Three B’s on Glass
The temperature read 50 degrees when I pulled along the creek. It was a bit chillier when I stepped outside than what it looked like through the truck window. The shade of the trees and the colder breeze let me know there was still a bit of winter in the air. As I put together the 7’ two piece Wonderod I listened to the riffling of water in the distant creek. I also glanced and heard the lifeless leaves skitter and rustle across the ground with the gusts of wind and sounding like the crinkling of closing a brown bag lunch. I attached the old Classic Martin reel to the rear locking reel seat of the rod and threaded the mustard color Cortland Sylk line through the small eyes on the blank. Having fished this small creek before streamers have been the most effective. With the shallow areas, stony bottom and conflicting current there is less chance of snags with a streamer. Besides that, brook trout love a moving object and a streamer is a lot more active in the water than a drifting nymph. I knot on a fast-snap so I can change streamers quickly and to this I clip on a white Woolly Bugger.
At the waters edge I observe the creek. The water flows with a greenish gray tint in deeper section not more than about 6” below the surface. The sun and clouds play tricks upon the water surface. The water surface turns from a sparkling reflection from the sun rays, as diamond facets under light, to a shaded semi-opaque dull color when the clouds move beneath the sun. I look up towards the sky and tall branched tree limbs stretch uneasy as if inked upon an artists canvas of a precarious sky.
I look back into the riffling water and even through my polarized shades I can’t distinguish any holding fish from the creek bed in the shallows.
I step easy like into the water not wanting to stir up a cloud of silt to be washed down stream with the undercurrent. With effort I try to cast the heavy streamer with the wimpy Fiberglass rod. The line makes an awkward loop, best as I can describe it, and the bugger plops into the water like an acorn. It takes me a few more casts to get used to the slow action of the flexible ‘glass’ rod but I get a much better feel and start placing the weighted bugger about where I want it to fall. I slowly wade down creek making long cast when possible. I keep the rod tip and exposed line in vision at all times watching for any sudden twitch of either.
The rod tip arcs slightly and, with my fingers pinched on the fly line, I forcefully wrist back the rod to set the hook. The fiberglass rod arcs towards the midsection and than eases up and flexes erratically with the playful brookie. I keep a firm grip on the cork while the brook trout scurries about and than bring it to the net.
After catching another in the same manner it’s time to award myself with a cigar.
The dark brown wrapper of the Maduro fuma looks bold. With a break in the wind I light the stogie and after a few puffs a glow forms at the foot. The aroma fills the air around me as the smoke dissipates in thin air.
I continue to cautiously wade and fish my way down creek casting Woolly Buggers. I add or remove shot from my leader depending on the water condition. A surge of water flows against down tree trunks half submerged against the steep bank. I cast the bugger into the wavy current and watch as the current guides my offering into the slower water on the opposite side on the log jam. I slowly strip in the bugger without a strike. My next cast puts the bugger back into the wavy current. This time, as the bugger drifts with the current, I mend my fly line onto the wavy current. The bugger drifts towards the slower water but with my fly line in the wavy current, pulls my bugger towards the log jam. I twitch the rod tip as I stretch the short rod out in front of me. The take is a jolting tug and I rear back the rod and set the hook. The ‘glass’ rod arcs into the midsection and the trout tussles with the hook striving to get free. Line slips through my fingers with pressure as I try to slow the aggressiveness of the fish down. It makes a move towards the log jam but I’m already backing up on land putting pressure on the trout to come towards me and out of harms way. I can feel the pressure of my hand on the cork ease up and I start to reel in line as the trout swims towards me. Near the bank it squirms a bit but I’m able to net it safely. I’m kind of surprised it’s a nice looking rainbow.
Being that the deep water along the log jam looks like it will hold quite a few fish I proceed with the same tactic. After my third drift under the log the line straightening tug catches my attention. This time there was some slack line flowing with the slower current. I quickly pull fly line in with my left hand and pull the rod over my left shoulder to take up all slack and hope for a hook set. The line straightens right up to the rod tip and the rod arcs towards the log jam. The trout tugs and pulls staying well in the deep water. After a couple of tugging head shakes it swims into the slower current. I raise the rod and it does a couple laps without much shenanigans. I net a brown trout. Pretty cool I thought, the three B’s of Pennsylvania trout. Brookies, bows and browns all in one day in the same creek.
As time goes on I keep moving and casting Woolly Buggers about. I catch a brookie now and then and miss a couple with glancing swipes.
I come to a deep pool section I have fished many times in the past. It usually holds quite a few fish. Making tricky casts outward between pine bows and letting the weighted bugger drift into the deeper water doesn’t account for any strikes. I try again with different colors and methods but still nothing. I move around the overhanging pine boughs and situate myself facing the deepest part of the pool. I make a couple cast down and away but nothing appears to be hungry, if any, in the tail end. I try my next trick, cast the bugger upstream and seeing if I can get a trout to take the bugger as it flows ahead of me downstream. I sidearm cast the weighted bugger as far as I could up stream and mid stream. The bugger plops in the water and I try to take up the slack as the bugger drops deep and drifts ahead of my rod. I watch the portion of my fly line floating atop the surface. The end of the line sinks just enough and straightens a bit that I either touched bottom or a trout took the bugger drifting with the current. I bet on the latter and pull line and rod down creek. The ‘glass’ rods bows towards the front of the pool as a trout dart against the current with line in tow. He battles in the large deep pool of water but there’s no escape and no hazards for his benefit. As long as I keep good tension on the barbless hook I'm sure to bring him in.
I cover the pool pretty thoroughly adding weight. I leave a little more slack in the line at times to get the bugger down deeper. I also get some good casts under the heavy tree trunk, against the far side, that extends over the creek in which I’m standing under. I catch a handful of trout. One trout I watch swipe at my white Woolly Bugger, like a kitten swiping its paw at a teasing feather, near the bank just down creek from me. I miss him twice before I’m able to set the hook at the right second the trout mouthed my offering.
My mind is made up that I had enough fun for the day and it’s time to call it quits. I take the time to light up another stogie for the walk back through the forest towards my truck.
At my truck I listen to the creek murmur in the background as I put my gear away. The sun is in full view now and brightens up the surroundings. A few leaves skitter across the ground with the gentle breeze as smoke gently swirls and vanishes in mid air.