Mountain Laurel

I have been following the bait finesse scene more closely over the last few months. I have never lived somewhere like Connecticut with such a plethora of lakes and so my spin rod only got pulled out of the closet a handful of times in a season.

That quickly changed though the first month in New England when I fished every day for five weeks and all but one or two of those outing were with my spin rod.

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A butterfly sleeping in a cluster of Mountain Laurel blooming over a babbling brook

Another thing I was not accustomed to until moving here was the lower gradient nature of the streams and rivers in eastern Connecticut. This lower gradient geography makes for some great finesse rod angling (I do not need to rehash all this again, if you care to read about my thoughts on fishing low gradient water read this article I wrote). For the past few months I have been using my trusty old Diawa spin rod but then one day I picked it up and the reel had completely seized up. It had been running pretty rough even after a full tear down, cleaning, and re-lube - so, I decided it was time for a new reel.

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I decided to see what all the hype was and purchased a KastKing Zephyr BFS reel. I took it out to practice at a beautiful lake about 25 minutes from my home. I quickly realized how much I had to learn. I spent most of the time untangling birds nests. Slowly but surely though I started to get the hang of it. The next day I jumped into the "deep-end" so to speak and headed out to check out some new water I had been eyeballing on Google Maps.

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I love fishing harder to access water. The less roads a river has near it or crossing it the better. I do not mind hiking several miles just to access low pressure water to fish for wild (or maybe even native) trout.

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When I arrived I almost got back in my truck and left. The water was very thin, which I found very surprising as it had quite a few streams that converged in the headwaters to form this river. Reluctantly I decided to at least check it out for five or ten minutes. Just out of sight of the road I came across a HUGE pool that was in spots chest deep and several hundred feet long!

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After the pool the brook thinned out again and I almost turned around but I could not shake the notion that maybe there was some more great pools higher up. So, I pressed on.

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After a bit of hiking upstream I came across exquisite small pool after exquisite small pool. It took quite a few casts to get my aim right but at each pool I caught or almost caught the most vibrant, spunky, beautiful wild Brook Trout

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I was glad that I had decided to press on both times. This creek was full of surprises. I saw numerous frogs, crawfish, and there were several hawks. Not to mention the epic dragon fly spectacle as I egressed back to my truck.

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Down lower the brook was less constrained by trees, bushes, and foliage. However, as I pressed on upstream the sides of the river got closer and closer. Then around a bend I came upon "walls" of Mountain Laurel growing on both sides of the river and over it!

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It was an absolutely surreal day. I came across a few deer hunter camps too but they looked pretty ragged. I do not think they have been used for a few seasons... At my high point I found a nice flat rock next to the water and had a late lunch of canned dolmas, trail mix, and hot miso soup. I love it here in Connecticut between the skiing in the winter and fishing in the spring, summer, and fall I do not think I will ever leave...