Young Womans and the Demon
Jeff and I left Kettle Creek just after a roadside lunch. The black flies were irritating and there was no sign of any good size hatches going on. The fish we had found earlier were sipping on tiny, tiny midges and spinners in the slow clear water. We hadn’t had luck lifting any so we were looking for somewhere new. Jeff hasn’t ever fished Young Womans Creek so I figured it would be a good choice till sundown. It has more shady areas, to get us out of the hot sun, and we were hoping less flies, therefore making it more pleasant.
We arrived at Young Womans Creek about 2:30pm under the bright sunny sky. We parked in a shady area but found the humidity was still high. I already had my Hardy Demon rod together, and because of the small stream, hip boots were more appropriate. Jeff assembled his 7’6” rod and we walked to the water.
The long flat pool before us was calm and clear. A few stockies could be seen practically laying on the bottom as their tailfin swayed easily with the under- current. Pines and tree limbs branched over the water from the steep rocky cliff on the far side. There was just enough room to get a fly underneath the limbs, with a careful side arm cast, back into the deep shaded areas. The cross-current though could create a problem. The current beneath the limbs was much slower than the current mid-stream. I figured a tricky sidearm cast with a quick stoppage of the rod tip should be able to loop a fly underneath, dropping on the surface, and leaving enough slack line behind for a better, drag free, presentation.
Downstream of the flat water, water rushed over a two tier cement dam wall that spanned across the creek. The water splashing below was constant, giving the otherwise pleasant scenery, an audible dimension that no picture could portray. From there the water flowed above a stony bottom than narrowed and tumbled along a straight run of outcropping rocks. The water made its way pushing against downed branches and finally disappeared into the distant forest. The sunshine enhanced the long narrow stretch giving a glow to the tannish water from the colors of the different stones that lay beneath.
Upstream, from the flat pool, water rushed around to the outside of a sharp bend of the creek. Water swirled into a deep bowl nearer to our side but also continued to flow along the far bank and around the curvature of the stream against the steep bank. A fast run of current waved against this steep, slate shelved cliff and under overhanging branches. This widened and fed the semi-deep wider section of water before us, to the sandy bank in which we now stood.
The creek holds your attention continuously in this remote area back off the main drag of human error. It’s simply you, nature, the creek and fish!!!
Of course every fairytale creek has their dilemmas of the day. For now the muggy humidity fogs up my polarized lenses to render them a distraction so I hung these down on my chest. This is when I noticed the swarm of little flies zigzagging erratically about 2” from my face. You know those pecker flies that follow you, torment you and somehow keep from getting hit when you reach to swat them. They dive bomb into the corner of your eyes like some kind of Kamikaze fly. The darn things won’t land on you so you can squish them; no they just bug the piss out of you flying face side.
We began fishing in the slow flat water. A couple of fish would rise and inspect our dry fly offering like an antique dealer figuring out if something is real or fake. Needless to say they all found some kind of mar and left our flies alone. After about 20 minutes Jeff gave up and headed upstream. I tied on a Gray Fox pattern and finally coaxed a brookie, from behind a submerged boulder, to strike. It wasn’t much of a fight in the slow pool but it was a trout. After a few more casts I started down stream.
“I’m taking a break,” I said.
“I’m out of bug spray, my glasses keep fogging up and it isn’t fun with these pecker flies darting in my eyes!” I added squinting!
“I know what you mean” he replied.
Back at the vehicles I opened my last Michelob Lager as I took off my sweaty shirt and hip boots. After finishing the beer I tilted back the driver’s seat backrest and took a short nap.
When I awoke I felt refreshed and ready for some evening fishing. Jeff heard me getting ready and he too got his gear on. We were hoping for a hatch or at least some surface activity that would have the trout less cautious. At the long flat stretch we tried midges of different sorts. I finally got a trout to take a beetle in the shade under one of the far overhanging branches. I headed upstream after that to see what I could accomplish as Jeff lagged behind.
I noticed Light Cahill’s appearing and tied on a #12 for the narrow deep riffling water above. Casting upstream I missed a flash of a trout in the tail-end of a calmer pool that emptied into a shallow run. Working my way upstream I picked off a nice rainbow between mid-stream and a submerged log against the far bank. On one cast, into a back eddy behind an exposed tree branch snag, my perfect cast got the fly hung up in a spider web, unaware to me at the time. The fly hung there about 8” from the water surface. I gently tugged on the fly line and leader and watched the dry hit the water. In an instant a fish rose to my fly. I quickly yanked back the slack in the line and the fly came whipping back towards me. I ducked to my left and was left with my own spider web of line and fly. The evening light was disappearing and leaving nice shadows upon the water surface. I didn’t have time nor was in the mood to untangle the mess. I snipped off the three sections of knotted leader/tippet and retied new tippet material to the remaining stiff tapered leader. I was able to feel the sweat beading on my forehead though I concentrated on making sure my knots were steadfast.
Continuing fishing upstream I was missing quick surfacing trout. I shortened my casts and got into better positions for a better angle to outfox the trout. Wading up creek I dropped my #12 March Brown along every seam and slack water I came upon. Just around the next bend a good run of choppy water waved towards the log jam I had just passed. I got sight of a flash and surface splash of a feeding trout near a big round rock aside the far grassy bank. My short Demon 7’ rod wasn’t long enough to reach over mid-stream for a nice high sticking drift. I carefully moved upstream, in the fading light, to get a better angle at the feeding trout.
He surfaced with lightning speed for something other than my perfect drifting fly on my first four attempts. I switched to a #12 para-yellow stonefly and dropped the fly just shy of the round rock within his sight. I did my best keeping my rod tip high and moving it with the bobbing dry towards the rock. I saw the flash of the fish rise and wristed back on his lightning quick take of the fast moving fly. He head-shook, top water, than submerged and pulled with the current into the deeper water near the bend of the creek. With the rod bent, and the tip pointing straight at the fish, my reel sang a cappella with the outgoing surge of fly line. I knew I would have a hard time getting the weighty fish across the fast current mid-stream so I carefully waded across while fighting the beast against the undercurrent. I moved the 3wt, angling it towards the far bank, trying to keep the trout from heading into the fast water. The Demon flexed and kept good tension on the fighting fish within the bend of the creek beneath the deep eddy. When I made it across the creek and still upstream from him I felt more in charge of the situation. I took in line as he started to swim towards me. He surfaced, as if for a look see, and than the thick rainbow dove beneath and again pulled line through my tensioned fingers to the reel. It was a struggle at times with him and me tugging at one another but I finally managed to bring him up and to the net. I quickly tried taking a picture of the frisky trout under the dim light but he wanted nothing of the sort and struggled in my grasp. With my hemostats I pinched the hook and with a quick twist, I unhooked him from my control. He wasted no time disappearing into the flowing water.
I was well satisfied at this point, and with the near darkness, headed downstream to where I presumed Jeff was. He saw me walking towards him along the bank and took in line and we headed to the vehicles.
With a refreshing cold beer we took off our fishing gear and got into driving clothes. We reiterated a few of our own escapades throughout the weekend while finishing our brews. After a handshake of good will, we parted company and ventured off in our vehicles.
I drove through Renova and crossed the bridge, over the WB branch of the Susquehanna, in darkness. At the stop sign I paused long enough to unwrap a big stogie a friend of mine had given me a while back. I concluded that this long fat cigar was appropriate for my long journey home. It would take some time to smoke and should keep me awake, yet relaxed. I lit the end of the ‘Partagas 1845’ dark tobacco barrel and enjoyed the smoke all the way to the Reynoldsville exit off of Interstate 80. It was the longest lasting cigar I ever smoked in my life and surprisingly smooth at that!
I actually completed a whole weekend of fishing without casting a bugger!