First, my friend Spurky. He got the skunk two winters ago. Not sure if he's been back since.
Next my friend "Swattie" from the PAanglers forum. I never wrote a blog post about it, but at least he caught one that day. Luckily I do have the pics to prove it...
|Swattie bringing fish to hand...|
Yesterday, it was Matt, (aka Functioning Fishaholics guy) who fell victim to my jinxed guiding ways.
We met around 7AM in one of the main parking areas. I brought some extra gear like tenkara rods, but we decided we were going to fish with the fly rods...Matt had his fiberglass Cortland (which is a really cool retro rod BTW), I had my Redington CT. The weather was warm, the water really low and gin clear, and the sun bright in the blue sky. In the back of my mind I knew the conditions were going to make this a difficult day of fishing, but we pushed on regardless.
|See where Matt is standing? Yeah, the water would normally be ankle to calf deep|
I showed Matt a few of my favorite stretches of water to start...showed him where to put the fly & let him fish all of the best runs first...nothing. It wasn't until we hit the third section that either of us got any action - I got a take drifting a nymph - but wasn't able to get a firm hookset. F-bombs quickly followed.
To his credit, Matt pushed on and kept fishing despite the general ineptitude of his guide. We hit a few more riffles and holes but still produced pretty much nothing after about 3 and a half hours of fishing. I was impressed with Matt's fishing, especially since he's a relative newcomer to fly fishing. He had some issues keeping the line out of the canopy and tall grass to start, but quickly found his groove in the somewhat tight quarters that define Valley in the summer.
|That bridge looks familar|
|That pointed rock at 4 o'clock...that's usually submerged|
We did a little bit more fishing, again to no avail except for another failed hookset on a rise to a dry fly by yours truly (& more F-bombs) when things really started to degenerate. Matt decided he wanted to use his fly rod to go "jigging" off the side of bridge for the pod of suckers directly below. He actually got some of the suckers to take a look, I think even one took a swipe, but no hookups. Whatever it takes, right?
|That would be the jig cast...|
After that bit of nonsense, little more trout fishing took place about a hundred yards upstream, but again, nothing....before Matt decided wanted to take one more shot at the suckers from water level. So I stood up above on the bridge and directed his casts..."a little to the left....I mean right...I mean your left"....that kind of stuff, until he finally got his first take by a sucker. As with my fish earlier, the sucker was either just mouthing the fly or found a way to kick the hook and it never got to hand.
Fortunately, that little distraction, coupled with watching a nice 12"+ brown trout go apeshit after a watersnake slithered beneath the rock it was holding against, were at least entertaining ways to kill about a half hour.
|No, I meant my left, not your left...|
At that point we had been fishing for the better part of 5 hours, had no fish to hand, and at least I was starting to get hungry. (Did the guide pack a box lunch...heck no...see what I mean when I say shitty guide?) So we took the opportunity to call it quits, accept the skunks, and talked fishing, blogging, and the combination of the two on the hike back to the cars.
Matt's a real good guy to go fishing with, an even better sport to put up our unfortunate fish count, and someone I look forward to fishing with again...perhaps on his home turf the next time, targeting smallies either on the fly or *gasp* with the spinning rods.
So there it is. Anybody who wants to fish with me on Valley, consider yourself forewarned. I will happily meet you there and give you the lay of the land, but it will likely be in your best interest to go our separate ways following....especially if your plan is to catch fish.
Matt also wrote his account of yesterday's debacle on Valley on his Functioning Fishaholics blog found HERE. If interested, Matt's also quite active in the social scene, you can check him out on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. I also think he does that StumbleUpon thing...but I still have no idea how that works...