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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Version of the Caine/Hackman Theory

If you don't know about the Caine/Hackman Theory, it goes like this: There's always a Michael Caine film on TV. In fact, the Caine/Hackman theory states that, no matter what time it is, 24 hours a day, you can find a Michael Caine or Gene Hackman movie playing on TV. http://www.citizencaine.org/faq/

You may know this from the legendary 90's comedy PCU. This movie was great not only because it was like watching a documentary of my school, Mary Washington College, but it had George Clinton in it and the band named 'Everyone Gets Laid'.
















Pigs is writing his senior dissertaion on the matter. In one epic scene he is watching tv and comes across a movie starring both Caine and Hackman. He has the finale to his thesis. He stands up as he has been watching
TV for a long time and falls over.

 He shouts 'Pins & Needles' as his legs have been asleep for some time.




I recently had my own version of the theory. Lets call it the Boy Meets World/Fly Fishing Theory. If you (and by you, I mean myself) watch enough Boy Meets World and Fly Fishing shows on TV, you will eventually come across them together. And so I provide to you the clincher to my theory: Sean has a date over at the Matthews house. Not just any date mind you, its Veronica Watson!!!  

Mr. and Mrs. Matthews come home early from a dinner and find Sean and his date making out on the couch. Mr. Matthews sits down next to Sean in sort of a cock blocking, preventing Sean Jr. sort of move. He turns on the TV and guess what is on? FLY FISHING





And for you Boy Meets World fans, I know you were wanted a picture of Topanga. So here you go:


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Preparing For Colorado Drive

I'm driving out to Breckenridge next month. I don't ski. I don't have the coordination. What I do out there is fish with Tom and eat. Here are the reasons I'm driving:

  • I can take the wife and baby's stuff with me
  • I can bring my favorite rod, my Orvis Henry's Fork 2 piece 5wt
  • I can bring my cigar cutter and lighter
  • I can bring my long handled net
  • I can bring dr. jones
  • I can buy fireworks on the way back
  • I can see parts of the country one would normally not see
  • I can bring back micro brews that you can't get here in the Old Dominion
  • I can bring gear that won't fit on the plane
  • I'll also have to bring my cooking gear (knives, pots, pans etc) for the condo as we'll be there for a few weeks
  • my ting gear
  • camp stove and fuel
  • my car (a whole lot cheaper than a rental, and I can smoke cigars in it)
  • a big knife 

As I prepare, I need to clean out my car. I need to put things in it like sleeping bags for me and the hound as we camp in Kansas the first night. I need to pick up road flares and junk food. I'll eat jerky, chips, funions, sunflower seeds, dr. pepper, hot tamales, and cool ranch doritos. You have to pop the bags of chips once you get into Colorado as the air pressure expands them.

I plan on staying at Tom's house the first two nights. I will fish the South Platte for #carp on Sunday as I have gotten some good spots from #FishChat and then pick up my ladies on Monday. We'll head to some Denver biscuit place and gorge ourselves before we drive to the mountains.

I plan on listening to a lot of podcasts. Mike O'meara show, Fish Schtick, Itinerant Angler, Outdoor Podcast, TED Talks, and Live 2 Fly Fish Radio. I might do a book on tape. I am a fan of Bill Bryson so I'll listen to 'Short History' as I do often.

I have not had a solo adventure for a while so I'm looking forward to this one. I hope the jet stream takes a break and doesn't dump a lot of snow on Kansas that week but then starts to dump in the mountains in the days we get there.

I'll be prepared with my pack snow shovel and floor mats in case we get stuck in the snow.

Things I need to tie before I get going:
  • Juju midges
  • micro eggs
  • mysid shrimps 
  • mouse
  • floating midge cripples 






















I plan on fishing 11 Mile Canyon, Dream Stream, Blue River, Colorado  River, Frying Pan, Roaring Fork, Eagle River, and some other places that Tom knows that I won't tell you about.

More updates a the days get closer.

Stood Up By Client --> Went Carp Fishing

What to do when  your client does not show? We fished on Saturday and agreed that he would put down a deposit electronically that night and we would meet at the same place, same time the next day.

The deposit didn't arrive. I waited in the lot for an hour. I called him. Nothing. I was already wearing 3 layers of clothing and had a rod strung up for carp. I walked down to 4 Mile Run and got in.

Steam was rising off the water as the hot water discharge upstream was filling the stream. I had observed feeding carp while on the overpass so I knew where they would be. I tied on two carp flies and started casting.

I foul hooked a brute of maybe 12lbs. It got hooked in the tail and headed straight upstream. I was on one side of a piling in shallow water and it was on the other side in the deep. It was a tough fight. I didn't know it was tail hooked until I got it to landing distance. I popped the hook out and off came a few silver dollar sized slimy scales.

Carp were breaching all over. That's not a carp to the right. That's snow melt coming down from the bridge. The goldfish were also in abundance.

There was one guy downstream working the next set of bridges. Didn't see him hook up. One guy in the lot stated he got a bunch of gizzard shad (gross). 

I switched up my nymph and started at it again. It was hard to see where I was casting as it was overcast and every time I exhaled the steam obscured my vision. I had two feeding carp in front of me along a drop off. I cast upstream and drifted my flies to them. One of them sucked in with a puff of mud and the fight was on. The fish ran up the deep channel between pilings and I got it back down. It went for deep water and I pulled it back. I couldn't land this fish (around 8-10lb) where I was. I backed up on the mud flat to shallow water. This fish did not like the shallows. It fought harder. I got the leader just up to my rod tip and was preparing my fish moth grips to land the fool when it threw my hook.

It was a great morning. My first carp almost landed on the fly since May of 2011. I would have rather made money to pay the bills and get diapers for the baby but life isn't always so easy.


I took this picture the day before on the mud flats. These 'pock marks' are from the carp feeding at high tide. Some of them have some huge mouths. Use the oak leaf below as a sign of how big the mouths really are.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Road Music | Throwback


Here is one of my favorite bands to listen to while in the car. The band broke up a few years ago so you won't find anything new. Search them out on the internet, find their albums, download their live shows. The  song that got me hooked was 'Border Crossing.'

I got into Throwback just as they called it quits. Their harmonies were so well laid out you'll try to sing along with them thinking  you've nailed it. I'm a huge fan of the high hat. Their percussion was spot on. Lots of cymbals and bongos thrown in. I first heard about them through the o.a.r. message board and by the time I got around to wanting to see them live, it was too late. Here is a brief biography of the band:


"The group came together as a trio in 2002, when singer-songwriter Erik Lind teamed up with lead guitarist Mike Libis and drummer/percussionist Micah Shapiro at McGill University. Excited support soon spilled off campus as they kept up a regular concert schedule in and around the Montreal area. After bassist Lisa (Dee) Perusse joined in 2003, the quartet expanded their enthusiastic fan base to the United States.

Citing a difference in musical direction among members, Throwback announced in March of 2006 that the band would be separating indefintely."


They have yet to make it on Spotify.  


Two Steps Closer


Black Coffee


Monday, January 16, 2012

Should Have Stayed In Bed

The plan today was to meet up at Gravelly Point and head south on the river to Blue Plains. I had been tying up carp flies all week and even had a few carp-filled dreams over the past few days.

Dalton, David, and I were set to meet up at 10am at the boat ramp. The outside temp was 24 degrees. I couldn't have been that cold as my neighbors still had their windows open. They must be from Saskatchewan or Lapland or someplace cold.

I layered up.

  1. Feet: Smartwool socks
  2. Legs: Patagonia silk weight --> 686 mid layer --> Patagonia puff pants
  3. Torso: Patagonia silk weight ls --> Patagonia mid weight --> Barbour wool sweater --> North Face Nupste down vest --> Kokatat paddle jacket 
  4. Hands: old Orvis fold over mitts
  5. Head: Turtle Fur neck gator --> Smartwool balaclava --> Patagonia platypus hat
  6. Skin: The little exposed skin covered in Dermatone Z cote. 
I wasn't planning on going in except to launch the boat. Those layers were just for the cold air temps!
The tide was low and incoming. There was ice on the ponds as I passed the golf course and ice on the edges of Roaches Run. Ice formed on the boat ramp.

The wind was howling, blowing in from the south at what I later learned was 23 mph. We loaded up the boat and pulled out into the main channel.

The water was brown from the wind. Whitecaps surrounded us. Water was blowing into the boat. Dalton was not wearing waders and quickly getting soaked. We putt-putted into a rising tide and a southern wind with major gusts. It was 70 degrees warmer last time I fished with David! Today was cold, and windy, and wet.

As we passed the southern end of the airport I noticed we had taken on a lot of water. I cut the engine and we started to bail the water. Emptied Nalgene bottles and Gatorade jugs worked ok. I started up again and went a bit slower to achieve a more even plane with the boat. We stopped taking on water and sped up a bit. We could see the point approaching. I thought my spine would stab my brain from the boat bouncing up and down.

As we pulled in we were surrounded by a massive school of gizzard shad. They darted this way and that to get out of the way of the boat. We could see just their backs sticking out as the water had virtually no visibility.

I cut the engine and dropped anchor in what is usually super clear water. I couldn't see a thing. Dalton and David strung up their rods. I decided to focus on safety and bailing of the water we still had. So at this point my hands are about 4" deep in the water pooled at the stern of the boat. My fingers are numb. Good thing I brought my dry top to prevent water from soaking up my sleeve.
 

The waves were relentless. Water was splashing all around. The boat rocked back and forth and up and down. I had to keep my eye on the horizon to keep from getting sea sick. The wind was pushing the boat up stream!

The anchor was dragging on the bottom. We were drifting back up toward the monuments. The boat usually faces downstream, it was now pointing and moving up. Dalton sort of dead drifted a fly. I think he realized it wasn't worth it. David tied on one of my carp bugs and was tossing it with a sink tip. There were gizzard shad all around us and a few carp bounced out. We drifted around the point and got a break from the wind. David landed two oak leaves. We decided to call it a day. It just wasn't worth it.

After maybe 10 minutes of fishing we pulled anchor and motored back up. The waves going up were HUGE. Whitecaps rolled around us. The boat went up and down, as the wind was at our back it was much easier traveling.

We pulled into the boat ramp around noon. The docks were almost covered in water. Lots of water moving upstream from the wind plus the high tide. We pulled the boat out, packed our gear, and got the heck out of there.

My hands still hurt. I took a hot shower and just had a mug of tea. Still hurt.

I offered the lads a rain check to go out again when its warmer and not as windy. I'll keep y'all updated.




Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Look Who's Fly Fishing | Scooter Store Edition

This commercial came on the other day. I usually don't pay much attention to the scooter commercials. There is the one that is owned by a Tom Cruz which made my chemistry co-worker and I laugh when we ate our lunches and watched the Price Is Right.

So I was looking at the pepaw in the scooter and noticed some fishing gear in the room. I took a further glance to figure out what junior was doing in the background. Turns out the kid was tying flies. He had one of those Orvis rotary vises.


There is a nice grey vest hanging up. A big reel displayed for us to see, is that a toy pole horse behind pepaw? Can't figure out what the kid is doing. Looks like he's brushing out a fly or a barbie's wig. The blue pole in the background is quite blue.

Or is that kid sharpening a knife? he looks shifty. That hair helmet and all, pepaw need to watch his back.




Does anyone else think this kids hair looks like a Lego

Monday, January 9, 2012

There's Something About Mary | Have You Seen My Barbed Hook?

We always reference this great movie when discussing barbed hooks in people. There really were not any good screen shots of Ben Stiller with the hook in his face from the movie. Until now!

The movie came on last week and I watched and waited with camera on and waited.

If you ever need another reason to de-barb  your hooks, let this be one:







Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winter Carp Update

Trent, Damon, and I went out on the drift boat to Blue Plains today. Had a bit of a delayed start as the engine would not start up. We finally pulled out of Gravelly around 10ish and headed straight down river.  The ride down was uneventful. The views of the monuments (Washington, Jefferson) and Capitol building made for great scenery.

It took probably 20-30 minutes to pull into the fishing spot. As soon as we came across the mud flats we spooked a myriad of carp. Enough that the crystal clear water turned brown from them taking off.  We dropped anchor and started fishing.

I hooked into a monster of a carp which proceeded to run toward the boat and then take a sharp turn toward the water treatment facility. The outgoing line burned my index finger. I think its time to invest in one of those goofy stripping guards for my finger.







The last fish I hooked that was this strong was a salmon. Some people call the carp a trash fish and not worth of catching on a fly rod. You can disregard their opinion. You know what they say about opinions? They are like arse holes, everybody has one.





The fly I hooked the carp on was a purple dragon. I don't have any pics to show you at the moment. Its a hybrid between my Snowhite Hellgrammite and my Bacon fly. In purple. I then tied on a rubber legged stonefly on the back.

We got into some gizzard shad. And by getting into them, I mean the water was black. Black because the school of them was so dark it blocked out the light. We foul hooked the filthy creatures. We pulled anchor and moved over to the water output. It stank. We didn't stick around there too long. We were able to distinguish the schools of shad down below in the clear water by the koi/goldfish mixed in. A bright orange beacon mixed in with black fish.

With air temps in the 50's we thought the place would be crowded. We saw 3-4 other bass boats on the water at the spot. Maybe everyone was at home watching a Paula Dean marathon or the NFL playoffs.






We rowed back up to the schools of carp. Some of the carp were monsters. They looked like tarpon or small sharks coming up onto the flats. Some solo, some in schools of easily a dozen or more. They would come by the boat unfazed, some would pass by and get spooked by us. No luck. We pulled anchor and fished along the parking pier. We saw some monster fish under the pier. Trent had a shad take his Clouser. Not sure if it was foul hooked as the fly was right near the mouth. We passed the pier without a hookup.

It felt good to be behind the oars. Its been months since I rowed. Good excercise.











Damon hooked into a fish on his Clouser along the rocky shore. Nothing was producing, I pulled anchor and we moved back up to the carp spot. Trent and I each got a bite. The water was one giant school of carp. Muddy. The carp were mudding all around us. The only thing I landed was some stick fish.







We pulled anchor after a few hours at Blue Plains and headed up to Four Mile Run. This is the last time I do that. Its a pain in the arse to get to . The mouth is one giant mud flat. Its very hard to get through there with out dragging the motor on the bottom. Once up there we saw lots of shad and Trent hooked into some bluegill. I spotted one carp and a few goldfish. It wasn't worth staying. It was now past 2pm.








The old coal plant.


We were all hungry. We floated from the Rte 1 bridge to the mouth by the end of the airport runway, lit the engine, and headed back. The wind picked up and we were headed straight into it. I was wearing fingertips gloves and my fingers are burning. The ride back sucked. You have to go down through that mud flat, then south toward the Wilson Bridge, then make a U-turn about a quarter mile south of the airport. Once you do that its all an upstream battle into the wind.

Some guys powered past us with a 250 horsepower outboard. They rubbed it in our faces as we had a 9.9.



Still have not found a safe way to store the rods in the boat.















 The view of the monuments on the way back up river. Brrrr






We got to Gravelly around 3pm. It was easy to unpack the boat and pack the car with the help of the lads. I can't wait to tie up some smaller and heavier flies for next time we go out. We'll figure out the carp and get some pics of them in the boat. We'll bring some snacks too.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fly Fishing for Ohio Steelhead | Chagrin River

I have been making the drive to Columbus, Ohio several times a year since May of 2001. That is where the wife grew up and where her parents still reside. They all speak Russian at the house and I don't. I don't understand the conversation so I decided to have a fishing adventure instead. Unfortunately, Russians don't come with subtitles.

I have known about the Ohio steelhead fishery 'Steelhead Alley' for several years but never made the foray into that realm.  I have fished Alum creek and some random pond in the past. This year I decide to finally go north and wet a line in the lake Erie tributaries.

I did some basic research on the internet about where to fish. I came up with the maps on the Ohio DNR website. I sent out a request for information on the Itinerant Angler forum. The guys there sent me private messages with loads of good information. Now all I had to do was pack my bags and gear in the car. This was the first road trip with the baby so I had the car packed to the ceiling with her stuff. I dedicated the space between her car seat and the drivers seat for my gear. Patagonia waders, Korkers boots, Orvis Helios switch, Temple Fork Outfitters switch, large arbor reel, back pack of fly boxes and leader material. Patagonia rain jacket, hats, fingertipless gloves, and neck gator.

We drove up on Xmas eve. We stopped at Cabelas so I could return a shoulder bag that fell apart and to return a net that was too big. I replaced it with the same model that kid dropped in the Potomac during the shad run in 2011.

I drove over to Dublin, Ohio on the day after Xmas to Mad River Outfitters. I have been shopping at this store for years. I had planned on picking up some tying material while there. I walked in and was greeted by Lou behind the desk. Before I could start shopping I was deep in conversation about the steelhead fishery. I inquired where to go and got a plethora of information. I always support the local fly shops, especially when they give me information. I was given a fishing spot before I had even bought anything. Kudos to the employees here.




Lou told me to head north to the Chagrin River. He told me to look for Todd Field. His preferred method is to throw an egg with a streamer trailer. Apparently the fishing would be awesome around Easter. I'll have to make a trip if I can get away from snakeheads and shad this spring.

I wrote Lou's info down on a little pad of paper. We then discussed muskie fishing and 'walking-the-dog' type flies. He told me to check out Apex Flies and you should too. I picked out some purple zonkers, some barbell eyes, and some orange McFly foam for micro eggs for the trip out west next month. If I wasn't needed back at the house so quickly I would have stayed around and chatted some more. I had to get back to take over baby duty and start my internet and map research.

I got home and hit up the maps page I found on the DNR site. It let me to the maps for the Chagrin River.
I found Todd Field and put that into Google Maps and found it to be 2.5 hours away from Bexley. I was going to get up early and drive north. I organized my fly boxes, ensured my gloves, hats, and other warm gear were in my bag, and purchased my fishing license.

I woke up around 0730 to a dark and absolutely dreary day on the 27th. It was raining like in Forrest Gump. I threw on my layers of Patagonia fleece and my trusty Orvis cable knit sweater. I threw my bag in the car and punched the address into my phone and was on my way.







I'd never been toward Cleveland before. I don't know much about it other than that is where Howard The Duck landed. I have heard about the Great Lakes Brewing Company Xmas ale and was hoping to find it up there. Anyway, the roads sucked. It was dark and raining with occasional snow and sleet mixed in. I had the heat cranked up and the wiper blades working overtime.



After a few hours and several Orvis and FishSchtick podcasts later I finally arrived at the town of Willoughby, Ohio.  I was hoping the rain would turn to snow. It was cold out. I just found out my car has an outside thermometer. It would have been nice to have known that at the time. My smartphone would only display the D.C. temp on my phone.
I went through residential neighborhoods and came out in the Old Town section. Lots of mom and pop shops, pubs, art galleries, etc. I was scouting out a place to eat for the drive back. I made the turn down to the river and passed a sub shop with 3-4 dudes outside. That is a good sign. I made a mental note to eat there on the way back.

I pulled into the parking lot around 11am. It was still pouring and now a bit windy. I pulled up my waders and got my gear together. There was another guy suiting up.  He didn't say much. He had a two-handed rod. I strung up my rod and headed to the river. It was about 50 yards away.

The first thing I noticed was the huge wall on the far bank. It was a really cool geological feature that I have never fished next to.

The water here was fast. I fished the riffles but it was too shallow. The water was off color too. Not so much a muddy color but more of a milky chalk. The shoreline was all shale, flat or round pieces from quarter size to dinner plate. I moved up stream and passed the guy from the parking lot.


He was nuts deep and tossing out some nice casts. He had a deep looking pool and fished on the far side. I didn't stick around too long, I had some exploring to do. I moved up stream and fished a two-fly rig in the deep pools and riffles. I had on a purple and orange egg sucking leech with a sucker meth trailer. I made cast after cast. I moved on up. There was a well beaten trail along the shoreline. I had trouble getting off the bank as everything was so muddy.


I started up the trail which soon turned to muck. I mean nasty, filthy mud. No cleats on any boots would have helped me. I trudged through it, slipped in it, slid down embankments, fell, etc. My fingertipless gloves were all muddy.

I arrived at a beach and slipped on the mud. Luckily I didn't hurt myself. I sort of hurt my back which is always a scary thing.

So I get to the beach and start swinging my flies. I begin to get hung up on the shale bottom. I loose a few tandem fly rigs. I work each and every pool. I hook into a tree on the other side and luckily free my rig. A sign that others fish this hole- there are flies broken off and dangling from the same tree. I move up river. By now there is all sorts of broken glass on the shore. Blue, turquoise, green, brown, white, etc. I start finding all sorts of shards of ceramic too.

I pass a dead steelehad on the shore. I move up and keep fishing. The water is cold. My toes are numb. The rain has not let up. A few flakes mixed in. Not a single fish other than that one -->


I get to a deep hole. I mean deep. I was worried that my back pack would get wet as I walked along the shoreline. It was a sandy bottomed hole. There were lots of footprints on the shore so I figured there would be fish here-others had spent some time here.

All I did was hook the trees behind me and lose another tandem rig. I walked up and around a slight bend only to find another wall.  The water was fast and shallow. The reason the pictues are so dark is that it was really this dark out.  I was wearing my yellow polarized sunglasses I picked up on Amazon. They were $21 and do a great job.





I decided the wall was as far as I wanted to go upstream. I found a spot where the water was shallow. It was rather fast but this was my best option for crossing. I wanted to fish the other shoreline back down. I did so. This side was deeper and I had some better access to the holes. Not a single bite.

I returned to fish the water above the guy who was fishing the long rod. I lost a couple of rigs in the hole above. I met two other anglers who agreed that the weather sucked but it's better than not fishing.  They fished the water above me, from the beach where I fell down from the bank. I continued down and got to fish some water I could not reach from the other shore. After losing two more tandem rigs I decided to pack up and head back. I fished one more spot, under the bridge near the parking lot. I lost a fly there too. What is it with this river?

I returned to my car. As soon as I opened the doors the rain turned to snow. Really! Why could I not have had snow when I was fishing. I was soaked.  My bag was soaked. I got the car started and the windows all fogged up. I headed straight to the sandwich shop.

This was a no frills place. I didn't know what to expect. The menu had a dozen or so options. I really wanted a hot sub--like a cheese steak. The place is called What About Bob's.

I ordered the #8 Bob's Ultimate Roast Beef Sub
Juicy roast beef, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, mild peppers, garlic, provolone, Bob's horseradish & sub sauce. 12" long. It was ready in about a minute. I got a big fountain drink with some caffeine for the ride back. I sat in my car and took a bite. Are you kidding me? The first thing I noticed was the bread. I had not had a baguette like this since Paris. Crusty, chewy, and flavorful. The roast beef and toppings were exactly what I needed after four hours of casting. I devoured 3/4 of the sub on the spot.




With a belly full of awesomeness I looked up the local fly shop. Chagrin River Outfitters was only about 18 minutes away. The drive there was beautiful. Huge houses on Pepper Pike with snow covered yards. The snow was thick and heavy and coated everything. About a mile from the shop I saw a bunch of turkeys on the shoulder. As I approached they decided to fly right in front of me/over my car. That was a first. I was scared they would hit me. These were some big birds.


I got to the shop around 4pm. I was in need of some Thingamabobbers. The only one I had brought broke. I figured If had had more I would not lose so many flies the next time. I had the map I printed off and walked into the shop. I was greeted by Bill. I was picking out my items when I was approached and we started talking about my day.  I had the map and he told me some spots to fish the next time.  Chargrin's shop was very cozy. They had hard wood floors, wall decorations, all sorts of colorful tying materials, and were pushing American made reels to the other guy.

He circled the spots and told me where deep holes were, logs, bends, etc. I picked up some tying thread and sniffed around some more. I spoke with another customer who has family this way. We discussed how great the living prices are in Ohio compared to Northern Virginia. The shop had some very unique patterns. I made my purchase of a handfull of pink strike indicators and headed back to the car.



The snow was dumping by now. I found the GPS unit in the car and entered my in-laws house. It was about 2.5 hours away.


Little did I know the snow was going to continue to dump for 2 of those hours. The road back sucked. It was a total white knuckle drive.






The rods were not getting plowed. A few inches were piling up. The left and right lanes were covered with snow. Changing lanes proved to be a slippery ordeal.









Every truck that went by in the right lane threw chunks of snow and ice onto my car temporarily blinding me. I got back to the house in a few hours. I had the remainder of my sandwich and more podcasts to listen to for entertainment.

I walked into the house in the rain. Poured a pint of Guinness and took a hot shower. I then unpacked and started planning my next trip for Thursday to the spots Bill suggested. The only problem was I left the map with his directions at the fly shop.


I called the shop on Wednesday and spoke to another dude. He said the map was still on the desk. He told me where it was marked and I printed off another map and re-created those instructions. I was told not to fish on Thursday as all that snow had melted and the water was too high to fish. I was told not to fish until the levels dropped below 4,000 CFS. This saved me a nearly 6 hour drive. Many thanks to the guy who answered the phone.

I spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning watching the water levels drop. I made the call on Thursday night to get up early and drive to the new spot.

I pulled out of the garage around 0645 and headed north. The weather was cold, dark, and dry. I didn't see any sun on the horizon for at least 2 hours. Only a slight pink hue glazed the horizon over a barn. It would have made a great  picture. I stopped and filled the tank at a BP with $3.16 gas. It was cold.

I passed the Cuyhoga river and there was a cool bridge. I remember this is the river that once caught on fire.





I arrived at the new spot or at least what I thought was the spot Bill suggested. Ice was all around. The ponds I passed on the road in were frozen. Ice puddles filled the fields.

The parking lot was covered in ice. I had to put on my layers right away. It was frigid. The wind made it worse.







I met a guy who was suiting up. He has spin gear. He was amazed I didn't have a wading staff.  He said that pockets of sand and silt will fill in gaps between the shale and you can get stuck. I made a mental note to grab a branch when crossing. He said there is a little bit of fishing above the bridge and a little bit below. I chose to go downstream.

I think I found the fallen tree Bill told me about. I fished over it and in the holes created by the current underneath. Nothing. Probably better fished from the other side. I found a big crayfish in the sand. 

I moved down to the next deep hole. There was a wall on one side with a cut out bank. A stream flowed in. I saw some guys in the middle. I went back upstream to cross as the wall was a dead end for me on this side.


I crossed and began to fish some deep holes below a cut bank. No fish. I was getting my line and myself all caught up in the trees. I can't remember the species. I have my guide books in storage. I know they have crenate leaves and white pendulous flowers in summer (I'm a nerd). The stems are hollow. They don't grow more than 6 feet tall. As they were hollow, I used my boots to crush them as I made my way down stream. I was now sweating and had to open up my jacket and lose the hat.

I arrived at the hole and said 'how's it going' to one of the fly anglers. He had looked up from his fly box when I arrived, he looked at me when I greeted him and then put his nose back into his fly box. Rather rude.

Those guys looked to be camped out. Two were waist deep in the middle of the outside of the bend and tossing flies into the deep current. I moved on.


I found some riffles and some deep pools. I fished and hiked for another hour or so. Nothing. I saw lots of wood peckers.

One more guy joined in on the fishing. He had a big net. I hope that was an omen. I talked to him and watched him for a while. I was now getting cold from the sweat cooling off. I had moved far enough down that the water was wide and shallow. Time to turn around and head back. I was hankering for a sandwich and maybe another spot to fish.  It was noonish.




I asked if he would mind me crossing upstream from him and he gave me permission. I tried but it was too deep and too fast. I  noticed the three fly guys were leaving that deep hole. One was fishing below and the other two were on the other side. I moved on up and tied on a red/orange/white popsicle with a chartreuse egg on the front. I had on a pink sucker spawn as the dropper. I made some casts and not much was going on. The guy below me started to walk up. And here is when things got good.

I made a 60+ foot cast to the head of the pool. Mend after mend, I got that fly down. On this, the fifth of casts, I got a tug. My line went straight and the rod tip started to bend. I had a fish. I reeled up the slack as soon as I could. The guys were now watching. They had fished all morning and nothing. It gave me some confidence that I came in and got a fish right away.

I fought the fish on the reel and go it to the shore. I handed the fish to the guy and asked if he could snap some pics. I took out my camera. Took some pics of him with the fish to adjust the light-with what ever light there was on this overcast day. We switched and I had the fish. I knelt down in the water, wet the fish, and lifted it up. I told him to hold down the shutter. We got about half a dozen pics. I put the fish back in. I was in an adrenaline rush. The fish started to swim away and I grabbed the tippet. The fish broke it off. I'm hoping the barbless hook came out easily.

The fish had all of its fins, looked more like a wild fish than a hatchery. The pectoral fins normally are rubbed off in hatchery fish from them swimming in circles against concrete pens.

I'm going to name the fly the 'tennis ball sucking popsicle'


I tied on my last popsicle fly and lost it on the bottom.  Turns out the guy who took the picture had never been fishing before. His first time out was fly fishing. He turned out to be the nicer of the three. We chatted and I gave him some flies. His buddy came over and he started to talk. However the original guy I greeted was still standoffish.

I was  now hungry. I decided to end on a high note. It was now raining. I walked back to the car and headed to Bob's. I got there in about 20 minutes. I went to the front door. It was locked and the store was empty.  I was confused.  There was a sign with an arrow to the left. <-- use other door.

Turns out they expanded in the past two days. I walked in and immediately slipped on the floors-still wearing studs. The old place had rubber mats on the floor. The place was huge. And sold pizza and burritos.

I ordered the #6 Bob's Ultimate Turkey Sub
Oven roasted turkey breast, turkey ham, turkey pastrami, mild peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, garlic, provolone, Bob's ultimate sub sauce.









As I waited for my sub I noticed a guy in waders! I chatted him up. He said that the rain had been strong all morning and the water was rising. They hooked some fish but didn't land any (Todd Field).

My sandwich and fries were ready. I headed back to the car and drove down to the parking lot.








I used my hemostats to open a bottle of Moosehead lager. A clean and crisp beer. Its been a favorite for years.



I stood in the rain under the awning of the trunk. I ate in the cold. I watched a guy string up his rod and gear up and head to the water. I ate my food in a few minutes. I was fueled up and the fries warmed me up. The beer on the other hand made me cold.





I told you this place was close to the parking lot. That building at the top of the hill, that's it. This is the view from my parked car.








 

 I made it down to the river. The guy who was gearing up was in the first section of riffles. He said he hooked a few earlier in the day. I managed to get a picture of the river's mondo huge squirrels.



I started to fish the first bend. I was immediately greeted by two anglers with a huge steelhead on a stringer. That breaks my heart. I know people have to eat and their tax dollars and license pay for their fish so what can I say. They crossed below me. I started to lose flies again. Another angler walked down with another stringer full of steelheads. These were much bigger than the one I caught.

I was getting bummed out now. I made a few more casts, then decided I should get back to Bexley. I missed the baby lady. I cut off my fly and packed up. While the last drive back was all snow, this was pouring rain.

I stopped at the GoAsis. A combination Taco Bell x Starbucks x Pizza Hut x convenience store x  tchotchke shop. I filled up on gas and headed out. This place was great. Of course, I was still wearing cleats and I almost wiped out on the floor.

I got back to Bexley around 6pm. I was tired. I caught my fish. I was proud of myself. What a way to end the year.



Next time I'm up I hope to get out and do some steelhead fishing.  I'll be sure to stop in to Mad  River to thank Lou and to Chagrin River to thank Bill.











On a side note, there were some HUGE clams in the river.


O.A.R. @ 9:30 Club
Download The Show Here
9:30 Club 11.27.2002 - Washington, DC With: Matt Nathanson
  1. Set 1:
    1. Night Shift
    2. Ladanday
    3. Whose Chariot?
    4. About An Hour Ago
    5. King Of The Thing
    6. Destination (Fire On The Mountain Tag)
    7. Conquering Fools
    8. Risen
    9. Toy Store
    10. Hey Girl
    11. Road Outside Columbus
    12. Get Away
    13. Earthward
    14. That Was A Crazy Game Of Poker
  2. Encore:
    1. Here's To You
    2. Right On Time
    3. Tragedy In Waiting
    4. About Mr. Brown

 
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