After getting a good report from Chuck up in Tochigi, I decided to head up on Monday for a crack at the early pre-spawn smallmouth. Conditions weren't amazing, but they weren't bad either, perhaps a little cold with a lot of the water in the river system still coming from snow melt. Getting rigged up, there was no question in my mind what to go for; a little tan crayfish on a longish, light, level leader to crawl and slowly hop around the deep slow pockets and structure. Chuck went for much the same approach. It's the obvious choice on the Omoi river at this time of year.
It turned out to be a very slow day with only a couple of half hearted pick-ups between us and very little sign of activity in the river. Much like last week it seemed like there were very few fish around in the areas where experience suggest they should be In the end I spent quite a bit of the afternoon snoozing against a rick and watching Chuck plug away for no rewared.'
Some might enjoy this kind of thing, seeing it as something to work out and conversations with some friends are showing this. I don't though, rather than an intiguing puzzle I just find it annoying. I keep records, I know that's not everyone's cup of tea but I like to have a systematic approach where I can see definite trends of success vs failure and act accordingly. It might not be the absolute best option every day, but over the years I'm confident it avearages at least as well as going with gut feeling, essentially the moneyball approach. Take the level instead of a tapered leader, I know that it's a ball ache to cast a size 6 crayfish with medium lead eyes on 15' of 8lb fluoro, but once the fly is in the water it gets down much quicker and stays down much better than on a nicely tapered leader. It doesn't feel good, but the data shows me that it's better.
The maruta are starting to turn up now so I'll have a few extra options over the next few weeks which is nice. I'll still be checking my notes before I head to the river though.