Wednesday, May 26, 2010

05.25.10 Long hot, hard day on the West Branch, and then "snap" at Buckingham

Woke up around 545 am from the sound of cars passing over the Hale Eddy bridge. When I tried to turn my neck it hurt from my head being jammed up against the back of the seat in my car all night. I got out, stretched, took a leak and headed down to the bridge to see what was going on. Fish were up in the large pool splashing about and there were clouds of tiny caddis in the air. I got my rod and left the size 16 rusty spinner that was on from last night and by 6 am had my first fish on, a pretty 5 inch brown. I headed up through the fog into Deposit and checked the no-kill section, where I found two nice browns trolling the shallows. I got dressed and set for the morning and carefully, or so I thought, approached the water. Needless to say didn't get a cast off before they were spooked and headed to deeper water for cover. I parked at the Laurel Hill access and spent the morning working the riffs above the sewer plant with a hares ear and princes nymph with not a bump. By 930, the fog had burned off and the sun was high and hot, water temps there were 48 degrees. I pulled out of there and headed downstream and met a

guy getting ready for the day who said they had good hatches of sulfurs and few hendricksons up at Stilesville yesterday. So up to Stilesville I went. I have to say, I am not a big fan of this stretch. The nice thing there was the water temp, 46 degrees. I managed a spot there and dropped into the water. I waked about 500 feet and realized that I didn't want to fish there. So I was back in the car and headed back down to Deposit. I was starting to feel a little hurky-jerky about the day. Running here, casting, running there, casting, over here- just not my kind of fishing. So I decided to hit my spot and wait. When I got above the no-kill I was the only guy there.
While crossing the river I saw a stonefly nymph pulling itself up onto a rock and got out the
macro lens and took some photos. I then stood riverside and waited, and waited. 10, 11, 12- around 12 a truck with three guys showed up and surveyed the section and then moved in and set up shop below me. And guess who it was, the guide I always talk about because I am always impressed with how low his guide number is, John Dembeck, #0189. He got his clients set up and had them nymphing the faster water at the head of the pool, while I was above closer to the train trestle. Both his clients caught a fish while I just stood there and waited, "protecting" my section. As I surveyed the water fish started to rise taking emergers. I tried some sulfurs and then hendricksons, nothing. The hatch wasn't in full swing so the fish were sporadic. I started o wonder if they hadn't moved down into the big water to escape the sun. I could feel the suns effects on the right side of my face and neck. My right arm was a painful red color. Then I saw a fishing working, then another, then across the river, a huge fish...rising, rising, rising. Somedays I like to catch a lot of fish, other days I want just one, today is was that one. He was set up for lunch across from me, across several current changes, and I knew it would be hard to get a good drift. It was almost 2 o'clock, and it was over 40 feet away. I started to cast, and cast, and cast. I heard the guide point out to his clients that he saw some big fish, and pointed to where I was casting. The guys stopped to eat, I still casted. Here is what I threw, sulfur and hendrickson emergers, nope, both of those in duns, hope, comparamergers, later, comparaduns, ha, cdc, parachutes, soft hackles, back to deer hair comparamergers. Got him, he took the fly, but I had too much fly line on the water and couldn't set the hook. I was dejected. It was 330. I had made casts for 1-1/2 hours. I layed off for a few minutes and he came back up, this time with two other fish. I finally decided to put on a rusty spinner dressed with a little floatant. Second 45 foot cast, bamm. Good heavy fish. His first run was downstream, and I kept my fly rod as high as I could to keep him pointed up towards me. The three guys stopped and watched as I brought the fish to net almost five minutes later. I wanted to take a picture before the release, but I didn't want to look like a goof so I put him up against my 20 inch tape mark on my fly rod, just shy of 20 inches, and let him go. It wasn't the one I wanted, but after 2 hours I had to tip my hat to the bigger fish and be happy I caught his friend. I moved back to the side of the river and saw more fish working and went at them with the same spinner. I had a great take from a big fish but he ran towards me and I couldn't set before the hook was spit. I decided to pack it in at 530. I needed to cross and went down to where one of the guys was seated waiting for maybe a later spinnerfall. The guide and the other client had moved downstream. I said to the older fellow that he had a great guide there and amused him with my guide number story. I also told him I hoped that the three weren't that amused with my super long casts for hours to one fish. The man said 0189 said that's the way you fish, one spot, sometimes one fish, so you don't spook and disrupt the section. That made me feel good, and I got a good fish. I decided to end the day on the Mainstem and drove down

to Buckingham. When I pulled in I thought I was at a drift boat convention. There at least a dozen truck trailer combinations there, plus another half dozen cars and trucks. There was also a Park Service officer out and about taking pictures of the vehicles. Kind of looked like Eliiot Ness hunting for Capone, taking pictures of license plates at mob funerals. I got down to the nice huge long pool and was hit in the face right off the bat by a big March Brown. I took the water temp, a very warm 72 degrees. When are these guys at Cannonsville going to release water? So I waded out where a pod of fish had set up and were taking the March Brown and sulfur duns. It was about a 30-40 foot cast and on the second cast I heard my Orvis fly rod

splinter. I was done, and had no spare. As I walked out two Pennslyvania Wildlife officers were setting up an interrogation section at the boat ramp. I had heard of this on one of the fly fishing forums but here it was with my own eyes, and their first victims were coming around the corner. The first boaters didn't do well at all. The officers had sheets of guide license numbers, boat launch numbers, National Park CUA use numbers, it was a frenzy. They start off like their your friend and really care, but you could tell they were as phony as a three dollar bill. So as I walk past, I hear the officer say, " How come your boat has no numbers on it?" And for some

reason I say, "Because it doesn't need to be registered." The reason I said that was before I purchased my drift boat I called Harrisburg and the boat commission and asked if it needs to be registered, "No" they said. I was furious when Deputy Dawg said, " Yes, it does, and that they, Harrisburg, gave me wrong information." So, I just split my rod, fish were up, but it was too warm to fish anyway, and this guy is just pissing me off with his I-am-so-good-at-my-job-attitude. He took my name and number, gave me his card, and said he will look into if Harrisburg is giving out bad info, and that he would help me get the drift boat registered, some how, since I don't have a title, but a transferable registration. I wanted to stay and just enjoy watching the fish and the bugs but these two guys ruined that scene. I drove back to Hancock and got on Route 17 in Hancock at 8 and pulled in the drive way in New Jersey around 1130.