Thank You For Reading My Blog

This blog is about my life as a fly fisherman, guide, and fly fishing instructor in and around Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear Signs

I had planned to spend yesterday afternoon working on my fly lines and watching some English Premiere League matches. I was to drop off THW at the Metro and drive to storage unit and then home. She was going to the rally. I started to see funny costumes and the crowd on the way to D.C. and decided to drop her off in the city to avoid stinky Metro cars. Then I decided what the heck, I'll park along the Tidal Basin, take the bikes off the car (that were going to storage) and pedal to the Mall.

We got on the bikes and hilarity was just around the corner. Here are some of our favorite signs. Note to kids, some are not appropriate.

Here is a list of someone else's top 100 signs. Pretty hilarious.  

This lady has a pro weed sign. The funny part is how she is going to town on her sandwich. Granny gots the munchies.
  This guy is standing on the van which has a high electric beam danger sign to his right.  

 I would have had more funny sign pictures if I had brought my real camera. All I had to work with was the phone. Not the fastest start up to take a pic if someone is walking past you. I missed the girl dressed up as cowgirl and her dog dressed up as a horse with a saddle and a doll riding it. Funny stuff.

It was great to see soo many people come out on a beautiful day. All these people had a great sense of humor, were very clever, and wanted to join in something together. Thanks Colbert and Stewart.


Friday, October 29, 2010

People That Are Doing It | Fly Fishing | Kings Of Leon - Radioactive

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Altitude and Sunburn | Reference to Bryson | Dermatone

The topic of altitude and sun strength came up in a conversation again. People often think that because they are higher up in the atmosphere (like in Coloradoat 5,000-10,000 feet above sea level) that they are closer to the sun and thus it is stronger and as a result, they are more exposed to the sun's rays and can get sunburn easier. That in fact is incorrect. Read the excerpt below from Bill Bryson. And to protect your skin, use Dermatone products, feel the rush,  not the burn! I trust Dermatone to protect my skin when I'm in altitude. It also helps prevent windburn.

Bryson explains how the sun is extremely far away and going 5,000 feet closer to it is not making the sun ray's stronger. It is due to a lack molecular interference from atmospheric oxygen that allows more exposure to the sun's rays. Please read:


"THANK GOODNESS FOR the atmosphere. It keeps us warm. Without it, Earth would be a lifeless ball of ice with an average temperature of minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the atmosphere absorbs or deflects incoming swarms of cosmic rays, charged particles, ultraviolet rays, and the like. Altogether, the gaseous padding of the atmosphere is equivalent to a fifteen-foot thickness of protective concrete, and without it these invisible visitors from space would slice through us like tiny daggers. Even raindrops would pound us senseless if it weren’t for the atmosphere’s slowing drag...............

.................In the 1780s when people began to make experimental balloon ascents in Europe, something that surprised them was how chilly it got as they rose. The temperature drops about 3 degrees Fahrenheit with every thousand feet you climb. Logic would seem to indicate that the closer you get to a source of heat, the warmer you would feel. Part of the explanation is that you are not really getting nearer the Sun in any meaningful sense. The Sun is ninety-three million miles away. To move a couple of thousand feet closer to it is like taking one step closer to a bushfire in Australia when you are standing in Ohio, and expecting to smell smoke. The answer again takes us back to the question of the density of molecules in the atmosphere. Sunlight energizes atoms. It increases the rate at which they jiggle and jounce, and in their enlivened state they crash into one another, releasing heat. When you feel the sun warm on your back on a summer’s day, it’s really excited atoms you feel. The higher you climb, the fewer molecules there are, and so the fewer collisions between them."

To read more, buy the book!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Urban Angler Arlington Va | Presentation on the Smith River in Montana, and Project Healing Waters

Don't think I'll be able to make it to the event unless someone wants to drive me from Alexandria. 

urban angler
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Urban Angler Arlington VA Healing Waters

Join Urban Angler and Mike Geary of Lewis & Clark Expeditions for a presentation on the Smith River, one of Montana’s premier fishing destinations.

Also, learn about Project Healing Waters and the work that Mike does with this inspiring organization.

Snacks, beverages, and fish tales will flow freely.

  Where: Urban Angler - Arlington, VA
2165 North Glebe Road (703) 527-2524

When: Thursday, October 28th from 5:30pm to 7pm

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recent and Not So Recent Photos | The Week In Review

Following up from the last week of fishing and travel from Gravelly Point to Detroit.
Fellow TPFR member Marek and I had planned to fish the outgoing tide at dusk on Thursday. I was prepping the drift boat when TPFR member John arrived. I offered him a spot in the boat and he joined us. Fishing was a bit slow until dark. TPFR members Frank and Stephen fished below us.

John with a schoolie and speckled bass. 

Marek with a schoolie.

Me with a schoolie.

Me with a big crappie.

TheFrank and Stephen wading out on the hard bottom. They were slaying the schoolies left and right.

Before long I had to get home, empty the fishing gear from the car, pack it with road trip materials, and get to bed. We were driving to C'bus in the morning.

At some point we figured out that dr. jones likes to sit between the head rest and your neck in the car. Enjoy the last picture with the bent nose. Surgery in the morning. Can't wait to breathe out of my nose!

From C'bus we drove to Pontiac Michigan. I always thought that if I went to Michigan during the steelhead run I would fish with an old acquaintance, Matt Supinski. Matt owns and operates the Grey Drake Lodge . Not only did I not get a chance to fish, I was not allowed to stop at the Cabelas or Bass Pro shops we passed on the way!

We got to the hotel and stopped at Zoup and I had a bowl of chicken pot pie soup. How indulgent. It had everything inside a chicken pot pie plus a dusting cup of crust crumbs. After lunch we parted the lobby rink rats who were in town for a mighty mites hockey tourny. I gave a shout out to the kid in the Caps jersey. I donned my suit (which I purchased in 1998 and it still fits) and tied on the tie. We took off to the wedding, met Ray Ray in the lobby, enjoyed the service (while sitting near a former Booz Allen co-worker -who also recently left the office-that place has most turnover I have ever seen) and then off to the Iroquois Club for the party.

Leah, the bride, wore a pin of turkey flat and ostrich plume in her hair. I was an immediate fan and wanted to tie flies with it. THW and I sat with some old friends and new friends. The guy next to me fly fishes so the conversation for the night was set. I indulged in the Bell's Two Hearted Ale all night. It was great on tap. I threw in a glass of Dewers 12 for fun. I had some issues with the food. I was confused about the side on the plate, asked the waitress if it was polenta and she said it was grilled chicken. Oops.

The man pulled us over after the reception for not having a working brake light. We got off with a warning and got back to the hotel and went to sleep. We woke up growling bellies. I had to have some food in me. Our car was full of pickled fruits and veggies that Ray Ray made for the guests. I was not ready for that but I was ready for some Cracker Barrel.

We pulled over just after the MI/OH border. I ordered the Uncle Herschel’s Favorite (Two Eggs cooked to order with Grits, Sawmill Gravy, Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits, real Butter and the best Preserves, Jam n’ Apple Butter (on request) we could find. ~plus~ Fried Apples or Hashbrown Casserole ~and~ (choice of one) Hickory Smoked Country Ham, Grilled Pork Chop, Sugar Cured Ham, Fried Chicken Tenderloin) with apple butter and chicken fingers. The waitress asked if there were three people at the table and I said no, just two, I'm that hungry.

We made it back in time for the Sara show at 9:30 club and for me to get prepped for the Tuesday morning trip to Gravelly (outgoing tide) and the afternoon trip to the Tidal Basin. We caught shad, perch, and sunnies at Gravelly. The basin fished slow and no pictures to share. Plenty of fish busting the surface but only one took a fly. We fished the incoming tide at dusk.

Same for last night. Clients cast for two hours and only one nibble. Plenty of tourists watching from above.

Sure enough, I stayed to fish while traffic cleared and caught this fish 5 min after they departed. The fish took the junk spey pattern I have been tying.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sara Bareilles @ 9:30 Club | Vegas <--> Many The Miles

Technically we drove from Ohio to D.C. for this show and it was awesome. It was a long wait from purchasing the tickets in the summer to her show here in D.C. in the fall. This was the first time back to 9:30 club for me since O.A.R. played there in December of 2004!

I was not too keen on having two openers, having gotten in line for the show at 6ish and Sara not going on until well after 9pm. The first opener was a back up singer and guitar/singer/key board player for Sara. They were great and managed to get the energy flowing in the venue. Next up was Greg Laswell. I liked his stuff. I'm not sure what song it was but it was the one I liked the most and it was interrupted by Sara who came on with a handle of Jim Beam for everyone on stage to take shots. I'll have to look into the album (below) and find the song.

Its been a long time since I went to a show at a venue this small, and since then the smartphone explosion and social media. Look at all of the phones out and on during her show. People texting, taking pictures (like me), updating twitter and facebook, etc. The view from the balcony was reminiscent of being in a low flying airplane over a residential area. All of the phones looked like tiny street lights flickering about as pass by. 

Sara came on the stage next and her band opened up with Vegas. I was familiar with Sara's music as I often listen to the radio and watch the music videos on the TV. However I was not a fan until I had Pandora radio on in the background and Vegas came on. I wasn't sure who was singing but had to find out. It was Sara Bareilles. From there I got her albums and watched her Fillmore show on the TV. Her tour came around and we go tickets. Her most recent album Kaleidoscope Heart debuted at number 1. I knew she was musically talented.

I had no idea how funny she was. Each song ended with banter and audience talk and proper usage of the term 'douche bag'. A whiskey drinking, song-writing, properly using profanity-slinger on stage. What a night. She played the piano mostly standing up, acoustic guitar, and a hand powered piano thing. She introduced songs and the inspiration for their lyrics. Overall it was an awesome 2 hours of music. The talent was top notch and the light show was was a compliment to the eyes. It was great to see a favorite artist play in such an intimate venue. She closed out the night with 'Many The Miles.'

Check out her tour schedule and get a ticket before she heads over to Europe for the winter.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

MidCurrent Releases 2011 Fly Fishing Gear Guide

I'm on the road right now in C'bus. I have a drive to Michigan later today. Driving along steelhead alley and no chance to fish. Hope to find a fly shop to stop at and sniff around on the way. In the meantime, check out Masrshall's 2011 Fly Fishing Gear Guide.

MidCurrent Releases 2011 Fly Fishing Gear Guide

By Marshall Cutchin |
This morning MidCurrent releases its 2011 Gear Guide, covering all the new fly rods, reels, lines, waders & boots, apparel, vests & packs, fly tying gear, watercraft, eyewear, luggage, and accessories that will become available to fly fishers in the next 6 months.
MidCurrent's Gear Guide has been several months in the making. Over 305 products (so far) from at least 80 companies are included in this year's Guide. If you've read our new products coverage in years past, you'll notice several changes to the format: new categories, more detailed coverage, videos, and a new design. We made it easy to find products by category and company name, or via search.
Please add your observations, questions and personal reviews to the new product pages (manufacturers do read them and respond). And If there is something missing or a new product you feel should be included, let us know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Essential Gear | Protective Glasses

Fishing during the day has now turned into fishing at night for us. We are targeting hungry bass in low to zero light. I'm not a fan of getting a fish hook stuck in any body part. Most you can just pull out and have a minor puncture wound. However, there is one place that should always be protected. Night or day. Your eyes. Get a hook in your eye and you have more than just a puncture wound.

Most anglers wear sunglasses but not a whole lot wear eye protection at night. I wear a cheap pair from the local nuts and bolts supply store. They are clear and allow me to see as if I were not wearing them. They fit snug over my nose (soon to be straightened next week, I can't wait to breathe out of my nose for the first time) and don't fog up.

Getting a cheap or inexpensive pair of these glasses  - intended for lawn mowing or other activities where stuff can get in your eyes, is a rather simple way of preventing an injury. 

If you are afraid you might drop your spectacles in the drink, well then you should invest in a pair of nexstraps.

Weekend Round Up | Saturday > Sunday

Saturday found me on the lake for 6 straight hours of paddling. The fishing was slow and then picked up and then slowed down again. This happened throughout the day. Everyone learned to cast a fly rod and was rewarded with fish on the other end. I can't complain about the weather. It was in the mid 80's and sunny. Sunfish and bass were fooled by the flies. The  youngest angler was 9 years old. The drift boat makes lake fishing so much easier. We can carry more gear, food and drinks, and more than one client. Here are some of the early morning images of the boat.

Sunday had great casting and lousy fishing. The weather was in the upper 90's and not a cloud in sight. We fished the outgoing tide on the Potomac and did not even get a nibble. We saw small fish being chased by larger fish but could not entice them to bite a fly. I was quickly getting dehydrated as I was not prepared for the heat and sun. We drifted and fished with the anchor down. Changed patterns and lines. Nothing worked. Everyone learned to cast a fly which was great. The casting was better than the fishing.

I stopped at the CVS on the way home and chugged two of those .99 Arizona ice teas. That was very refreshing.

This week will have dusk excursions for striped bass in the tidal portion of the Potomac. The tides will be changing at dark and the fish should pick up. Book a trip now and get a fly out to those fish. Some are pushing 24".

Saturday, October 9, 2010

OK Go - White Knuckles - Official Video

I had the day off today. I was able to get up and watch VH1 top 20 videos. Came across this one and think it is amazing.

Fly Fishing "Hot Spots" and Crowding

The following is an e-mail from TPFR President, Dan Davala

"I have a few opinions and philosophies on this topic that I’d like to share. None of these are directed at any individual either, so we’ll get that right out of the way.

For whatever reason, I have always been very aware of contradictions and double standards in all walks of life, and fishing happens to be full of them. I’m certainly guilty of a few myself, but I always try to pan out and play devil’s advocate by looking at the big picture from a different angle. This is why I have always been so quick to point out how many non-native and technically “invasive” species we fish for on a regular basis without having an issue whenever the topic of the Snakehead comes up. Brown Trout in this country, Great Lakes Salmon and Steelhead, Brookies out West, Rainbows out East, Largemouth and Smallmouth in the Potomac (established in 1854) etc., etc., etc. We are all entitled to our opinions and preferences regarding these species, but in a black and white sense they are the same.

About the issue of “hot-spotting”, “spot-burning”, or whatever we want to call it, we really need to pan out and get a wider view as this is another topic where double standards abound. For instance, I’ve never been in a fly shop anywhere that didn’t carry a wide selection of local guidebooks, and even guidebooks for other states and regions thousands of miles away. The authors of these books are often regarded as local celebrities and are invited to shops and events to sign their books and talk about local opportunities. These books include everything – maps, where to park, where to access the water, what flies to have, where to eat, where to sleep, etc. Most shops (mine included) have no problem burning 100 spots at a time for the price of $28, and most anglers don’t even think of it in this way when we are paying it. I know because before I sold these books I bought them all myself, and I still do. Yes, it still requires a bit of exploration, but I sure wouldn’t call it finding our own fishing spots. Destination pieces in Fly Fishing magazines are no different, all of which feature “if you go”, “what to bring”, “where to stay” sections.

Another double standard is how quick we all are (not just shops, but fellow fishers) to “burn” a spot when it is in someone else’s region. ALL of the Erie and Ontario tribs are a great example of this. Most of us here locally have no problem trading good access points, streams, pull-offs, trails, cheap hotels, less crowded runs, best times to go to avoid crowds, etc. when it comes to planning a Great Lakes Steelhead trip. But all we’re doing is burning the local spots up there, they just don’t happen to be “ours”. Come to think of it, why do our area shops (mine included) even stock Salmon and Steelhead flies, lines, and tackle to begin with? It can only be to supply our local anglers and send them to OTHER PEOPLE‘S HOT-SPOTS, either by plane, train, or auto. There isn’t even a Steelhead fishery within 5 hours of here. The closest thing would have to be the annual late winter run of “Mcchonaughy” rainbows that make a spawning run up the Jackson from Lake Moomaw. Ooops, was that a secret? Nope, it’s right here on page 61 in Beasley’s book, and 248 in Hart’s.
Besides our typical fall/winter Steelhead trips, I’m sure more than a few of us on this board will head to the Northeast for Stripers and Blues, or down to Harkers for Albies in the next few months. Anyone have a spring Tarpon trip to the Keys planned? Who’s spots are these? I’m sure the locals at those destinations would tell you. It really is no different.

I’ve always felt that if we can spill information and “burn” other people’s hot-spots in other regions and can’t share our own local ones with each other then there’s something wrong with this picture. At least here through TPFR, it’s not for profit and serves the purpose of educating our local fly fishing community about the great fishing we have at our fingertips, some of which is quite unique to our watershed. It is a local board, not a regional or national one, and while I realize the message board can be viewed on-line by non-members, I doubt many out-of-towners will be traveling or commuting through traffic into the D.C. area on a day off to catch an outgoing tide at Gravelly. For those traveling to the area on business, or planning a potential move to the area for a job on the other hand, I hope they scour the internet and find our site. When they do, at least they will know there is plenty of fly fishing here and a friendly group of anglers willing to help them out.
I agree with Richie and his “certain bearded employee” 100% about teaching people how to FIND good fishing spots. We could even call Gravelly the “Sacrificial Lamb” of the Tidal Potomac since access is easy and it has so much to teach us. Here is an excerpt from a post I made on this topic last year when the topic of crowding at Gravelly came up. On November 2, 2009 I wrote:

“Next, I want to emphasize that Gravelly Point is not an anomaly. These are not the only Stripers in the river, and Stripers don’t only gather at Gravelly Point. It should, however, be viewed as an excellent classroom for how, where, and when to look for fish in a Tidal River, at least from shore. There is a tremendous population of Stripers in the river, and they are always looking to feed. Outgoing tides at Gravelly are desirable, but incoming tides will concentrate these fish in other areas too. What Gravelly Point does have is predictable, concentrated tidal flow, and a good population of baitfish coming out of the Duck Pond. Look at it on the map, and apply what you have learned to other places that share these characteristics. Both outflows of the Tidal Basin are examples, but there are so many others, all the way down the river to the Bay. Look at all the tidal creeks spilling in. Get creative, explore, discover, and share your experiences (successful or not) just as we have here. This is a HUGE river, and there is no reason we should limit ourselves to one spot, even though it is a good one.”

It might be a good time for new members to review that post here: Alek’s post is a great example of applying the dynamics found at Gravelly and finding them in another place, at the mouth of Little Hunting Creek. It is also a fine example of a completely unselfish post and demonstrates the type of sharing this club is built upon. Thank you Alek. If anyone is mad at Alek for posting about Little Hunting, don’t be, I posted about it last

November here: People wanting to keep a resource all to themselves is nothing new, in fact it is quite normal. What is not normal is having such a large group of fly anglers so willing to share information with each other, and for that I am very proud of this club. This level of camaraderie in a fly fishing club is truly unique. How many of you now know and regularly fish with people you didn’t know before joining TPFR? How many of you have learned things you didn’t know about fly fishing, this fishery, or casting since getting involved? To all of you who have contributed to the knowledge base and growth of this club, I thank you and I encourage you to continue. 
See you all on the River,

P.S. If there’s one thing this club has definitely done is pull a LOT of pressure OFF many of the smaller, more fragile fisheries in the region. If anyone is looking for solitude, I suspect there is a lot more of it available out there now."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tying Tube Flies On A Budget - No Vise Required

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Orvis Days Clarendon

10:00 AM
Come in Saturday morning for the ultimate test of your fly casting skills!  The roof of our store will be converted into a multi-station obstacle course that will test the mettle of even the most seasoned fly angler.  Challenges will include the Hoopdie Loop, Fly Rod Bowling, Going the Distance, and Rapid Fire!  Every obstacle focuses on a different casting principle, and our expert FFF Certified Instructors will be on hand to help you master each one.  (Limited Space Available - please visit the store to sign up, or call to reserve a spot.)

12:00 PM

Where can I fly fish around here? Who can I fish with? What do I need? What do I do?  In 2009, Our Fishing Manager Dan Davala founded Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders to help answer these questions once and for all.  Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders is a charter club of the FFF with a focus on our Nation’s River and its tributaries.  Through this club, we’ve built an awareness and excitement for this world class fishery, and the year round fly fishing opportunities it offers.  Come in today and speak with Dan and other TPFR members to find out more about the FFF, what we are doing, and how you can get involved.
3:00 PM


If you REALLY want to stretch your line this fall and winter, Russ Wilkinson is the guy that can get it done!  He is currently booking trips to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and these spots fill quickly.  Don’t spend the winter indoors dreaming of the next season, book a day with Russ, brave the cold, and have some of the best fishing of your life.  Russ will be in the shop today to discuss these upcoming opportunities, and share his knowledge about this incredible fishery.

9:00 AM

Back by popular demand our Fly Fishing 101 class will introduce you to the sport we are all so passionate about.  This FREE THREE HOUR COURSE will provide expert instruction on the basics and set you up for success.  In the shop, you will learn all about equipment, flies, and basic rigging with hands-on knot tying lessons.  Then, our FFF Certified Instructors will demystify the basic fly cast with a hands-on clinic on the roof of our store.  Don’t miss this opportunity.  Start the rest of your fly fishing life today! 

(Limited Space Available - please visit the store to sign up, or call to reserve a spot.)
3:00 PM

Have you ever looked in your fly box at those intricate little patterns and wondered how in the world someone made those tiny things?  Come in today and learn how to tie one yourself.  All tools, materials, and instruction will be provided, and there will be opportunities to sign up for fall/winter fly tying classes.

(Limited Space Available - please visit the store to sign up, or call to reserve a spot.)

11:00 AM

It’s that time of year again!  Every fall when the water temperature drops in the Tidal Potomac River, thousands of baitfish move out of the tributaries and head for deeper water.  Most of them never make it!   BIG HUNGRY STRIPERS lie in wait and ambush them on the way out, and those in the know are at the right place at the right time swinging a Clouser through the melee.  This is your opportunity to target Stripers over 30” on the fly, from shore, within city limits!  Come in today for a presentation on the conditions, flies, locations, and techniques necessary to get in on some of the best Tidal Potomac fly fishing of the year!

2:00 PM

Orvis in Arlington has been instrumental in pioneering the use of two-handed rods and Spey Casting techniques on the Tidal Potomac River.  Come in today for a free seminar on Spey and Switch rods, and learn why they are powerful tools for unlocking many of the fishing opportunities we have on this big river.  Find out the differences in casting styles, and the pros and cons of many of the different lines available for these outfits.  Upcoming on the water Spey Casting Clinics will be announced.

4:00 PM

It’s October, and big Stripers are feeding in the Tidal Potomac River.  Come attend a free fly tying class and learn how to tie some proven Striped Bass patterns.  All tools, materials, and instruction will be provided and you get to keep everything you tie.  There will also be opportunities to sign up for one of our popular winter fly tying classes.  (Limited space available - please visit the store to sign up, or call to reserve a spot.)

9:00 AM

Back by popular demand our Fly Fishing 101 class will introduce you to the sport we are all so passionate about.  This FREE THREE HOUR COURSE will provide expert instruction on the basics and set you up for success.  In the shop, you will learn all about equipment, flies, and basic rigging with hands-on knot tying lessons.  Then, our FFF Certified Instructors will demystify the basic fly cast with a hands-on clinic on the roof of our store.  Don’t miss this opportunity.  Start the rest of your fly fishing life today! 

(Limited Space Available - please visit the store to sign up, or call to reserve a spot.)

3:00 PM

Have you ever looked in your fly box at those intricate little patterns and wondered how in the world someone made those tiny things?  Come in today and learn how to tie one yourself.  All tools, materials, and instruction will be provided, and there will be opportunities to sign up for fall/winter fly tying classes.
(Limited Space Available - please visit the store to sign up, or call to reserve a spot.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Weekend Round Up | Morning Trout - Afternoon Stripers

Saturday was a cold morning. Temps in the low 40's. I packed the Miata around 0630 and had to put the top down to fit the two piece rods. I was wearing several layers and a windproof hat. I took off into the mountains to Boonsboro Md. I was meeting other Project Healing Waters volunteers and Wounded Warriors at a gas station. I pulled in early and was the only one with out a gun rack in my car.

The sun was coming up and the temps steadily rose. I shed one layer at a time and was comfortably down to a long sleeve shirt and khakis. Everyone drove to the designated parking lot to fish the chalk stream. The stream was mostly current less. I had to drop some twigs in the stained water to see which direction the water was flowing. I fished with a local angler. We used my rod and reel and his fly.

I chose to take pictures rather than fish. The stream was cold and lined by thick woods. A limestone barn or mill was adjacent to the water with a loch or waterfall and plunge pool. The morning light was perfect. I felt as if I were fishing an English chalkstream.  I was on the other side of the stream when Del hooked into a big fish. Everyone had nets and I brought my big 49" net. Our nets were too small. Del landed the fish after a rather lethargic fight from a big fish in small water. There was a lack of bugs coming off the water and we could not see into the water to observe aquatic life such as cress bugs, baitfish, or where the fish were hiding.

I am awaiting word from some of the others before I post their pictures and big fish. I would like to thank the local clubs and organizations for providing us the opportunity to fish this section, providing local knowledge, and a BBQ lunch.

The morning was over and I had to head back home. THW wanted to go out on the boat. I am not one to drive over the speed limit. Thus I found it amazing that I made it home from Hagerstown Md. to Annandale in one hour. I picked up THW and dr jones and loaded striper gear into the boat, hooked up the boat, and headed to the Potomac.

We got to the river just as the outgoing tide was picking up. There was a glitter boat convention of some sorts in the lot so parking was tight. I had a bit of trouble putting the boat in with the crowd. I loaded the gear and dr jones in the boat with THW and we shoved off. Talk about one nervous dog. His first time in the boat may be his last. He was shaking. We had his dog bed but he opted to sit on THW's lap.

I rowed out across the channel and anchored below the bait and plug casters. THW was enjoying a podcast and the sunshine. I was enjoying schoolie stripers. I lost count of the schoolies and caught two speckled bass. dr jones freaked out every time a fish came to the boat. He hates anything that moves, stinkbugs, squirrels, birds, rabbits, etc. Put a flopping fish in front of him and he was not happy. He wanted to kill the fish.

There were two other fly rodders out there. I  had my back turned to them so I did not see how they were doing. The water was rushing out of the tunnel. The anchor line was covered with SAVs. Fish were busting along the shore. The sun had gone past the Crystal City buildings and I could finally get a respite from the sun. It was getting dark and we decided to head home.

The angler by the tunnel posted on the TPFR board that he did really well at dusk. He landed a 27" striper at dusk. Too bad we didn't stay out there. This was about the biggest fish I took that day.

 Sunday morning was dark, chilly, and windy. I met my clients in Reston with the drift boat. Leah had her father's rod and reel. The reel was an old automatic and the rod appeared to be made from aluminum. It was rather heavy and she was determined to use it.

The wind was brutal as I rowed across the lake. It was nice to have the wind at our back and push the boat along the shore. We started off with a lesson in the basic casting strokes. They learned just what they needed for today.  The fishing was slow. Just a few bites and nibbles on the first 3/4 of the right bank. We had the classic scorpion and damsel dropper rig. The cool nights and recent rains have lowered the water temperature. The fish are starting to put on their last chance for winter fat. Their metabolism is slowing and they were not active enough to take flies on top. After about half an hour the fishing started to pick up. Not only did it pick up, we got a double hook up. The sunfish were big. Both took the dropper.

I have to give props to Leah for fishing the heavy rod in the wind and not complaining. I had an arsenal of lighter rods and she opted to keep fishing hers. This was the first time I have fished with an automatic reel since middleschool. For those of you who don't know, there is no handle to reel in the line. You simply lift a lever and the reel pulls in the line for you.

We crossed the lake and I began rowing into the wind. Leah hooked a nice fish on the dropper. I suggested she fight it on the automatic. She clicked the lever and the fish slack was tightened. The fish ran and pulled line off the reel. I thought this was one big sunfish. After a few more runs and a solid bend in the rod the fish came to the boat. It was a nice largemouth.

A few more big sunnies and a few small largemouth were landed in the next hour. I was pushing water and not making much progress. The two hour session was over and it was time to pull up the boat and head to the Potomac.

The sky was getting dark and there was a bit of drizzle hitting the car. I'm glad I was wearing waders and my Patagonia paddle jacket. I had spare jackets in the boat for my next clients. I got to the river a bit early, put in the boat, and paddled out to see what was going on. The wind was picking up. I paddled back to the docks where a kid was hanging out.

His brothers were bait fishing at the tunnel and just left him alone. He was wearing a single glove in homage to the king of pop. He had never been on an airplane but he went to visit his grandfather who lives in Antarctica. This was the same grandfather who was going to buy a Lamborghini to drive down there. I had no idea what this kid was talking about but it was entertaining. My clients arrived just after five. They asked if the kid was getting on the boat with us, thinking he was with me. I said I had no idea who he was and that he was surely not going to join us.

We got out into the current and dropped anchor. I like fishing this section from a boat. Here is why:
  • you don't need waders
  • there are no trees to catch on the back cast
  • you don't have to deal with the litter on shore
  • you don't have to deal with crowds on shore
  • you don't have to throw huge roll casts to get the line out, you are just a rods length from the fish
Stripping in Clousers was not producing any fish. I rigged up the rods with a white damsel and
Thingamabobber Strike Indicator as we talked about stream restorations, clean water laws, national parks, and loud airplanes. We were eating sunflower seeds and spitting the shells into the water. This was on purpose to determine the current. Before long the seeds went from going upstream to downstream. The tide was changing. We were dead drifting nymphs in the current and the fish picked up. One small white perch and several schoolies. The rain was not coming down and it was October rain. Cold. We had an hour left but the clients were satisfied that they had learned to cast and had caught fish. It was time to head to shore.

I was going to Masala Art in D.C. and had to get home, shower, and change. Time to pull the boat out and head home.

Monday morning had the same weather. Cold, win, and rain. I met the father and son client at the boat ramp. We were about an hour late on the tide change. The water was still rushing out but had already dropped 2 feet. The water was skinny. We started off with the dropper rig and caught a smallmouth fairly early.

The fishing turned off from there. We drifted and paddled along the shore. Several bites from smaller fish but no takes. It was nice wearing a knit cap to cover my ears and protect from the loud rush of the planes. We changed location, switched flies, and kept at it. With all of the different flies being thrown the casting strokes improved. My hands were cold and they still are. Its cold out and in here.

The tides are not great to fish Gravelly this week. I hope to sign up some clients to fish the incoming tide at the Tidal Basin. I just ordered 200 hooks on the ebay so I can start tying up striper flies. That is the focus of the season from here on out. Stripers Stripers Stripers. 

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