posts after a busy few work days - the Lackie Special looks like a keeper to me! I know I have googled too looking for information on the fly and decided since not all information resides on the internet, I will check with some folks I know who fish the Delaware watershed and can connect with the older traditions. Thanks for the great inspiration as always.ReplyDelete
Kevin I like you searched for more on this fly. Finally a reader found the original link that answered the question.
Lackawaxen Emerger - Sparse Grey Matter
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