Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Stogie Weekend

A Stogie Weekend

Along the forested lined river with my fly rod and a stogie was just the relaxation I was looking for.

 Saturday I met with Kevin at the Slippery Rock Cigars ‘Cigar BBQ Event‘. It was well worth thirty bucks. We smoked a couple cigars and drank Yuengling beer from a cold keg while listening to the live ‘Blowing Smoke’ pod cast beneath a canopy of speakers and microphone entertainers. At 5pm the food buffet was presented. Spit cooked pig and deep fried turkey was the main grub. Fresh corn on the cob with brown beans and red potatoes made for an enjoyable meal. After dinner a sealed plastic goodie bag was given to all who paid the thirty bucks. Inside were about 10 cigars of different brands and tobacco. A short time after that they filled a table with door prizes from full boxes of cigars to fancy ash trays, humidor boxes and the like. They picked names and every one there received a prize. Being there were still more prizes left, they picked names again and some of us went home with an extra something. I was going to stick around for the bonfire and nightly partying but at 8:00 pm and there after it poured down rain with thunder and lightening. It didn’t look like it was going to stop so I took my new Humidor, filled with cigars, and headed back to Clarion, enjoying another cigar of course.

Sunday, about 3:00pm, I headed down to the river for some relaxing fishen and smoken.

 The river was peaceful. No canoes, no kayaks and no swimmers. The trees stood tall and within their healthy green leaves birds chirped giving the surrounding area a wilderness calm. The forested lined river flowed easy, nearly a breeze, as the setting sunlight glistened off riffles in the shallows. Huge cumulus white clouds floated beneath the evening blue sky, such a picture perfect evening. I sat upon a stack of rocks on the pebbled shore taking it all in.
 From my wicker creel I took out a H. Upmann Vintage cigar. I just knew the Cameroon tobacco would somehow fit the occasion. I unwrapped it and laid the cigar on the creel, as to let it breath like fine wine after uncorking the bottle.

 The water flowed clear and calm. A ripple of water trickled into the river from a spring fed creek cooling the river bank shallows. I knotted a piece of 6x tippet to my 4x tapered leader making the length about 9 and half feet. I figured this would be adequate for keeping my fly line from being within sight of any trout along the bank. I tied on a #18 parachute Blue Quill. Though I saw nothing rising or a hatch of any kind, I was betting on a hungry fish being tempted by an easy meal after the long hot sunny afternoon. I wasn’t there to see how many fish I could catch or if I could catch a big one. I was there to relax, enjoy a cigar or two and do a little fly fishing.

It went something like this;
 I bring the cigar to my lips and light the end of the barrel. Smoke rises and slowly floats into the calm air like the cumulus clouds above. I stand up and walk to the shore line. The cork cigar handle feels firm in my right hand. I strip out line and cast a long smooth tight loop into the shallow ripples. The Blue Quill lands atop the ripples as my fly line lays upon the calmer water. I watch the parachute swing down below my fly line and drift atop the ripples and into the wavy tail-out. A swirl and a slurping rise arouse my relaxed limbs and I quickly pull up the rod tip. The long length of fly line lifts off the water instantly and the #18 hook sets into the fish’s jaw. The trout head-shakes above the surface as if standing on its tail. The soft tip, of my fast action Vapor rod, flexes and points directly at the commotion. He turns from the shallows and heads to deeper water leaving a wake behind. I hear the mid-arbor start to click as the last of the slack line slips through my fingers. He’s stymied from the heavier reel drag and fights from beneath. I allow him to use up more energy before I begin to take control and bring him towards me. The nice lengthy brown wallows in the shallows before me as I reach down to free him from the hook.
 With long casts and patience I bring in a few more trout as time tics by.

 I decide to fish for smallmouth in the warmer river and turn towards the open waters. I cut the 6x tippet and let it hang, connected to the fly, as I hook the fly onto my fly patch. I knot on a fast-snap to the 4x leader. This will make changing streamers and big dries quick and easy without all the tying. I fit an olive woolly bugger to the snap and wet wade knee deep into the warm water. With conscious smooth strokes I fling line and bugger out into the mass of water. The bugger sinks and the fly line swings with the current. I slowly make my way downriver swinging and stripping a bugger. Occasionally I clip on a Humpy or Wulff pattern and watch it wattle upon the surface in hopes of a fish will rise to it. Along the deep rocky shoreline I toss in a Styrofoam frog popper. With short strips it gurgles. Though relaxed I watch and anticipate a strike at anytime. An hour or so goes by and I’m left without a take or follow of my offerings. Nearer the van I walk across rocks and reach dry land. Walking up the hill, to the road, I contemplate on leaving or returning to the trout hold. I lift up my polarized lenses and see there is still plenty of daylight. Up on the road I light up my last Don Tomas Coronita. The smooth small cigar burns quick with each draw.
 I walk through the weeds again leading to the riverbank. The rippling water is now shaded by the mountain of trees that hide the setting sun. A slight warm breeze now waffles the surface water so that I can no longer see the dark area of fish in the shallow ripples, but I know they are still there. I knot on the 6x tippet and tie on a #14 Clarion Caddis dry. My first drift along the ripples produces a quick rise but I and surprised and miss the hook set. I am determined to hook a fish on the caddis and continue to use it. With a further cast, over the nearer ripples, I stop the rod tip so the caddis falls into a slow moving pocket of water. I see a dark object swiftly rise to the dropping caddis. I’m quick on the take and a nice size rainbow leaps for freedom but the hook set is good. I force him out of the main body of would-be trout and let him swim in the warmer river water as I bring him in.
  Next I tie on a gray body Adams parachute. On one cast the Adam falls into the middle of the rippling water. Instantly a fish rises above the surface for the take and I’m there to greet the thief. With a quick rod lift I feel the rod tip bend without feeling the fish react in my direction. Instead he turns upon the surface and splashes his way towards the tail end of the ripples; his long red lateral line tells me who I’m dealing with. He darts with force away and my reel clicks off line. I swing the rod to my right and he turns and fights the direction I dictate. In the foot of water before me he struggles to leap but fails to get air born. His quick force of energy in the first few seconds of the fight fatigues him in the warmer water. I take hold of the thick rainbow and let him relax within my loose grip. After unhooking him I lay him in the cooler water, near the bank, while holding his tail until he has the strength to pull away. He swims slowly at first, than, as if knowing I no longer have a hold of him, darts out towards freedom. I continue and catch one more trout before calling it quits.

Back at the day-tripper van I pop open a Penn’s Dark beer. The cold dark brew quenches my thirst and I take a few more swigs before changing into dry clothes. I take my time putting my rod and reel away while downing the brew. The darkness of the night falls fast once the sun drops below the mountain tops. In darkness I empty the last drops of sudsy beer onto the gravel and put the empty bottle back in the cooler.
 I start the engine and the dome light brightens up the interior once again. I reach in a plastic zip lock and take from it an O.O.O. Maduro Torpedo. The dark tobacco smokes well on the ride home…..


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