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We Don't Get This Way Overnight;

Posted 08-18-2011 at 12:42 PM by Hardyreels

You will have to read part two also to get the whole story. The site allows only so many words per page here and most of my stories don't make the cut

This story is taken from an old thread here on the forum. Threads have a tendency to get buried over the years and sometimes I dig one out and read it. I was always mesmerized by water, rivers, creeks, even a good hard runoff after a thunder storm provided a miniature river for me to explore. I graduated from throw lines to a spin cast rod and then without a clue as to how to use it I got a fly rod. My first rod was a 6'8" solid glass Ike Walton rated for the modern equivalent of a #7 line. The reel was a South Bend 1122 single action and the line was a level floater made by Gladding. I donít remember the total cost of the rig but I do remember the line was .50 and the whole thing came from Barronís Sporting Goods in Duboistown PA. I also got myself a spool of Gladding 6 pound leader material with the set so I could get busy fishing. At first flies came in ĎGrab Bagsí .25 at Jims Sporting goods and eventually I was tying my own monstrosities.
That takes us back into the sixties. It took until the mid seventies for me to replace that rig and then only after a day which I will never forget.

The Old Man of The Morning

It was a beautiful April morning in North Central Pennsylvania and I was fishing Little Pine Creek just a mile below English Center in Clinton County. The water conditions were perfect and I was out to kill some trout. I never really liked the taste of trout but used to keep them as evidence of my success. Because of this urge to succeed at filling my limit I was always armed with both fly and spin gear. I definitely was not proficient enough with the fly rod to risk being without my spinning gear also.

I had been traipsing down the creek tossing a clear plastic bobber with a big fat cricket hooked to a #4 Eagle Claw Baitholder about three foot from the bobber. I had came to the head of a nice riffle that flowed into a nice long glide pool when I noticed an old man sitting on a log on the left bank as I faced downstream. Now when I say old I'm talking maybe around seventy to seventy five, to me that was really old, now it just seems like a guy maybe fifteen years older than me.

As I approached his perch I called out the universal greeting of my time, "Have any luck". The man stated that he had caught a few early on an early Light Hendrickson but was waiting for the action to become a bit better. I glanced around and seeing no fish either in a creel or on a stringer at the creek-side I was suspicious of his claims of success. At this point in my life the only fish I would release were those that failed to meet the minimum size limit. But hey, give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he took the fish back to his car. He also mentioned something about spotting some "Common Yellow Throat Warblers' and Belted King Fishers whatever they were, birds, I knew that, but really didn't know one from another. So there we were, an old man with his beat up Stanley Thermos, binoculars, and probably the first Fenwick Fen Glass 8' 6wt. rod ever sold in Pa. and a twenty two year old kid who knew everything and had more energy than he knew what to do with.

I've always been a talker and this encounter was no exception. Fortunately for me the old man seemed willing to have company and thus to enlighten a younger fellow who was overdue for some humility. So it was that the stage was set for the best day I ever had fishing.

After the initial exchange regarding our results that morning he began to ask questions. He ask where I worked and it turned out that he knew some of the old farts that worked at the same Bethlehem Steel Mill as I did. When the conversation turned back to fishing and more specifically fly fishing I announced that I too was a fly fisherman. I soon went hustling back to my car to retrieve my fly pole so I could further impress this old fellow.
I hurried back to the creek side after grabbing my Ike Walton (complete with bent ferrell} from the trunk of my car. It was my first and at the time the only fly rod I had ever held. A real beauty with a big red South Bend reel, a level line that I got for 50 cents and a nice six foot length of Gladding 6lb leader tied to a big fat square knot at the end of the fly line. Back then I had never even seen a rod tube and so my rod was rather battered up. Upon rejoining the old gent I propped my rod against the log and joined him in sitting there and feeling like a real fisherman for some unknown reason. You see, I had never sat on a log along a creek with an old man before, neither my father nor grandfather were fishermen. By the time this day had rolled around my father had been deceased for quite some time (he died when I was 12) I was a young person trying to learn it on my own.

He looked at my rod and reel and said, ďFrom what you tell me you have a good job, tell me son, what the hell are you doing with that?Ē With what, I ask? With that he said as he gestured toward my rig. Embarrassed I ask what was wrong with my rod? The man seemed to take some time as he thought of his response. Finally he spoke and the exchange went sorta like this, ďDo you really like fishing? (Yeah.) You like being out here around the water and amongst the trees and meadows? (Yes.) Well then you need to do yourself a favor, you need to take the time to learn a little bit about whatís out here. You need to learn the names of the different trees and flowers and the birds with which you share this place. Take the time to sit and watch rather than always trying to make something happen. If you do you will see that there is plenty of stuff happening all around you. Get your self a good pair of binoculars and when the fishing is not so good watch those birds. You will learn that when the Swallows are flying high the spinners are up there and when the only thing working is the Kingfisher itís time to sit down. He then went on to recommend that I visit a friend of his who operated a now long gone tackle shop on Rt. 44 along Big Pine Creek. He said that I should tell the owner that he (Bob) had sent me and that I needed to be set up with a good balanced Trout fishing rod and reel. He said that I would never regret getting rid of my present rod and reel. I thanked him for his advice and sat awhile longer feeling a little out of place. Not scolded but a bit shy in the face of constructive criticism. After an acceptable pause I bid him farewell and good luck and got on with my day.

That was morning. The evening found me still trying to catch my first fish of the day. Pennsylvania can be like that. Some days you can do no wrong and on others you canít buy a fish. I pulled my car into the parking spot below a place called The Panther Restaurant along Rt. 287 at English Center Pa. and grabbed my spinning rig and hurried off down the path towards Little Pine Creek. This was a known hot spot to me due to the fact that the state used to stock trout in that place. As I neared the waters edge my hopes plunged. There in the tail of the pool was some old woman! Upstream of her was an equally ancient man probably her husband. They were fly fishing. I hadnít been there more than 20 seconds when the woman hooked a fish. I stared hungrily at the splashing, thrashing fish at the end of her line. Dam, why didnít I get here sooner before these old farts hogged up the whole pool? She played the fish in and then she did the unthinkable, she let it go! What was it, the man called to her, a little Brown she replied. Within half a minute he had a fish on his fly splashing and jumping. I could stand no more.

Sorry but you need to go to Part two to get the rest
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  1. Old Comment
    milt spawn's Avatar
    Classic Ard, anticipating Pt. 2! milt.
    Posted 08-18-2011 at 08:42 PM by milt spawn milt spawn is offline

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