Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend In The Catskills | Bass on Mouse

This is 3 days of entries in one entry. 

THW's friend Decker invited us up to her parent's farm in the Catskills. She said there is a farm pond with trout. I packed a bunch of dry fly and nymph boxes into my guide bag. I had no idea what to expect. I packed 4-5 weights and my switch rod.

We stopped in Wilkes Barre for Pirogi. A dozen gut bombs and we were on our way. Spotted a forest fire on the banks of the Delaware a few hours later. We pulled into the farm in the early afternoon and the trip almost became disastrous as dr jones ran into the horse field and was almost trampled by a horse. I took off after him and somehow the horse knew not to kick him and ran away. Jones at some point backed off and we chased him back under the fence where he was going to be tethered for the rest of the weekend. Time for a beer to relax and get the heart back to a slow beat.

Decker fired up the mule and ATV and gave us a tour of the property. It was huge. I have been on one ATV since 1998 when I rode the sand dunes of the Namib desert. They have progressed a lot in that time. This one was automatic, had digital dash, and GPS. We toured the apple orchards, barns, woods, woods, woods, and woods. It was nice to be out in the pastoral air. We found a creepy car in the woods that had deer bones in the front seat.

The ladies retired to the inflatable pool on the deck and a longneck beer. With a view like this (the water, not the ladies) I decided to string up my rods.

I had a cold beer and strung up my switch rod.
I gave a quick casting lesson to Todd. Deckers step dad joined in. He fishes Pulaski too. Has a center pin rod and spin gear but not much of a fly rodder. He knew what he was doing.

Turns out I brought 7 rods but 2 reels. I tied on a scorpion bug and walked down to the farm pond. The edges were thick with algae and plants from bank to about 4' out. I cast the bug out and got a huge sunfish. I hooted and hollered and got THW to watch. I walked to the end of the pond and threw the bug to the edge of the algae and BAM a HUGE bass took the fly down and then came up and jumped. Glad I had not tied on a trout fly. I now had an audience on the deck. THW decided to come down and fish and got there in time to get a pic of me and the bass: 

I handed THW the switch rod and she thew out the line. She caught a huge sunfish on her 2nd or 3rd cast. Landed it in the net and I ran over for a photo session. She was having fun since she was catching fish. I was just as happy if not more.

She threw the line out a bit farther with a little help and landed a bass. Big bass. THW kept catching fish and I was glad I brought the switch rod and not a tiny 4wt.

My turn
I like this picture, the light and silhouette are great. THW got lucky with this pic

We took a break for sun downers and had a beer on the deck. I had enough of that after about 30 minutes and decided to tie on a mouse pattern. I had grabbed a handful of mice from my fly bin the night before and tossed them into my kit bag. Good thing since there were not trout in the pond anymore and it was not just bass and sunfish as you saw above. Todd and Decker took off in the ATV.

I took this pic with the mobile on my way down:

I cast out the fly and it made a nice splat. Thus the name 'splat rat'. I picked up the fly and threw it to the right and as it was engulfed. A bass swallowed it whole! I have only caught one other fish on a mouse and that was a trout last year. What an accomplishment. Hand tied pattern that I came up with and it has worked again. I was stoked.

My fishing was cut short as Todd and Decker drove up. They encountered some brush in the ATV path and got off to move it. Decker did something to her knee and her patella was now a few inches to the right. Not good. I packed up the gear and headed up to the house for triage. We packed that thing in ice and elevated it as the bruises appeared and her knee expanded. 

The knee situation was now under control and the patella was back in place mysteriously. We ate burgers from local cows, corn, salad etc. All local food. The way I like it. We drank through the night, enough that we all played rock band. 


I got up and made a tortilla (its like an omelet with tater pieces in it) from leftovers and local eggs. We ate on the screened in porch and waited for the rain to pass. Decker's jeep filled up with rain the night before and her car horn was going off. Not fun on the ears (it was doing it on her drive home and I'm sure the people in traffic were not pleased). We all got in the car after breakfast and I was dropped off at the Esopus. It is a famous stream that I have read about since a kid. I always thought it was called the 'eee-soap-us' but they called it the 'eee-sop-puss'. They dropped me off at a small trib that I thought was too small to be this famous stream. I hiked down through the woods. Wildflowers and ferns covered the forest floor. I saw no fish and hiked for about 20 min. I had 2.5 hours to fish before they picked me up. There were old stone structures along the bank. 

It was really hot and humid down here. I'm wearing wellies and long sleeves and my glasses are not only fogged up but covered with sweat. I can't remember when I was this sweaty. There was no wind down here and I was drenched. I walked a bit farther and saw bright lite. An opening in the woods:
The opening turns out to be the reservoir where New York City gets its water. I walked the bank and came across a more ferns and wild roses. A  huge bird took off from a branch, it was the biggest eagle I had ever seen. I tromped along the bank and over broken beaver dams and up the bank where I could not walk the shore. I heard flowing water and headed toward it. Before long there was another trib flowing in. I hiked up hoping this stream crossed the same road where I was dropped off. I had about 1.25 hours left. 

I later found out this was the famous Esopus. I fished drop offs, seams, pocket water and runs. I got a few bites but no takes. I was running out of time and had no idea where I was. I decided to jog the bank and fish the best spots. After about 45 minutes of fishing and jogging I came across train tracks. They looked like the ones from Stand By Me. I was a little creeped out, running out of time, and had no idea where I was. I ran along the tracks and came across a gravel road. I knew the reservoir was to the left so I took the road to the right. Before long I heard cars and found a staircase up to the road. 

I walked to the right as that was the direction the others took to Woodstock. I came across civilization and called them for rendezvous. 

We took off to the farm. THW and the snauz went for a ride on the mule and I went mousing.

Decker's cousin showed up and I convinced her to try fly fishing. A brief casting lesson with a 4wt and she was ready to fish. And fish she did. She caught a few big sunfish before she had to take off.

We all piled into the car and drove to the Hudson river for sun downers.

Darkness fell and we returned to the dock. Decker hobled along the sidewalk and we followed. She took us to Ship To Shore. The food was awesome. A lot of Culinary Inst. Of America students stay in the area and open their own places. This place had the most well dressed salad I have ever had and my pasta main course was just as good.


Full belly = time to sleep in car on way home.


Got up and headed straight to the farm pond. THW was on the phone instead of filming. I should have waited for her. There was a bass just off the shore in a sunny spot between piles of vegetation. I cast to the fish and the fish took the fly after one twitch.  She hung up the phone and got some still images. 

Time to head out. We had to watch the world cup match. I had been waiting 4 years for this match. I put on my Andres Iniesta Barca jersey and we took off. We found a bar off 81 in Pa. We had missed the first half but pulled into the 901 Pub in time for the 2nd. 

We opened the door to a dark room full of smoke. It took me a moment to adjust my eyes. We convinced the bar tender to let us put on the match. The tv stations only went up so I had to click 150+ times to get to channel 3. We got the half time report and settled in. 

I was amazed that this place had Broasted Chicken.  The chicken was awesome. Crispy, not greasy. Flavorful. We watched the game and had a few others from 81 pull off the road and join us. Of course Spain won and I was stoked. We got the bill and further fell in love with the place. The food was good, drinks cold, and cheap. Todd's beer was less than my club soda.
We got back on the road after a nearly 2 hour break. Got home around 9 and started to unpack. I need to go finish that now but I would just like to thank Decker's family for a great weekend. It was like staying at a bed and breakfast. Apple orchards, hummingbirds, horses, ATVs, rock band, trout fishing, bass fishing, first timers catching fish, THW catching fish, on and on. 

Ok, time to clean up the chaos in the house.


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