Believe It or Not
My back was aching, from work or something I did at home, and my right biceps and shoulder was hurting, from a softball game 4 weeks ago, so I called off work. I took two Aleve in the morning and by 11:00am I was bored out of my mind. I decided to take a drive up north to a trout stream, sit and relax while smoking a cigar in the peace and quietness of the Allegheny National Forest.
As I’m sitting along Tionesta Creek, with my feet up on a log, smoking a Connecticut Yankee stogie I noticed a rise up creek from a shading maple tree across creek. I see nothing flying around and, because of an occasional breeze, only leaves and petals drifted on the slow water surface current.
This is September mind you, the creeks are low and clear this time of year. The trout that are around are usually in deeper holes or in the shade escaping from the sun and the warmer temps. Because of the cool nights and overcast days lately the water temps had stayed cooler than normal. I didn’t except to see many, if any, fish rising except for maybe a terrestrial.
When I seen another rise, down creek out from the boulder strewn far bank, I couldn’t take it any more. The Aleve had relaxed my arm and shoulder and the ache in my lower back was almost gone. I just happen to bring my fly rod and gear. I snatched it up and slowly waded out to give it a try.
I sent the beetle in the general direction of the down creek riser but he didn’t take notice. I happen to see one tan caddis come off the water and decided to try one of my # 16 tan caddis patterns. The rise came in the form of a quick slurp and I set the hook immediately with my wrist. My second trout came to hand and I was all smiles.
I would stand and wait till I seen another rise and than go for it. More often than not it didn’t take but a few casts to hook up with another lazy sipper. I forgot all about my aches and pains for awhile. I even caught a couple of smallmouth on the small caddis.
One strike was so ferocious, at the caddis, that it reminded me of the bass I caught on poppers a couple of weeks ago. It was one of those big inhaling takes that erupted the water surface. When I yanked back the rod I didn’t even feel a touch of its mouth on the end of my line. I didn’t switch to a bigger fly or bugger yet but kept him in mind.
My finest catch was when I seen a rise within inches of one of the boulders along the bank. I made a nice smooth loop that rolled outward and dropped my fly within a couple of feet of the boulders. I thought for sure he’d rise to it but the imitation caddis just drifted by. My next cast put the caddis within a foot and the drift was near enough but still nothing. I ended up dropping the caddis right up to the boulders. The current slowly drifted my dry along the reaches and sure enough he took it with a swirl. The long hook set was perfect and he scuffled about as I brought him to the net.
Now I got to thinking as I drove through Marienville. Just maybe there might be a few trout sipping something off the water down on the Clarion River. I wasn’t in any hurry to get home and my aches weren’t too aggravating. I turned down route 899 and headed to the river.
I was just trying to relax sitting upon the stony bank-side looking out over the calm water flowing towards the riffles to my right. I have caught many of trout in this section so I already had a small Adams knotted on a long leader with 6X tippet. A few tiny midges were flying about and now and again a dragonfly or two would buzz over the water. It was maybe a good half hour while smoking a Punch Churchill that I noticed the first sipper. With the moving current, on the glaring surface, if I wasn’t looking in the general direction I would have missed it. It was almost like a small baitfish sipping tiny midges but it made a swirl upon the flat water to prove something bigger beneath. I rose slowly and calmly waded into the water down stream, at an angle, from the sipper. After a couple of false casts, to get more line out, I let go a long line and my parachute Adams fell upstream and just this side of the sipper. I watched as the dry drifted nearer and soon I saw the trout appear just below the surface and snatch it up. With a twitch of the rod backward, set the hook, and soon the trout was scurrying about as I was bringing him in.
The next rise I seen was within minutes of my first catch. He was sipping sporadically out in front of me quite a ways. I waded out midstream and started my false casts. I laid a soft line upon the surface which put the dry a bit upstream of the sipper. After a couple of passes he too sipped and got hooked.
I was pestered by two more sippers for some time that wouldn’t take my fly. I refused to tie on another pattern, and maybe I should have, but the evening was dimming and the sun was now behind the tree tops. I found one more sipper that took my dry before calling it quits. He gave me a good tussle on the 4 weight before I got him to the net. His golden belly told me he’s been around awhile.
On the way home I started to feel my lower back aching much more and my arm and shoulder was reminding me that this fly fishing exercise wasn’t all that great of an idea to heal those muscles.
Oh well, a couple Aleve before bedtime may make the pain go away.