I talked to Dan Morgan from Project Healing Waters (PHWFF) and Ira Strouse about the PHWFF New York chapters getting together for the annual steelhead trip. They confirmed the weekend of November 1 and I was all set. Then I realized it was Halloween weekend and had to re-think my plans. I decided to make the trip up to help guide vets on the river and to take a few extra days up there. I contacted the group from last year and it was a bit of a shuffle of schedules but Jason and Scott were able to make it and we brought Thomas along to get his first taste of steelhead.
Preparation for the trip started in September. I wanted to tie the Hoh Bo fly and needed some Lady Amherst tails pictured above. As I was headed to Ohio for a week I decided to pick up the flies at Mad River Outfitters. In my spare time in Ohio I tied up soft hackle, flash back pheasant tails. Click the tutorial video below.
October came around and we needed to get the crew together to tie up flies and go over the game plan. I would arrive late on Friday the 31st after trick or treating. The others would arrive on Saturday. I would fish with PHWFF through Sunday and we would fish together Monday-Tuesday. The plan was to take the boat up for the PHWFF event and then float on Monday.
We got together at the local Orvis shop and tied flies at a table in the back. Benefit being we can shop for materials while we tied. A few beers may have made it to the event too.
http://www.wholesaleflycompany.com/ for beads for the trip. I wasn't sure if the silver beads on the pheasant tails would work so I got a few hundred in black.
After a month of packing and organizing gear I made the decision to leave early on Halloween. This was a tough decision as I am now a dad and this is a big night. I decided to drive up early as it would be light and easier and faster, avoiding traffic, and easier to pull the boat. I packed the nasty car early on Thursday and hooked up the boat at 11:30am on Friday 31st. I wore the same shirt I've worn on every Halloween for the past 20 years.
The car was organized for sleeping that night with a bed set up in the back and extra gear stowed in the boat.
As I'm driving up the traffic is non-existent. Last year it took me 3 hours to leave Virginia. This year I was out in 15 minutes. The day before I was hitting up the ATM and passed a pot leaf covered RV in the Home Depot parking lot.
We tied flies that worked that day. I met up with the lads in the PM.
Then it was off to the American Foreign Legion for dinner. Chicken stew, mashed potato, side of peas and biscuits. It was awesome and put us in a food coma. We then retired downstairs to talk fishing over a few beers and to play some games.
I headed over to the Tailwaters Lodge to meet the film crew and to have a pint. The shop was very well stocked with high-end gear.
Charlie and NPR. You can listen to the entire story by CLICKING HERE
More eggs, worms, spawns, and intruders for Monday's float.
Someone lost a phone. Only the vibrator allowed us to find it.
Not a minute after they left did I hook into my first fish of the day. I lost it. Then I hooked this hog and landed it with the camera work and net skills he's honed over the past few years. A shout out to Flyin' The Flats for the lid.
Back to the lodge to pack up. I decided to spend the night and get a good nights sleep. I wanted to have an easy ride back home in the morning. I had some chili dogs, finished off that sixer Labatts, cleaned up, and watched some TV.
If you take out the whole car thing the trip was really awesome. I had a great time guiding Charlie and will always remember his salmon landed and the steelhead he hooked. I'm looking forward to the next time I can give my time to PHWFF. I took off the entire month of November and am thus publishing this today on Dec 1. I have a new car and am starting to work again. Looking forward to a fun winter.