Thursday, July 8, 2010

Halasz Bachelor Party

The grooms brother and I had been planning this trip for several weeks. A group of 3-9 people for July 3. I decided a wet wading trip for smallies would be the best option and chose the middle Potomac. The water here is wide, low, and slow. Wading would be easy and fish abundant.



We gathered at the river at 0930 and were ready to get into the cool water. I handed out gear from 9' 5wt to 11' 8wt switch rods, outfitted them with some Dermatone ultimate fisherman sunscreen, and my back up polarized glasses. We moved from the parking lot to the river and slipped in. I had been in the parking lot for an hour setting up and was ready to cool off.

We spent a few brief minutes working on the basics.
  • Strip out line onto the water and allow the fly to drift down stream
  • Wait for tension on the line, pick up line, throw it behind you, bring it forward when it straightens out, point rod tip where you want fly to go, drop fly, follow fly in current with rod tip, repeat. 
We worked on the basics as only one of the 8 had ever fly fished. They did not need to know the ins and outs of casting, just enough for 3 hours of fishing. Some got the hang of it right away and were sent out to fish. Others stayed behind and we worked out some kinds - rod tip going all the way back on the back cast and hitting the water, lunging forward to throw the line, not enough force on the presentation cast etc.

Pretty soon the guys were spread out and I was burning calories walking through the water to check up on each of them and offer guidance.


 One guy went all out solo and ditched the bachelor party, took the switch rod, and headed toward Harpers Ferry upstream. The others congregated around the bridge. We worked that water for about 40 minutes and a few guys had bites! The bachelor was fearless and ended up in water over my head.
The key points I focused on were to catch fish were these: 
  • do not cast more than once in the same spot
  • keep moving, cast and move a few feet and cast again
  • you have 360 degrees of casting space while wet wading, cast all around you 
  • look for structure
After a bit of encouragement they spread out. Their casting improved and some were roll casting with out having roll cast instruction or knowing the terminology or application of this cast.  Some learned faster than others and some did not. I focused my time between the those who were struggling and/or frustrated, and the bachelor (when I could get to him). We even had a brief entomology lesson when I found a rock covered with caddis larvae. I hear shouting from down river that one of them caught a sunfish!


Before long and into our second hour we all congregated by some deep water and rocky structure. The guys decided it was time to attack the bachelor and they went after him, the plan was to submerge him. I was having a great time not only watching them fish but watching these shenanigans.


I swapped out scorpion bug flies for braided estaz worms, damsel nymphs, and clousers. I put on a black leech dropper off the bachelor's scorpion. As time was cutting close the bachelor decided to was over to his brother to check on how long they wanted to fish. I told the bachelor to dead drift his fly and dropper in the water as he waded across the Potomac. As he did so he caught a fish !

I swam over to him to get a few images for this here blog and for memories of their outting.
How true is the quote on his shirt?



Time was up and grandpa was waiting in the parking lot. The lads wound up their reels and I took the rods from them so they could go after the bachelor again. We lost a lens to a pair of Serengeti sunglasses and a few flies but gained a whole lot of knowledge. 

I hope they had a good time. 8 guys out on the water for their first time with a few bites and 2 fish landed.

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