Yes, there is some joyous holiday fishing news but first....
On behalf of all of us at Shannon's I would like to extend our wishes to all of our clients for a safe and healthy holiday season. It has been a trying year for our nation and the world. To those who may lost lost loved ones to COVID-19, let me extend my deepest sympathies for your loss. My father passed the day after Christmas on December 26th, 2018 and I think of him often. We need to endure through this trial and we will, with those bonds that have always supported us though sometimes we might take for granted. Bonds of family, love, friendship, community and faith (however you define it) are yet strong in our nation and in ourselves. We will temper and strengthen these values with ingenuity, creativity and resilience because we are Americans and we will wear masks not only for our own protection but as a sign of respect for those we interact with in public. Please take the time to donate to your local food banks, animal shelters or care for an elderly neighbor or a family in need. Large and small acts of kindness renew those essential bonds we all rely upon to live full and satisfying lives. Try saying please and thank you. Have a little patience with each other. None of us have ever experienced this before.
It has been a difficult year but I am heartened to see many new faces both in the shop and on the water. People needed an outlet and the outdoors was one of the few available to people. Supply chains are still a bit dicey but I can say that it appears to be improving at least a bit. I expect shipments of Redington waders, reels and jackets, flies, sunglasses, fly tying tools and materials, Korker Boots, Air Lock indicators, Douglas fly rods and even a few rod/reel combos that have been difficult to source. We have a very good inventory on many items and especially on Fishpond products including the Nomad fishing nets along with 10' Aetos 3 and 4 weight nymph rods from Fenwick as well as the popular Cortland 10' 6" Nymph rods in sizes 2-4. In due course we will have new shipments of Winston, Bauer (including the new RVR reel), Scott, T&T, Ross and Galvan reels, Renzetti, St Croix, Chota waders and boots and more Hardy & Grey's gear. If there is something you are interested in let us know and we will reserve it for you. We have gift certificates for merchandise as well as for guide trips and our spring fly fishing school available.
Now for the fun stuff....
On Wednesday, December 16th Shannon's partnered with four local Trout Unlimited chapters, Hacklebarney, Central Jersey, Fred Burroughs and Ridge and Valley to stock 350 Rainbow Trout between 12-20 inches at the Point Mountain TCA. These additional trout should help to improve what has other wise been a slow fishery due to a lack luster fall stocking in part created by limitations of how fish were stocked in the fall due to COVID restrictions. Normally an off road vehicle is used to spread the fish out but this was not possible this fall. Please support these local chapters by joining TU and by visiting their respective websites.
On Friday December 18th, (my father's birthday) we brought the Bubba Contest back to the South Branch for 2020. The contest is named for two very large trout each adorned with numbered jaw tags. Land and remove the jaw tag with hemostats then bring video or photo proof of a successful release to the shop and win a new Grey's FR80 Streamflex rod and a Hardy Ultralite Disc reel. We stocked over 500 fish ranging in size from 11-21 inches including Rainbow, Brown, Tiger and Golden Trout. We hope that the majority of you will practice catch and release.
For fly selection, remember that the water is cold and most prey items for trout this time of year are small. We have an excellent supply of Tungsten Jig Frenchies and Hare's Ear nymphs right now. Smaller #16-18 Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tails have also been popular. I would trail a RS2, WD40 egg pattern or scud behind it. Keep those flies small; #18-22 have been the most effective. The Gorge and the Pequest were both fishing well and should continue throughout the winter months. Fish slow and deep and that goes for streamers too. Midges are also popular and we have a nice variety of colors, styles and sizes.
I will post another report this week and include Tim's tying videos but for now here are the two stocking videos for you to enjoy. Happy Holidays! The first video is from Point Mountain and the second is from Bubba 2020.