Sponged DT, Underwader Pants
I woke up this morning around 5:30am. I ate a cold pop-tart and what was left of a 20 oz. Mountain Dew from the night before. It wasn’t because I was in a hurry to fish but because I forgot to buy donuts and I couldn’t find any tea bags in my storage picnic basket in my van. When I opened the door of the van it looked like rain so I wore my fishing gear raincoat so it wouldn’t rain. It was already filled with my fishing gear anyhow being that I got caught in the rain the past Thursday chasing rainbows.
When the sun finally came out and warmed things up I went back to my van and exchanged my gear into my regular fishing vest. Wading out is when I discovered that the cool water that was flowing around my breathable waders was also seeping through a seam of my hip waders. This made my underwading pants and socks wet but I was at least dry from the waist up.
When Donny showed up at 10:00am, with a beer in his hand, we fished together until noon. This is when it started to sprinkle and luckily we were only 20 feet from our vehicles before it down poured on us non-rain-coated fishermen.
After a good lunch at the Blue Jay Bar we headed to Donny’s camp in Mayburg. We fished under the sun for an hour or so. We were about 10 minutes downstream from his camp when a dark cloud blew in over the mountain and poured down rain upon us. Of course we didn’t have our raincoats on so we got drenched wading and walking back up to his camp. I was glad the rain water wasn’t any colder than the creek water that had been leaking through my waders that I felt sloshing around in my neoprene booties.
At camp we waited the storm out. I changed into a pair of dry shorts and was getting bored and sleepy, being I was up at 5:30am, waiting for the rain to stop. I climbed into one of the top bunks and the last I remembered Donny was sitting at the table with a tall mug of Beam and Coke. I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or Jimmy B. as I nodded off.
It was about 4:30pm when I awoke and climbed down from the bunk. I looked out of the opened camp door and the rain slowed to a drizzle. It looked as if it was going to clear up for a nice evening of fishing. I nudged Donny, who was sleeping in a bottom bunk, and let him know I was taking off and driving upstream to fish. I thanked him for his company and headed out on rte. 666.
I guess I didn’t mention it but I had caught a few trout during this ordeal but not many. I only have a few morning pics before the rains. My camera isn’t waterproof and there always seemed to be a chance of rain later in the day so i didn't take it along.
So here I am at about 7:00pm. I’m in the Tionesta Creek and feel like Sponge Bob in wet underwader pants. My legs are wet and my socks are soaked. I don’t know why I even put my wet hip waders on again. At least I wasn’t intoxicated enough to put on dry socks!! I got my rain jacket on so it won’t rain anymore and the heat rises from my body, inside my rain jacket, fogging up my bifocal sunglasses every time I try to tie a new fly on my tippet
I already caught 2 risers but they had to be coaxed by skating the dry across the top of the surface. I see a few more risers but they have refused to take my caddis, light Cahill or anything else thus far that I tried. The fisherman down below isn’t catching anything on his spinning gear so I don’t feel as bad. (Actually I wouldn’t care anyhow!)
I remember Jeff telling me a while back about 2 guys watching me fly fish while they were standing on the Lynch Bridge. After Jeff told them he knew me they told him that I change flies enough to try and start my own hatch. Well, I get persistent some times and determined to find that magical fly that gets fish to rise more consistently. This is one of those moments.
To make me feel good and confident about my next selection I process the conditions and known facts of my immediate situation. The fish in the shallows have been sipping occasionally on dun midges. Brown Drakes have been showing up, according to Jeff’s report, during the week. If the fish are taking spinner falls I want the body of my fly to sit on the surface water and not above. I select an Adam’s Parachute dry with a moose hair tail to represent the dark long Drake tails.
There has been a trout about 15 feet in front of me that rises occasionally and sometimes inspects my fly without ever taking it. I cast upstream from him and let the para-Adams drift into his feeding zone. He rises and inspects my fly. He back-fins a little longer than before, before he retreats back to his hold.
“Maybe he sees my tippet?” I question myself.
“The fish in the somewhat faster flow might not.”
I cast out and make’em rise. I start picking off rainbows and wary brown trout that wouldn’t rise to any of my flies earlier. The guy, downstream from me, sees me catching fish often enough that soon I see him with a fiberglass fly rod in his hands. I’m having a good time catching most of the fish that rise to my Adams. After an hour the fiberglass rod young man finally takes off as the light dims and evening shadows fall upon the water. I notice a few Brown Drakes, moths and Light Cahill’s flying around. There are only two risers I see out into the water that wouldn’t take my dry. I turn on my headlamp, to give me a little more light, and tie on one of my Brown Drake patterns. My second cast out into ‘nowhere in particular’ produces a hearty rise and I set the hook on a nice brown trout.
The darkness is closing in fast but I’m able to see a couple of risers in the slower water, downstream, out from my side of the bank. I loop cast my big Drake and let it drift towards them, flickering it to give it some motion in the dimming light. 4 drifts through and I connect with two 2 small rainbows. It’s pretty dark by now and only the wavy rippling of water can be seen from the reflection of light of a cloud hidden moon.
I cast out into the darkness and wait. A reflection of water rises out in the darkness with a surface splash, audible in the quietness of the night. I pull back the rod tip and I see my fly skittering, reflecting water about three feet up from the rise. I chuckle but am determined to catch a trout before I leave tonight.
I continue to cast the Brown Drake dry into the darkness to any nighttime feeding trout. I finally feel resistance as I rear back the rod after a surface splash. I blindly play the fighting fish within sight of my now lighted headlamp. A nice 13” or so brown trout enters my net. The dark burnish belly and haloed spots tells me that this trout has been here for some time. After two more hook ups in the darkness, in 20 minutes, I call it a night.
Back at the van I strip off my wet hip waders, wet underwader pants and soaked socks and change into dry clothes. I wipe the Scott rod off and slide it into the 2 piece rod tube. In the drivers seat I start the engine and search for my three pocket cigar case between the captain chairs. I pull out an Arturo Fuente Curly Head. The rich Cameroon wrapper gives off a nice pungent cigar aroma even before I light it up.
The lit cigar illuminates a lustrous red glow in the darkness of my van as I head for Ray’s Hot Spot.
“Boy, it’s good to be dry again!!”