Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Don't Count Me Out"

Don’t Count Me Out

  I look up and the sky is dull white as far as the eye can see. It’s like a painters canvas waiting for the artist to add color and beauty. The perception is, at this time, it isn’t going to happen. The rain falls from out of the pale skies in endless drops. Fallen raindrops spiral in the small puddles in the black driveway pavement. The day is gloomy and looks to be never ending.
“Looks like Jerry won’t be fishing today” I hear a familiar voice.
“Don’t count me out yet” I reply under my breath.

  I pack a cooler of drinks and put some extra clothes in my canvas duffel bag. Outside, in the light rainfall, I put the necessities in my raincoat including my Bugger Box, a couple of caddis dry boxes, nymph box and terrestrial box. In the rain I don’t expect to dry fly fish but one never knows. I piece together my SAS Scott rod and fit it with my Battenkill reel with weight forward line. I even knot on a Woolly Bugger. I make sure I have my camera and a few cigars and head north.
 As I cross the Lynch Bridge I notice one lone fly fisherman casting towards the roadside bank. I then realize that the rain had stopped. Down creek from the bridge a few people sit in lawn chairs overlooking the wide creek and a few youngsters are playing along the sloped bank where a few kayaks are shored. I turn right on rte. 666 and continue on. Sure enough campsites line the creek wherever possible. Tents of assorted colors are spread about the campsites with stone circled fire pits give off a cloud of smoke with a few flame flair ups. As I drive along the roadway I notice that the water is vacant of any human water activity. I can’t wait any longer to continue to examine my options and pull up to the guardrail leaving enough room to get my gear on.
  After suiting up I step over the guardrail and plop in the creek from the short sloped bank. It doesn’t take much time before I feel the coolness of the water around my ankles and calves through my hip waders. I light up a 55 sun grown and look up at the sky. The sky is now filled with stale blue clouds that only appear to move if I gaze long enough. I can hear a few birds chirping which gives me a good sign that maybe it won’t rain too long if it decides to start all over again. I can smell the wetness of the firewood smoldering in the nearby campsites along the creek. It’s peaceful and I’m the only fishermen in the vicinity, I like it!
  Once far enough from the brushy bank I start casting getting my timing and rhythm right. The water is pretty shallow as I’m making my way towards the deeper water beyond. As I am within reach of the deeper section I make long casts out and about. I move slowly and carefully upon the stony creek bed. I concentrate watching my fly line as it floats with the current while enjoying my cigar. I catch a flash across and down creek in what looks to be a deeper pocket.

 The water is no deeper than chest high this time of year and for now most of the water in this section might only get to be waist deep. The water is clear enough that I don’t need my polarized shades on to see through the water column. Besides that, as the humidity rises during noon time, having them on will only cause foggy lenses. I can already feel the heat beneath my raincoat.

  I take a few steps down creek and pull back for a long cast. I wait the extra second and cast the line forward with bugger in tow. The line straightens out in front of me and the bugger plops upstream from the deeper pocket. I take in a little slack and watch the fly line, upon the water, float with the slow current. I wait for a tug. As the bugger swings through the pocket I nimbly twitch the rod tip for a little more action. I feel a tug near the end of the arc and wrist the hook set. The surface water stirs down creek from the captured trout. He twists before struggling to take line further.
“He got a fish” I hear from the bank.
I give the trout some tensioned line, just enough to let him know he’s stuck. I move the rod up creek to my left and he follows as he tries to swim further out. I let the rod flex a little more towards him and he decides to struggle closer. I have my net ready as I lift the rod higher and he slaps the surface water as he enters.
“What is it?” I hear the questionable shout from the bank.
“A trout” I answer back.
“Looks like a nice one” comes a reply

The rainbow appears to be in fall colors. The gill plates are brightly colored red. Its sides are silvery and like a singular stroke of an artists brush a fresh coat of pinkish paint runs across its lateral line. Its fins are dark maroon, a fine colorful specimen.
I hold the trout up for the bank side audience to see. Three campers look on as I release the trout back into the stream.
  Without much hesitation I cast again out towards the last catch. As the bugger swings into the pocket I feel and see the line move with a swiping take as if the trout is going to make sure no other has a chance at it. The arc straightens towards the far side of the creek as the trout motors with the stolen bugger. The rod is already flexing and I only twitch the rod back a bit to make sure the hook is set good.
“He’s got another” I hear from my bank side audience.
  This one is a little more playful and aggressive. He shoots up creek and away. With my side pressure he turns just subsurface, enough to swirl the surface water, before heading back down creek. I try to keep the trout from rising to the surface by keeping the rod tip down. The trout swings to my right and I give him a little line as he enters through a riffling stretch of water caused by big beneath surface boulders. I raise the rod to keep the leader from dragging against the boulders. He continues to swim to my right until he feels more pressure from the flexing rod. I take in line as he swims nearer. I take my net out from my belt and get ready to net him as I try to get him under control. He surface splashes as I bring the net up with him inside.
The rainbow trout is an artists dream. It almost appears artificial. The gill plate is heavily marked in rouge red as if someone just applied the make up. Its lateral line is a sparkling crimson red, wet from the water and it glistens under the brightened suns rays. Its silvery body is speckled as if fresh ground black pepper was just sprinkled upon it. The fins are a soft maroon shade, thin and translucent.

With a twist of the forceps the hook dislodges from its mouth. I tilt the net and the fish swims free.
  I catch two more beautiful rainbows before a rise occurs, a little further downstream, still within casting distance from where I stand. The temptation is too real and I decide to try for it with a dry caddis imitation.
  The first cast drifts near enough to his strike zone but he doesn’t rise. My next cast I drop the imitation well within his sight. The dry drifts a half a foot and the fish takes the dry with an arcing splash. I rear back quickly and feel the rod flex. He struggles below and than heads up creek against the surface. I could tell he isn’t as strong as the rainbows so I don’t give him much line. Up creek he circles around me as I hold the rod in one hand while reaching for my net. The brown trout raises enough for me to net him quickly.

 The brown trout isn’t as fancy colored as the rainbows. Big dark black spots cover its dark olive brown body with a few deep orange speckles scattered about tapering towards the tail. I unhook the dry fly within his mouth and release the brown trout in the flow.
  I fish for about another hour slowly making my way down creek. I catch two more colorful rainbows before heading back to the van. By now my inner shirt is soaked from the heat that is being stored within my raincoat under the afternoon sunshine. At the van I put my rod inside and hang my raincoat on the rod rack. Its 2:30 so I decide to drive down creek to Lynch Bridge and see if I can catch a few more.
  Within a half hour of slowly wading down stream fishing the Woolly Bugger I am outmaneuvered by a big boulder I come across below the surface of the water. I was wading down creek with short steps when my left ankle came in contact with the submerged boulder. I was only in just below my knee caps when it tripped me up. I remember trying to raise my foot higher, as my balance was already leaning down creek. Not being able to find the top of the bolder or a sturdy place to steady my foot I went down on my side. I dropped the rod out of harms way and was able to break my fall with both hands without a scratch. When the water reached my neck I lifted myself up quickly. After grabbing my fly rod I pulled out my camera. Though it looked only slightly wet I was sure it had a quick good dunking being it was in my shirt pocket. I had left the rain coat in the van. I waded out to the van and wrapped the camera in a paper towel after taking out the battery and film card.
  Back in the water I fished my way a good piece down from the bridge. I caught two more rainbows and missed one before the rain continued long enough I decided to call it quits. I was pretty wet all around when I got to the van. It was a good thing I brought dry clothes. I quenched my thirst with a bottle of Busch Beer as I changed. By now the gray and slate blue clouds converged above and created an off and on drizzle.
 On the drive home I lit up a Marsh Wheeling Stogie. Except for the dunking of my camera it turned out to be not such a bad day after all.
“Never count me out” I mumble to myself!!




  1. I like a good rainy , overcast day on the water. Looks like you had a pretty stellar day in the rain as well , great looking fish!

  2. They were some pretty fish. i agree, rainy or overcast days always appear to be quieter and more relaxing. i got my camera working again by putting it in a bag of rice for a couple of days. the lens, or light sensor is giving me problems still with to bright and foggey pictures.