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Memory Vault: One Long Day

1 Jan

The 2nd ridiculously rewarding thing we did on our trip out West took place on the night before our last day of fishing in Idaho.  Thank god (or your deity of choice) we all agreed to head back and hit up the hotel again for a good nights sleep, showers and a good meal.  I really just wanted to snuggle with Chris again.  This was probably one of the best decisions, unknowingly, since that next day turned into a LONG ONE!!  Up at dawn, no need to eat because of the massive portions from the meal we had the night before.  The HO was packed and ready to go so we headed for coffee, gas and then the quick hump down to the stream.  We fished pretty much all day, getting off the stream with little light left in the day.  Dropped off the boat at premier and took a quick tour of the Premier Oars and Blades shop with ? Guy who’s name I forget; he had a hat completely covered in used streamer flies and he let me pet him like a dog the whole time.  We headed for a quick bite to eat at a diner/gas station (Rockies) that had one of the best burgers that I have ever eaten in my life—bar NONE!

It was Ryan’s turn to drive in the daily rotation of things, Chris had backseat which would have been the place to be, and I had Co-Pilot.  Our destination was Cody which would take us in through the South gate and out the East gate of Yellowstone park at night………this should be fun.  The nice lady at the gate entrance who’s birthday had to end in B.C. told us to go the speed limit because the park police are always out (our white Tahoe looked just like-em) and the wildlife is always crossing the road.  She said, “Someone hit a bison a few weeks back and the bison won.”  About 3 minutes after leaving the gate a fox ran across the road.  Now I’ve seen plenty of fox’s in my life but come on this thing looked like at least 30 pounder.  It’s probably about 1030  to 11pm when we started into yellowstone and Cody was a solid 1.5-2 hrs away and we had to still hit up wally-world for a license and set-up camp.  Suddenly Ryan hollered out BISON BISON!!!  Chris and I both pooped in our pants a little and looked in Ryan’s POV and nothing.  He flipped a U-turn and headed back and the SOB was standing right in the middle of the road.  As black as NIGHT with a dull reflection off it’s eyes that really didn’t help reflect any light at all.  WOW those F-in things are BIG.  We could have hit that thing going the speed limit 35 or a little more and it would have done nothing but put the engine in our laps and just pissed off the bison.  He slowly walked across the 2-lane and disappeared into the darkness, like a big drunk dude staggering home from the  bar alone.  We made our way to wally-world, then backtracked about 30 minutes to camp.  Set-up shop and went to bed at about 3-330 am only to wake up when the sun hit out tents.  From this moment on in Wyoming it was a Trout Catching Marathon!!!!

This might be my favorite warning sign of all-time.

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The Steelhead are Coming……The Steelhead are Coming

15 Nov

I’ll be turning on 1 front porch light if I travel by land or 2 lights if I go by sea, which by sea I mean air since it’s not 1776. Based on pervious visits to the great Lake-Tribs in PA, when it rains they run.  And if you time it right you’ll find yourself standing on the stream with good flows, good fish numbers and very little people.  I’ll be the guy dressed in blaze orange carrying a switch rod in each hand trying to cast both at the same time.  A good tip if you want to keep people away.

ONE of the Tools I use when deciding where and when to fish the Tribby-Tribs.

Purification

20 Mar
How can something so dirty, smelly, foul, rancid, putrid, ripe, so downright awful make you feel so much better?  1 word TROUT….ok 2 words WILD TROUT…….maybe 3  BIG FEROCIOUS WILD TROUT!!!!! (ok that was 4 words).  Another successful fishing trip is in the books.  Wasn’t a huge numbered 2 days as compared to previous trips, although I won’t complain about a 50 + fish 2-day trip.  This was one of those trips where on occasion I found myself saying this is F-ing awesome. 

Day one found me on the stream around noon-ish looking at great flows, higher than the norm but a pleasant sight to see since this stream has epic nymphing/streaming potential.  After a closer inspection it did have a little greyish hue to it, which is not uncommon for this stream after a good rain.  The CFS had been on the downslope for 5 days now so why it was still cloudy is beyond me and it was not something I had planned on dealing with.  Usually that color means this stream is shut down.  Now one assumes the color is because the all of the ground in Wv feels like a saturated sponge causing a lot of runoff still coming into the stream.  The day started off a little slow, I think because of my desire to nymph.  Once I tossed aside the nymph rod hit my stride on slinging streamers it was GAME ON!!!!!  Every fish I caught day one had a big fat full belly.  I had one brown came out of the water after a fly that was so fat he just belly-flopped on the surface instead of that smooth swing and a miss roll back into the water (if I caught around 50 in 2 days I bet I had twice as many swings and misses).

As you can see from the rocks on the wall this isn't the first spewage to be dumped into the stream. Maybe it's their version of hatchery feedings.

I really have no idea what happened to this picture.

Another WMD victim.

The next stage of my trip I found myself contemplating where to sleep.  My choices were to either make the 40 minute hop over the mountain and stay in a nice hotel with breakfast.  Stay 10 minutes down the road in a shit hole that I have personally vomited in and know of at least one other that has done the same.  Or, since I brought my sleeping bag, camp out in the back of my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  I chose the latter.  Why?  Well….I’m cheap and it’s not that I’m strapped for cash it’s just the principle of the fact that I know I can sleep perfectly fine in the car.  It’s cool outside, I’m dog tired and probably could have slept under a bridge (which I don’t recommend).  My wife was in Canada and with her upcoming trip to Italy we had planned practicing how or if Skype would work so I needed to stay close to a WiFi source (thanks Wal-Mart for making your password so easy to figure out).  So despite my parents and wifes approval I spent the night sprawled out in the back of the Prius with my sleeping bag and blow-up pad in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Slept like a baby after getting off the boob that had just been burped.     

Is that a Tarpon Fly in your mouth? I think so.

After getting micky-D’s breakfast I hit up a stretch of water that I have nicknamed Raul’s Miracle Mile (much more than a mile).  Last November Ryan managed something like 200 fish in 2 days of fishing this section with quite a few being over 16 inches and a few pushing the 22-24 inch limit.  So Ryan when that train full of bad karma finally smashes into you we will be sure to have this section of stream dedicated to your glory’s.  Thankfully the water had cleared about 50% and dropped about 6 inches so it was NYMPHING TIME!!!  After 3 days on the South Holston and Watauga rivers then my first day on this trip throwing streamers was getting old.  Plus my arm and wrist were starting to feel the effects.  Within 15 minutes I managed to pick up several fish.  When the bite cooled off I switched over to the meat rod and swung a WMD through a few zones .  I picked up a nice kyped up male that was sitting about 10 feet downstream directly to my left (rookie mistake not letting my flies completely swing out).  The next 7 hours basically played out like this.  Nymphing for a while until the bite stopped, switch rods and bounce a streamer, then move upstream and repeat.  The last hole of the day turned out to be the best.  After switching to the streamer rod, which I think at this point had a white/red muddy buddy on it, I had a massive rainbow come from the bottom and completely circle my fly.  One of those hold your beath mind blanking WFT misses.   He, which turned out to be a she, did this about 3 more times, each time a little less aggressive.  So I switched flys….olive muddy buddy….WMD….Black Muddy Buddy…..Orange/Yellow Tarpon fly, Yellow Muddy buddy, some angel hair pike fly.  Just before I decided to pack in up for the day I ended up tying on a 3-year-old fly that I got from where I have no idea.  I would describe it and show you all a picture but I think i’ll keep it to myself for a while.  Basically it was a black streamer with a REALLY heavy body.  1 cast and a slow strip is all it took and WHAM (an old school batman WHam SHazZam).  Great acrobatic fight with a short bulldog session and in the net she went.  Now I’m alone and it’s a bitch to photograph fish by yourself, especially a big fish.  The mark I made on the net later taped out at 24-26 inches but without a good picture I guess I have to go with a lower number like 22 since I have no evidence.  Regardless of its size a great fish.

Why would you walk down this road? A. To buy something illegal. B. To brush up on your arson skills. C. To get to the car quicker in order to fish longer. D. All the above.

 

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Triple D’s and More on the Davidson

27 Jun

Raul and I (BayE) hooked up last Wednesday so I could get my Davidson River cherry popped.  We met up at Dave’s shop in order to perform an Intervention with Dave.  We begged and pleaded to him to attend a Fly Casting rehab center for guides.  Our efforts fell short to say the least as we were run off the property by Dave in a fit of rage holding a hula hoop in one hand and a coffee cup in the other, cigarette dangling out of his mouth and his pants starting to fall down.  He was spouting out vulgar profanities as we raced off the property in the Subaru.  Our belittling didn’t stop there as was made several attempts by phone to once again convince him of his need for rehab.  Remember Dave it’s only because we love you. 

During the entire drive to the Big-D I was reminded of the shit show I was about to witness.  Small stream fishing with fish just barely outnumbering the fishermen 10-1  (probably 1500-2000 fish in the section we fished i would assume?)  Nothing can be worse for a fly fisherman to have to endure as compared to a day of combat fishing, especially on a small stream with tight overhang.  Throw in a little low gin clear water full of some”naturalized” and wild trout, and you have a nearly impossible trout to fish to.

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We arrived to a parking lot FULL of cars, school is out, the parking lot is at the hatchery, picnic are, playground, stream access, hiking trail, and bike trail access points….did I mention yet it’s 128.6 degrees outside?  Well it was.  We rigged up the rods with some good old PIA 7x and hit the stream.  To our surprise 90% of the cars we not fishermen, but campers/hikers/bikers.  We found a couple great holes and the fishing commenced.  My cherry popped quickly with 2 nice browns giving up after great fights to get their picture taken.  We fished around for a few hours catching some dinks here and there until the call of the wild pulled us up near the hatchery’s water outlet.  A place were the men are separated from the boys, were the vultures circled for an easy meal, were heros are made and legends are written into the history books.  WOW what a big giant hole, gin clear of course, full of monster trout with NO ONE around!!!  Except Roll-Cast Linda (another story another day.)

After casting to what seemed like mouthless trout, minus a couple of brook trout brought to hand, the skies turned grey and started to rumble.  The rumble turned into loud cracks from bolting lighting somewhere in the close distance, then it started to rain.  Then rain some more.  And more.  And More.  And more.  Then it rained a little harded.  Then a little harder.  Then the wind picked up and so did the lightning, still it rained even harded, but in a different direction.  Did we leave?  HELL NO. 

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What happens to a stream after a torrential downpour of rain?  It gets muddy.  But what happens to the stream during the rain?  You get a window of slowly rising water along with a gradual change in water color.  All of this equating to hungry fish getting fed and we were going to be serving up some shit that would get them hooked!!!  Well at least that is what I thought.  I had my rig ready and so did Ryan and of course the Asshole that Ryan is would take on the first customer, which would leave me playing net man leaving my pole behind. 

I can go on and on at this point about the next 40 minutes of fishing but let me try to sum it up the best I can.  We are soaking wet, my double fly/indicator rig is so tangled it looks like something a cat coughed up. Ryan is fully rigged and rippin lips faster that I can net his fish, take his pictures, regroup myself and attempt to fix my rig.  He hooked at least 6-8 fish over 20 inches and a few reaching the 25 inch mark, that all fought like TANKS!!  I want to call him an asshole but I won’t, even though I would have given him my rod if I were on my 4th 20 inch fish while my “Friend” is struggling to restring his rod to participate in the fish frenzy.  With that said I was happy just to be the net man, glad to see those big fish brought to hand. 

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*BayE*

North Branch Part Deux

6 May

Every year we head North to the Maryland , West Virginia line to fish the North Branch Potomac tail water. Last year was a banner trip, lots of fish, and numerous fish landed over 20 inches. This year was another story,well at least the first part of the trip.

Last years pics !

Number 2 within 20 mins !

After working all day on thursday, I loaded the truck, and hit the road. One Redbull and a 5 Hour Energy shot and I was hopping. It was the longest 7 hours of my life, my body was tired, but my eyes were wide open from all the energy supplements.  I wheeled into the Savage River State Forest and set up camp around 6 in the morning. Murph, Mitch and Jeff (aka Shawn) wheeled in shortly after I did.

I had a quick pepperoni roll breakfast along with a redbull and I was set. We launched the boats , run shuttle, etc and were fishing by 9:30.

Evidently WV had just stocked the put and take section above the Catch and Release section, cause the hoards had converged on that section of river. It was a sight!

What a Pussy! Nice day on the river and he is sick!

On to the fishing, or lack of good fishing. It was a killer day weather wise, 80 plus degrees, sunny, bluebird skies, but the fish were hunkered down. I managed a few fish, but the one that stuck out in my mind was the Cutthroat I landed after lunch.

Murphy seemed to have the hot fly for the day, because he was catching three fish to my one. Mitch was sick and slept through most of the float. Jeff kept changing flies until Murphy graciously gave him one of the special flies he used to rake fish. I reverted to the streamer game and had many follows and missed strikes, but none seemed to want to commit.  So needless to say, Friday wasn’t a banner day. But we were on the water and that is what counts.

Saturday we fished the section Below Westernport where the dirty water discharge from the paper plant stains the river. Our amigo Otto had joined us for the remainder of the weekend. Jeff left earlier that Morning and Murphy left for Florida the night before (might I add Murphy is a giant D-bag for bailing on the rest of the weekend).  According to some this section of river holds the biggest fish. But man its an ugly float for the most part. A difference of daylight and dark when you compare it to the upper section we floated Friday. Anyways, the fishing was steady, and a lot better than Friday. Most fish were cookie cutters, a few 14 inchers, and one lost 16+, and a few bass in the mix. We found the flashier the fly the better.

We floated for about 8 hours, wading and exploring some side channels along the way. After the float Mitch decided to call it a day early and head home. Otto and I returned to camp for some dinner and beer. Shortly after we get back Otto found some fresh Morrell’s that had taken up residence under a tree near our tents. We threw together some fired potatoes and deer back strap for dinner, drank some beer and watch the fire. Shortly after polishing off some beer a MD DNR officer showed up. He was checking   see if we had paid the camping fees and to inform us that Maryland had just passed a law starting in 2010 regarding the possession of Alcohol on State lands. Well this was new to us, and since we were from out-of-town and the law just went into effect. he let us off with a warning. I will say he was a rely nice guy, and he filled us in on some really good fishing spots.

Sunday we awoke to cloudy skies and fog. It had rained during the night. We packed up camp ate some pop tarts and headed back to float the Barnum section, and get some redemption on the fish that had eluded us on Friday”s float. After dropping a truck at the takeout, we arrived at the put in just as the rain started back. There was a dense fog blanketing the river as well. We launched and worked our way down to the C and R section. It seemed like a great fishing day. Cool temps, a light rain, and a little fog cover. As soon as we anchored I nailed two fish and lost two more. This continued for the next several holes. The fish were definitely eager to eat. At one point I watched a nice bow come up and eat on the surface and return to the depths. One cast later he ate my nymph and gave up a hell of a fight.  Otto was nailing an equal amount of fish as well. he was drifting a crawdad pattern along rock ledges and was cleaning house. My only question at this point was ” Where the hell were these fish on Friday”, it seemed like a totally different river.

Poor critter didn't make it across!

As it neared lunch time we pulled the boat off at a killer wading spot to fish and eat. We decided to wade out and fish for a few. After a few casts I hear Otto holler big fish, so I made a mad dash for the boat to retrieve the net and stumble down to him. Sure enough it was a big fish, and she had no plans of giving up. After slipping and sliding to get down river and sneak up on this slab I was able to net her. We snapped a few pics and Otto released her unharmed.

On my way to fish a side channel, and I am confronted by this pissed off goose!

The rest of the day we floated drank some beer, and slapped streamers.  Knowing I had a 7 hour drive back, we decided to call it a day at 4:30.

Ryan

Endangered Trout and Golf Balls

27 Apr

I spent last weekend playing a little golf and chasing stockies.  Just the thought of talking about stock trout frustrates me to no end. But thats a whole other story. Enjoy the pics! new031.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

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Feeding TIME!!!!

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Tuesday Rationalization: Size MatterZ

6 Apr

Every Tuesday we will try to rationalize on life and fly fishing.  

04/06/2010: Size MatterZ………yes it does!!!