Better Late than Never

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doubletaper
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2013/12/19 13:15:39 (permalink)

Better Late than Never

 
Better Late than Never
Potter County
6/08/13

 
I hadn’t got to Potter County as I usually do in May. I had a feeling I missed a bunch of good hatches during that time. I figured it would be a little more of a challenge dry fly fishing in June, but as they say, “Better Late than Never!”
 
   There’s something about being a couple hundred miles from home on a mountain stream that I can relax. No phone, no calamity, no fuss, just doing what I love to do. Though I hope everything is safe back at the home front, it is here I am at peace.
 
 The first step into the solitude of a mountain creek I feel the cold water flow around my legs. I listen to the morning chirping of birds and in the distant a crow caws out. The air is fresh and clean. The rippling water down creek sooths the soul and the tranquil setting, of forest and rising trout, cleanse the body and mind of adversity. A simple fly rod, a full box of flies and spools of tippet is all that is needed to enjoy the weekend here in Potter County.
 
 This morning I select my 7’ 6” Powell rod for the small creek fishing early on. The overcast sky doesn’t promise anything better as the day will wear on, but it doesn’t matter at this point. In my rain coat and top hat I’m embarking in what I came here for.  
  Sporadically a couple of trout slap at the surface while I see others sip. There is nothing apparent I can see flying about or on the water. I got here late Friday evening and instead of fishing I took the time to check out both Kettle Creek and Cross Fork Creek for any hatches. There was a major Black Caddis hatch with a few tiny sulphurs and light Cahills mixed in. This morning I decide to use a Grannom pattern I use back home. It is a size smaller than the big caddis I seen yesterday but just maybe.  
 Without much room to back-cast I keep my line hand out from my stomach as I raise the rod upward to cast. This creates less line out on my back cast. As I cast forward, with the flow of the creek, I let excess line slide through the guides. After my last back cast I swing the rod tip behind me and sharply forward pointing the rod tip to where I want the fly to go. The caddis imitation falls short of its mark but I let it drift out of the trout’s eye sight before a recast. I false cast once and let a little more line out. With the same motion the caddis drops a little bit further upstream and I watch it drift within the trout’s zone while bringing in slack line with my left hand. I see the flash of a trout towards my imitation as it rises for it after it had passed him. He snaps at it and the calm water becomes a battlefield after I set the hook.  
 The water is now turbulent with life with swirls of water and a small wake follows the path of an exuberant trout. The fly line cuts through the water as if trying to keep up as the fly rod flexes towards the commotion.  I turn the trout and draw in line as he gets closer. The trout rises out of the water with twists and turns in excitement. Its body shimmers in wetness and its maroon lateral line looks like a streak of lightning against its silvery sides. He reenters the water with a splash, creating a new sound in the morning calmness. The trout sweeps in a semi-circle away from me and swims upstream. The action below causes riffles upon the surface as he heads towards the far bank. I let him fight the rod resistance ang give him little line. He then turns towards me with tugging pulls. I land my first trout of the day in the morning quietness of my forest surroundings.

 
With the commotion caused by the fight I now concentrate on the few fish sipping upstream to let the water settle.
  After a few casts up creek I find the sippers aren’t interested in my dry fly. Being that they are
sipping I decide to knot on a smaller imitation. I look on my wool fly patch and see a small neatly tied Dark Cahill.
My sidearm cast is smooth and arcs outward. Swinging the rod tip up creek I stop it abruptly and watch the fly line loop parallel to the water carrying the fly in tow. Just before my Cahill gets
to the end of its flight, and wants to fall, I move the rod tip slightly towards my side of the creek bank. This lets the fly drop upon the surface with the tippet falling to the left side of my dry before arcing towards me. This way the fly, up creek, drifts towards me over the fish strike zone without the tippet directly above the trout. The plan works as a trout rises to take my Dark
Cahill. It is a frisky small fish and it doesn’t take long to bring him to hand.

 
With all the commotion the fish seemed to be a little more wary of my imitations
and my presence. It takes time and a few different patterns to catch another. If
I seen the least little rise or dimple I wait about a minute before casting in
the area.

As the sun topped the trees the water was clearer through my polarized shades. Fish still rose occasionally but to exactly what I still wasn’t sure. I changed patterns often and I would hook into one now and then. Just when I thought I had the right dry I’d get visual refusals. I stuck around till about 10:30. By then the sun was beating down on me and I felt as if I was in some kind of sauna suit. It was time to head to Kettle Creek to a section I always catch trout on dries. 
I fished Kettle before in June when the water was in this condition. Mostly terrestrials like ants and beetles were the choice of the pickiest trout. I’d just have to wait and see.
 
  For a Saturday I was quite surprised there were only a couple of vehicles in the parking area. It didn’t look like rain and there was barely a breeze. The water looked low and clear as glass. I put together my 4 piece Scott G2 for this session. I took a few extra cigars and a bottle of water being I wasn’t sure how long I’d be staying. Following the path along the creek I kept looking out for any risers along the way. 
 I finally come across the section I want to take some time to fish. The flat water pool is deep and I am sure trout would be lurking about out of the shallows from under the warmth of the noon day sun. I study the water and watch a few downed leafs drift atop the slow current. Out to my left a long log lay beneath the surface with tangled branches hidden deeper below. Behind this, way back towards the opposite bank, a lone trout rises and sucks unseen midges on the surface. I spend some time casting into the long stretch of the slow current pool without any success. I decide to move up creek to the shallower water that ripples along the far bank.
  Slowly I walk along the sandy stoned bank watching for any surface interruptions. The rising sun is finding its way through the forest and the rippling water glistens with brightness where the rays of sun filters through. I knot on a Light Cahill Para-dun and work it along the stretch of riffles. I was sure there would be a hungry trout somewhere who was unaware of my presence and would take the chance of a mid morning meal drifting by. It takes some time but when the quickness of a rising trout takes my drifting Cahill my reaction time is automatic in the hook set and soon I am bringing a small energetic trout towards me. He isn’t much but a pretty trout at that.

 
I work the riffles, with an assortment of dries, until I come upon the deep flat water again. By now the sun has risen above the tall straight trees behind me. Its rays brighten the water clarity moving the earlier shadows back into the overgrown forest. I am ankle deep, along the shore, still presenting a Caddis out onto the slow pool ready to give up and maybe move down creek some. I catch movement, just in front of me, and let my eyes adjust to the underwater world before me.
  In the couple feet of water I see a nice size trout nosing the bottom. It’s pushing small pebbles about looking for food. It’s in no hurry and apparently not disturbed by my presence. I slowly, with the least amount of movement, reel in line. I spot another decent size trout following the first in the same manner. When my dry fly is just beyond them I flip it upward and back not wanting to disturb the water above them. I grab the leader and tippet and put the fly rod under my arm pit. As if I am a ghost, invisible to the trout, I begin to exchange the dry fly for a nymph in conscious unhurried movement not to spook the feeding trout. I knot on a small Hare’s Ear Flash Back to the 6x tippet. Taking the fly rod, from under my arm, I pull the leader out the length of my rod. One trout if directly in front of me about 15 feet as the other is a foot or so upstream. They are suspended just above the creek bed as if relaxing after a meal or watching for the next food morsel to drift by. With a slow back-cast and a forward snap of my wrist forward I let the nymph, line and leader, fall upstream from the two. I keep the rod shaft and tip horizontal with the water with my right hand. I use my left hand and try to guide the nymph towards the trout by manipulating the line in the slow current towards the bank.  On the first cast the nymph drops to the bottom sooner than I expect and too far out from the trout. I bring the rod tip up and let the nymph pass them before my next upstream cast. The second and third cast I’m able to get the nymph closer to them and getting to read the underwater current flow. I am pretty sure my 4th drift through should put it nearer to them. As I’m preparing my next cast the trout start to nose the bottom again.  As the Hare’s Ear drifts near the bottom I drop the rod tip and watch the nymph touch bottom, roll and stop upon the pebbled creek bed. The closest trout is nosing the bottom nearing my offering. Within sight I gently twitch the rod tip upward. The nymph rises off the pebbles slightly, falls, rolls and rests upon the pebbles. This catches the attention of the feeding trout. He takes his time drawing nearer to my nymph. His nose…..

It’s June. Somewhere there’s someone on an airplane talking about their fishing excursion in Alaska. Somewhere someone is bringing up their bad experience fishing the flats off of Nassau Island. I’m sure someone out there is throwing Cleo’s to fish off Presque Isle in Lake Erie… In my world right now….

  He noses the nymph and as soon as I see it disappear I raise the rod with authority. The rod tip dips, the line pulls and I feel the strength of the trout rushing up creek through the tensioned line between my fingers. The Medium action G2 flexes and arcs with the escaping trout as it takes line off the spool. It turns in an instant, towards the far wall, and darts with shooting speed. I angle the rod, opposite his path, trying to slow him down. He reaches his limit and than scurries down creek into the deepness of the pool. I take in some line and keep tension between my fingers as the rod bounces with his underwater antics. We wrestle, for what seems like eternity, until he finally weakens under the pressure. I reel him nearer and I have a feeling I caught my biggest trout for the day.

 
 After I released the fine brown, I reel in and take a few seconds to capture the
moment. I feel my body absorbing the noon day sun. I feel a cool breeze across
my bare skin. I feel the peacefulness being a part of nature. I reach into my
shirt pocket and feel a fine rolled cigar at my finger tips.

The rest of the day I don’t remember much. It’s always that way when I catch the big one.
I’ll remember the details of that catch but not much detail afterwards. I know I
continued on with dry flies casting about. I did catch a few more. I remember smoking a few more stogies out in the wilds and remember not coming across another fisherman as far back from civilization where I was. Afterwards I remember eating at the small restaurant in Cross Forks in the evening and talking to a fellow who remembered me from a years ago. He told me how the hatch in May was great and the many fish he caught on dries. I remember drinking a
beer where I had parked for the night and smoking my last stogie of the day. 

 As I rest upon my sleeping bag, in the warm June evening, under the
star lit night, I think about my big catch earlier in the day. I think about how
I was late this year for the great hatches. I was glad I made up my mind to come
up this way in June anyhow. The peacefulness, the quietness is always worth it.
As they say “better late than never!”

~doubletaper

 

post edited by doubletaper - 2013/12/20 05:31:35

http://streamsidetales.bl...015/05/helles-yea.html
it's not luck
if success is consistent 





#1

13 Replies Related Threads

    fisherofmen376
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2013/12/26 15:09:58 (permalink)
    I wish it was June right now. Thanks for taking me there Jerry!

    "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
    Matthew 4:19
    #2
    Royalwulff24
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/25 08:30:19 (permalink)
    Nice story. Your really missing the boat not using the royalwullff on crossfork Creek....no need to check hatches, just tie a wulff on from may till Sept and you will do well. I grew up there and the only two dry flies we used was the royalwullff and the yellow bodied Adams. They have worked for me from Argentina to Alaska. 14 is as small as I go and even my mentor and teacher (who would be 109 ) would mock me using that small of a fly. I usually stick with size 12. Can't go wrong. I began fly fish in 1969 at age 8 and the first stream I ever cast a fly on was cross fork creek. My mentor was 64 for the next 20 years I can count on both hands the number of weekends that we did not fish every Fri. Sat. Sun.in 69 we slept in the back of a 57 Chevy nomad station wagon at the confluence of crossfork creek and youcum run, by 71 we had a cabin a mile from cross fork.
    We would arrive on Friday and usually hit trout run ( he called it a Friday stream) come back to the cabin where we would eat and spend the evening on the porch listening to baseball games on an old Admiral transistor radio, in bed by 11, up at 6 have a bowl of special.K, w pieces of toast, and a quarter of a cantaloupe. Then it was off for the morning fish, catch our limit which was 8 back then and then come back, maybe do a few things around the cabin, maybe mow the grass then take a nap and then it was off for the evening fish, catch our limit come home have supper,back to the porch to.listen to the ball game at night, up 6am sunday repeat breakfast, repeat catching 8 trout, come back and pack up for the 50 minute drive home. This exact routine was repeated from opening day until the last day in Sept, almost without exception until he was 86 years old and black lung made it impossible for him to fish, at 79 he was still able to walk several.miles on the many trails that parallel so many streams in Potter county. That's how I grew up, no school dances, no sports, my weekends were spent roaming the hollows of Potter county with a fly rod in hand. I can't go without mentioning his gear. In an age of $1000 fly rods and fisherman who look like a mannequin from an orvis catalogue he used a two piece rod, the bottom half was steel and I couldn't tell you the brand, the top half was fiberglass from a two piece rod in which the bottom half was broken,a Martin automatic fly reel, ldouble taper line so he could use both ends before discarding it and about 6 feet of 6 lb. test leader...no taper, a small pouch on his side with a spool of 8lb test and an old tin sucrets box with a dozen or so flies in it. I didn't know anyone back then who could outfish him.
    So thank you for stirring these grand memories with your stories.
    post edited by Royalwulff24 - 2016/02/25 08:35:17
    #3
    Chris Johnson
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/25 21:49:09 (permalink)
    Excellent as always. Thanks for posting. Where did you get your glove in the first pic? I've only been able to find ones with fingers, but I haven't searched all that extensively. It appears that yours is more of a square bag shape which, I imagine, would make using it much easier.

    Thanks.

    Edit: didn't realize this was an older bumped thread. Good re-read at any rate. Appreciate any info anyone may have on the landing glove.

    Thanks again.
    post edited by Chris Johnson - 2016/02/25 21:58:29

    A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't.
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    #4
    SaltWaterRocks
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/26 18:26:50 (permalink)
    Actually, I think he is holding the wet net against the fish and not a landing glove.
    #5
    Chris Johnson
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/26 19:26:27 (permalink)
    Thanks for the response. The retractable tether attached to the mesh and blue nylon trim led me to believe it was some kind of landing glove.

    A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't.
    ~Tom Waits



    #6
    Royalwulff24
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/26 22:35:38 (permalink)
    What's a landing glove ?
    #7
    Chris Johnson
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/27 06:49:47 (permalink)


    http://www.orvis.com/p/fish-tailer-landing-glove/6g26
    post edited by Chris Johnson - 2016/02/27 07:08:46

    A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't.
    ~Tom Waits



    #8
    Chris Johnson
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/27 07:00:14 (permalink)
    A buddy who lives out west sent me a link to the glove late last night.

    http://www.flyfishusa.com/accessories/teeny-landing-hand/teeny-landing-hand.htm

    post edited by Chris Johnson - 2016/02/27 07:02:27

    A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't.
    ~Tom Waits



    #9
    Royalwulff24
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/27 07:54:47 (permalink)
    What the do you use that thing for ?
    #10
    Chris Johnson
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/02/27 08:16:33 (permalink)
    Keeps your hand warm while ice fishing.

    A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't.
    ~Tom Waits



    #11
    Divemaster
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/03/16 08:22:42 (permalink)
    Great report! Potter is one of my favorites places in the world, I can spend an entire day on a single spring fed freestone creek casting at native Brookies.
    #12
    BeenThereDoneThat.
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/03/16 08:47:52 (permalink)
    Doubletaper can really write about his adventures,  Always enjoy his stories, almost makes you feel like you were right there with him back on June 8, 2013, wonder why he waited til December 2013 to write his story?  Must of been taking a trip down memory lane I suppose.  Also, I can't say I have seen any of his stories lately.

    Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a life time. ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)~
     
     
     
      Old fisherman never die; we just smell that way. 
     
    #13
    crappiefisher
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    Re: Better Late than Never 2016/03/16 10:56:21 (permalink)
      Good stories except I after I after I........ Should take a class in ... ah nvr mind
     
    It's Fish Erie after all.
    #14
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