Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Curse of Rev. Tickle

Since I had spent the last weekend in the mountains, it had been a while since I have last gotten on the water.  With a favorable evening forecast and no class, Russ and I decided to get out on the water.  We saw a lot of activity, and even found a few friends on the water prior to us getting out with fair success. The plan was for a quick trip, really to just recon the conditions for trips in the next few weeks.  The first few hours were fairly slow until Russ and I were in the same spot and we had a fish bust right between us.  I grabbed my topwater rod and that is when it happened.  The drag on the reel was fairly loose to protect it when off the water, so my bait ended up grabbing the flag on my VisiPole.  I was in a hurry, and wanted to get a bait in the water, and this is when it happened.  That all to familiar pinch of the hook point digging into the skin.  I looked down at my hand and saw that the barb was buried  so there was only one real option for me.  I push and push until I see the hook point poking back through my skin.  This wasn't a real problem until I tried to push the barb back out.  After what felt like way to long, I got it through and then proceeded to pinch the barb and back it out.  The hook didn't want to back out, so it was off to the cars to cut the hook and back the rest of the shank out.  In all, I was lucky that it did not hit a nerve.

A good looking bait!
A few lessons learned:

  1. I should really pinch my barbs (even though I probably wont)
  2. I should get rid of the trebles and switch to J's or Circles (a bit more likely)
  3. Have a pair of cutters and a first aid kit on the water
  4. Dont post the pic on Facebook unless you are willing to monitor the comments
Once Rev. Tickle left, I ended up catching a few decent fish.  Coincidence, I think not!

If you fish with the Reverend, just be prepared for a lot of laughs, and possibly some pain.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dirtbag Weekend

Fly fishing is one of my favorite ways to fish, and really, the only way I fish for trout.  With the Fly fishing festival coming up, and my desire to spend some time up in the mountains, Russ and I decided to have a dirtbag fishing weekend.

It all started Friday night when a strong cold front came through, bringing with it some heavy storms and a 20 degree temperature drop.  This lead us to leave after the front passed on Saturday morning, when we wouldn't be fighting the rain.  Now our goal was to chase some wild brookies, but knowing conditions might be difficult, we made a detour in Richmond and met up with Alex and Seth to chase some warmwater species on the fly.  The four of us caught countless Bass, Bream, Redear Sunfish, and a few Crappie.  The fish were not super amped, but we still were able to get our fix.  While everyone else were catching fish on poppers and buggers, I decided to step up my game and tie a dropper under a small caddis.  This proved to be a game changer, as I was picking up fish on every cast.  I had enough fun and decided to share the wealth.  All three of my buddies caught a number of fish on the 2wt, and Im sure I heard Alex and Seth both say that they needed to get a 2wt for panfish fishing.  With lots of laughs and even more fish, we were ready for the second leg of our trip.

One of Russell's Bream on a Popper

As we departed, we got some Tog and Trippletail from Seth for our camp, and picked up a few other items and our trout stamps at Walmart.  One thing was painfully, and hilariously noticeable.  It dosent matter how nice the area surrounding a Walmart is, you will always find your people of Walmart patronizing the fine establishment.

After our interesting Walmart stop, we drove for a few hours and made it to our first spot, the Upper Rose River.  The only memorable parts of this spot was 1) the two guys on the parking lot carrying around rocks and vomiting by their car (kids, stay off acid), and 2) the fact that I left my wading boots at home (like a dumbass) and managed to slam my knee on a rock within my first 10 steps on the river. Besides that, a few fallfish were caught and we moved on.

The next spot was the Upper Rapidan.  This was the water I was really looking for.  We had a fun drive up the forest service road, and hit a few spots.  At our first spot, we had a small mayfly hatch, so I was focused on chucking dries.  With no love on some amazing looking water, we moved up to some really narrow, technical stretches where my Echo 2wt shined.  It was tough missing rises in this narrow, overgrown area so I switched to a small (sz 20) BHPT nymph.  Once I switched to the nymph, we only had about 20 minutes of fishing until we had to call it.  In that time I had multiple hookups with a few fish to hand.  Small, brightly colored wild brookies made the day amazing.

Russ and I met up to make our way back to camp to drink some rum and eat some food!
The Campsite
Russ insisted on these Plates

Tog + Trippletail + Potatoes + Asparagus = Best Camp Dinner Ever!

The Best Way to End the Day

Last view of the Camp
Now everything with the camp went well until the morning.  The temps dropped overnight and it was not warm by any means.  After breakfast, Russ asked for TP.  Unfortunately neither of us packed any so off he went into the woods as I wished him good luck.  Russ made it back alive but was missing an article of clothing.

We broke camp, got off the mountain, and made it over to the VA Fly fishing Festival where we met up and exchanged some stories with Tommy V and Lars.  We made our walkthrough, picked up some flies and materials, chatted with Cory and Kelly at the WRO booth, and left to hit the South River.  Now unfortunately the rain that was dropped on Friday night made the river tough to fish.  It was a bit murky, but very fast and high.  Tommy V, Lars, Russ, and myself hit a section of the river where I have had good luck in the past.  Lars was able to avoid the skunk when he found a small school of creek chubs.  Despite Lars' success, it was fishing real tough and we all decided to leave, but not after about an hour of laughing back at the cars.

Lars broke the skunk!

Tommy V, your casting the wrong way!

Looking for any sign of life.
On the way back, we decided to stop one more time to see what we could do with the Bass and Bream.  Russ and I fished for about an hour before we called it, ending the trip the same way it began.  The fly only weekend was a blast, and yet another experience that I wouldn't have had without the love for fishing I share with a number of other people.  Cant wait to get back up in the hills and get on 'em, but as the water warms up, my time is now going to be focused on the salt, so this may be my last trip chasing the low sodium fish until the fall.

I would also like to wish my friends Tom and Cory a Happy Birthday.  Fly fishing to celebrate your Birthdays cant be beat!