Saturday, April 23, 2011
When I got back into trout fishing a couple of years ago, after a long hiatus, I had hopes of revisiting that place where I had enjoyed so many successful days on the water. Sadly though, due to the winds of change, it wasn't a possibility any longer. There are still connections to those days gone by though which brings me to my outing recently.
As much as I've gotten into the addicting world of fly fishing, I can't ever see myself giving up on spinner fishing completely. As I set out for the morning, spinners were my main plan of attack for the day. The rod I'd be using, the only one I've used for nearly twenty one years now, was my connection to that past.
Even with it's faded wraps and somewhat tattered appearance, this old Shimano Super Ultra Light can still get the job done. Reels have come and gone through the years but the rod has remained a constant. It has accounted for the majority of the trout in my life, including many twenty plus inch trout. The most memorable being a twenty four inch brown caught in a mountain stream some fourteen years ago.
I actually bought a replacement for this rod recently but somehow I just don't have the heart to retire it yet. As I tied on one of my homemade spinners, I was hoping it would give me one more good day, for old times sake. When I saw that first flash of a strike and felt the bend in the old rod, it was indeed like going back in time.
After starting out with a bang by landing a few brookies I happened upon a little brown who took a couple of swipes at my spinner then gave up on it. Since I did have the fly rod with me, mostly in case I came upon any rising trout (which it too fun to pass up btw), I gave him a look at my giant nymph streamer which got him on the very first try.
A bit disappointed in myself for taking the easy way out (how's that for controversy), I decided to stick with the spinning rod for the rest of the morning. Spring is truly here it seems and this was the first day I noticed that 'springtime' smell in the air with whiffs of lush new growth now and again.
A few more brookies came to hand for my efforts and it was a nice few hours on the water. The old Shimano had provided yet another good day and more memories to file away. Every now and then it's good to get back to the things that were once your passion. Taking a break from attempts to 'progress' as a fisherman has it's benefits and can reinvigorate your spirit as well. You just might find yourself falling in love all over again. Life is good!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The wind was pretty fierce at times and I had to stop and move a downed tree off the road as I was coming back out from one stream. I was just glad it wasn't larger than it was. I'd been using the spinning rod all day, mainly because it seems like it's been so long since I'd fished with it. On the last stream though I broke out the 3wt and started swinging streamers in the slightly stained water.
With no luck once again, I drove to a different section of the same stream and just so happened to find a nice sized fish in one of the pools. I had a conehead streamer of my own creation on and when I went to make my first roll cast the wind picked up and did something I would have never believed if I hadn't seen it. In 'mid-roll' the wind literally picked my streamer up (conehead mind you) straight into the air and my line and fly just hovered there for what seemed like five seconds or so. I'm pretty sure the phrase "you've got to be kidding me" came out of my mouth.
The fish gave it a weak look once but didn't seem too interested. I switched up to my giant nymph/streamer type fly, also of my own creation, and that really got his attention. After a very brief hookup I thought I'd blew it. I decided to just stand back and let the fish settle back down a bit and try again in a few minutes.
On the next cast about ten minutes or so later I got a solid hook set and found myself with a bigger fish on that I thought it was. Big fish on the 3wt can be fun as long as they don't go too awful crazy and I managed to get this nice brown in that measured in at twenty plus inches. Closer to twenty one but who's counting.
After a few quick shots I sent it back on its way. One fish for the day but it was worth it. I couldn't be happier. It had a messed up gill on one side but it didn't seem to bother it in the least. I've caught a few trout like this over the last couple of years.
Notice that I'm not wearing waders. I didn't figure on doing much wading so I had my muck boots on and ended up paying the price. The water was cold and my boots were filled to the brim.
With cold, soaking wet feet I decided to end the day. It was starting to get late anyway. On a whim I decided to take the long way home and it turned out to be a great idea. The skies began to clear up making for a beautiful landscape and I saw a fair amount of wildlife in the way of deer and turkeys.
I also happened upon this little guy who was busy eating the tender new grass shoots, as best I could tell anyway.
I managed to get a little video footage of him as well.
It ended up being a very relaxing and scenic drive home that was capped off in a perfect way by the full moon coming up over the hills.
A day that some might not consider very successful but one that I'll remember for quite some time. Life is good!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Today was the trout season opener for most of PA and the weather was less than ideal. The forecast leading up to today called for an inch or more of rain and high winds. It turned out the rain wasn't as bad as predicted, or so it seemed to me, but the winds were definitely something to be reckoned with. At one point during the morning I found myself narrowly escaping a sizable limb that came down.
Believe it or not I didn't land a single fish today, mostly due to a lack of effort on my part. Even with the weather the crowds were out in full force. The reason I go out on the streams in the first place is to get away from the rat race for awhile. The thought of hitting some small brookie streams crossed my mind but I just couldn't get into it today for whatever reason. It seems I've been in a bit of a funk for the last couple weeks and I'm not sure why. The makings of a mid-life crisis perhaps. Ok that actually made me laugh a little.
Just to update a few things on the 'blog front' I simplified my header. As much as I liked it at first, it was a little too 'look at me' for my taste. I've always envied the bloggers who found that one perfect header pic and stuck with it. I'm not sure this one falls into that category but it seems to fit.
Lately I've been toying with the idea of a spinoff blog (what the heck am I thinking?!!?!!) that would just be about my trout fishing adventures and thoughts. It seems kind of ironic that a blog titled Fall Road Archer probably has more fishing content than actual hunting content. Kind of like the pizza shop that's known for it's steak hoagies I guess. Sometimes trying to cram 'everything outdoors' into one blog makes you feel like you're in the middle of no man's land as far as outdoor blogging goes. Probably not going to happen but it's crossed my mind more than a few times.
As of now I'm just sitting here enjoying an 'end of the day brew' and loosely formulating a plan for tomorrow. As much as I despise the crowds, opening day means I'm not limited to where I can fish anymore. Although I didn't take advantage of that today for whatever reasons, tomorrow is another day...
Any post feels naked without a pic so here's a randomly selected, non-relevant shot of geese floating down the creek while sitting in the Burger King parking lot.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Intrigued by this, I decided to check things out before I geared up. The view into the low, clear, water revealed no fish. I walked a good stretch of stream with the same results. It was both disappointing and alarming. A walk along this same stretch a year ago would have resulted in seeing an almost uncountable number of fish. I ended up not even getting the rod out before I moved on for greener pastures.
Stream number two held at least a few fish, this I was sure of. I arrived to find the flow a tad low but not bad at all. Fish in these special regulations waters can get a bit picky as they're literally bombarded with every fly and lure known to man. Often it pays to think outside the box and with that I went to my "shock and awe" patterns as I've come to call them.
A view above and below the water...
It didn't take long to start hooking up with some brookies and they seemed to find my hot pink beadhead/bubble gum dubbing pheasant tail variant irresistible. The first one had a somewhat unique pattern on it's back and at first glance I thought it was a tiger trout. I can't say I ever recall catching a brookie with these kind of markings. I thought it was a cool looking trout anyway.
After the first few fish it became an experiment to see what I could entice them to hit. The oddball patterns were indeed the top producers of the day and quite a few brookies came to hand.
One of my favorite fish of the day turned out to be this brown who absolutely slammed my Pickett Pinn-ish streamer/giant nymph pattern. It's always rewarding when you catch fish on one of your own creations.
It ended up being a very enjoyable afternoon that did wonders in relieving the problems of the past week. I couldn't help but smile when I hooked up with a brown during the middle of a passing snow squall and decided that it would be my last fish of the day. Before leaving I just took a moment and listened to the water flow and watched the snow flakes illuminate against the hemlocks and rhododendrons. Silently wondering why every day couldn't be like this.
Sunday I planned on hitting yet another stream but decided to head back to where I left off the day before. If for nothing else than to get the day started on a positive note. A few more fish came to hand and I managed a couple of decent underwater shots. As tempting as it was to stay, I cut it short and headed off to my original destination.
I like the way you can see the rays of sunlight through the water on this one.
Upon arrival I once again found low flows and clear water. Sadly it ended up being a repeat of the first stream I visited during the weekend. I don't profess to be anything close to the worlds greatest fly fisherman but there were just no fish to be found. Stepping out of character a bit, I have to say that I have no problem with anyone who wants to keep a fish legally. But it's hard to fathom that people could be so hard up for the taste of trout as to wipe out these special regulations areas. It's either that or other factors at play. I'm not looking to start a debate, just a bit of a vent I guess.
Despite a couple of disappointments it ended up being an enjoyable weekend and good for the soul before plunging into another week. When the stress levels go up this week, and they will, I'll just think of an angry brown putting a nice bend in the 3wt during a mini-blizzard. It will help me to keep in mind that......life is good!
In the meantime I hope you enjoy...