04-21-2010, 08:28 AM
Spring Bi-Annual Trout trip, 16-18APR10
A few years ago, a good friend of mine invited me to trout fishing trip that he and a group of people take every spring and fall. This is my 4th year attending and the 2nd fly fishing it.
For a little back ground, the body of water is the North Fork of the South Branch of the Shenandoah. The area we stay/fish is privately held and the owner stocks breeders (larger trout, not the fingerlings) for catch and release. No natural bait or Powerbait. I usually take two (2) rod setups with me: one for dries/wets and one for streams exclusively.
On Friday afternoon, the weather was OK. There was front moving through, so it was windy and cool. The wind came in gusts, some up to 35mph. I didn't even bother with the dries yet based on the fact that I saw almost no rises. The Baetis hatch should have been on, but I only saw one or two the entire weekend. I started out with streamers, casting across and swinging it down. I worked the middle section of the river from the end of some riffles through a long run (with a deeper trough near the far bank) to the next set of riffles. There were about a dozen people on the water when I got there, so I found a starting spot, watched the water and waded in. (Most of the people didn't "work" the water, most stayed in one spot for a good while then moved down or up river a good 50 or 60 yards.)
On the third cast of a #8 Mickey Finn, I landed a 22" rainbow. This was not the biggest fish I ever caught here, but the largest on a fly rod. I could barely get my hands around his body to lift him out of the net. He was a horse. I fished Friday evening for approximately 3 1/2 hours and that was the only fish I managed to land (missed a few, though).
Saturday morning was not much better weather-wise. Before the sun came over the ridge behind me, I had landed another 18" rainbow on another streamer. That proved to be the extent of my catch for the morning beyond a 6" fallsfish.
Saturday afternoon, I started with streamers again. I landed a 16" rainbow on a Bunny Leech. The wind was dying down and I noticed some sporatic rises. I went back to the cabin and switch to dries. I worked my way down into the very tail of a run before the riffles. The wind was coming upstream, so I worked a Royal Coachman slightly down stream, then mended like crazy. I landed a 18" rainbow. Just as I released him, I noticed a semi-regular rise right across the river from me near a whirlpool seam. I waited a few minutes to see him rise again to make sure of his location. Once I did, I casted a Red Humpy about 4 feet above it, mended the line and let it dead drift right over him. BAM, I missed him. Two casts later, I missed him again. Third cast, I nailed an 18" brown. I dump-casted straight down river and landed another 16" rainbow right next to some rocks about 40 ft. in front of me. Along the way, I pulled in two more fallsfish.
Sunday morning was calmer and much cooler. Thank god I bought my light-weight gloves. I passed up the upper section completely and worked down to the same location I was in Saturday evening. I landed a 18" rainbow from the inside seam of deep lie. It was almost time to leave and a funny thing happed:
I was casting a #12 BWO down and across, getting it to move through some small seam next to a rock outcropping. When the fly hit a larger riffle, it would drip under water. I dried it often, false casted and even put floatant on it, but the drag I was getting at 45ft would still drag it under. Thankfully it was after it passed over the the seam I was fishing. Anyways, the very last cast I made, it hit the end of the seam and went under. I stripped some line...and nothing. I pulled back on the rod and...I was stuck on a rock or tree or something. I yanked a few more times. The third yank got me an answer. A HUGE trout jumped completely out of the water and spit the fly. I just stood there like a complete idiot. I thought I was stuck on a submerged rock!!!! There was not telltale sign of line movement, nothing registered on the rod, nothing. I've never had that happen before.
Unfortunately, I only took a few pics. I'll post them when I transfer them to my home PC.
Sorry this was wordy....just wanted to convey how much fun it was to finally feel like I was fly fishing the right way...or at least how I feel it was right.
And, ARD, I put ALL of those fish on the reel. Thank you.
It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.
What manner of jackassery will I be subjected to today?