Thursday, June 14, 2012

Catskill Trip June 2012 Part Two: The Fishy Side

Catskills June 2012 (Part Two: The Fishing Side) Now for the god stuff. Let me lay out this disclaimer; I am not a big dry fly guru, I am a terrible fly caster, and I don't have top of the line gear. Not excuses, just keeping everyone on the same page. My adventure started Friday mid morning with my buddy Wylie showing me some water on the West Branch of the Delaware. We worked our way from the parking area to this sweet looking spot and played te waiting game. We scanned the water like a kid with a new video game. For the non fly fisherman, I'm sure it would have been agony, but for me it was good. Not my usual motif, but it was great watching for risers and what bugs were coming off. It was a great time shooting the breeze and organizing fly boxes, another thing that I never get to do. Which usually results in countless flies being dropped in the river. Eventually there were enough risers for us to try our hand. Wylie was laying out some deadly line and some sweet drifts. I struggled a lot and was regretting not stringing my switch rod, since my 8 footer was under gunned. The best part was watching to see what would rise. Was it a monster poking it's head or just a little six incher? Wylie eventually brought to hand a nice 15 inch brown that fell victim to a sulphur. I eventually took one of those six inchers on a soft hackle. I missed one other decent fish. As the sun scorched our necks, a Guiness was needed to refresh and soon I was leaving Wylie for the rest of my journey. It was a new experience and it was good to be worrying about hatches and not everyday life. I traversed many miles of river and soon made it to the cabin on the lake near Livingston Manor, NY. A few beers later, which were handcrafted by Eric using the hops I harvested for him the previous fall. Eric and I tested the waters around the cabin. A missed smallmouth bass for me and nice 14 inch smallie for Eric. The rest of the gang showed up, just about the time you would want to be camped out on your favorite Catskill River, we chose a different path. We caught up on old times, cranked some Neil Young, ate amazing pulled pork and venison roasts, more homebrew, and a fine cigar. Then it was into the lake we went with more bass fishing in mind. My buddy Martin and I fished together, and as the darkness set in the fishing turned on. As I plugged away with a foam STP Frog, it was inhaled by a smallmouth bass, and my 4wt switch rod was in heaven. Then the green drakes took flight like helicopters from the surface of the water. This was my first real taste of a green drake hatch (not even on a trout stream) and it was impressive. The fish were keyed into gulping them, but didn't ignore a foam popper or two from Martin and myself as we each took a few more bass into the darkness. The rest of the night washed away in a flood of Jerry Garcia and the Legion of Mary rocking the cabin in the Catskills. Saturday morning brought the polar plunge and off to the Mayfly Club tying show. Once the tying part of the day was over, the gang and I regrouped and decided to fish the Willowemoc near the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum. I always dread trying to find water for friends to fish together, but not be invasive and cramped. I thought we did this pretty well, and a gentleman was leaving I asked to make sure we weren't squeezing him out, since he had a Beaverkill Angler hat on. He assured us that we were not, and he even offered up some advice on the spot he had just left. Great advice it was and it set the mood for the rest of the afternoon. Fishing a dropper rig or a brace of soft hackles was the ticket. Before I knew it there was a grab and soon the switch rod coerced what I believe to be a small tiger trout. After consulting with my buddy Martin he too was tangling with a brown trout, and then another. The consistent dropper in black and chartreuse was the ticket and I was agin in the mix with a brook trout. Before I could pass along the info to the rest of the party, my buddy Eric scored a beauty of brown in the 16 inch range. As I passed the difference maker dropper color to the rest of the gang we ended our mid afternoon excursion with everyone taking fish. We headed back to camp as Martin whipped up the mightiest quesedilas in the galaxy. After dinner we stepped back into the lake to dance with the drakes and bass. It was productive, but our boy Matty raised the bar with a monster smallmouth bass exceeding the limits of the 18 inch net scale. Other fish came to hand and the trip was spiraling down, we celebrated into the evening. Sunday was pack and run back to reality. As friends we have made it a point to fish together annually for close to twenty years, and this is the first time in a long time that we all shared equal success. There is a lot to be said for the memories past and present....but the future is rejuvenating. Wylie waiting for the rises Martin's smallie Martin working the two hander at dusk Martin Bass Eric Trout Eric Trout 2 Martin Trout Matt Trout Tiger? Balck & White Brookie Tiger? Three Amigos Matt's Monster Welcome Home!

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