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Jackson River III --- Now with Phictures!!!!

Started by Woolly Bugger, October 10, 2007, 14:52:19 PM

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Woolly Bugger

October 10, 2007, 14:52:19 PM Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 08:33:18 AM by Woolly Bugger

Thursday
So Phish and I met at the Cracker Barrel for a shared ride up to Shitridge. Gordo has already called to let us know he was at Roanoke, and I told him we were a couple of hours behind. Phish and I were jamming to some good tunes and somehow we (I'll bame the driver and Phish blames the navigator) ended up on I-81 SOUTH and as we began to look for our exit I realized that we were at mile marker 32! Having traveled 30 miles in the wrong direction we turned around and Phish put the pedal to the metal (as much as you can in VA) and we made up a little of the lost time. I called Al to let him know we were running late, he replied that Gordo was there and everybody was having a good time and they were drinking a few beers and telling stories and casting bamboo rods. "Gordo has bought all the boo rods woowe and there are none left for you" Al exclaimed!

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When we finally arrived at the ridge we drank a couple of beers and cast a few rods under Al's watchful eye (no pun intended).  "You dropping your tip too soon!", Al shouted. "I told you I can't cast worth a shit", I replied! The shadows were growing long and we had a 30 minute drive to the river, so we left to set up camp before nightfall. As we drove in we noticed a herd of deer in the neighboring fields, perhaps 8 or 10 young does. We parked along the river and unloaded our gear.  After setting up our tents, we sat around and talked for a couple of hours.  Gordo provided the entertainment, showing us renewable energy sources. We had an entertaining time sitting around in the dark wishing that we had a fire ring. The chill of the evening was upon us.

Phish then drove Al home while Gordo and I swapped war stories and keep count of the beers in the cooler. We failed to get rocks out of the river for a fire ring, and frankly we didn't think we would need a fire until after the sun went down. There was some cloud cover, but when the skys cleared the temperature dropped and we had to layer up! The night sky was a marvel to behold without the light pollutions from the cities we could clearly see the milky way and I even saw several shooting stars. By the time Phish came back it was downright chilly and it wasn't too long before we were headed to our tents.

Friday
The morning dew was thick and the sky a little cloudy covering the dawn like a blanket when we awoke.  In the early light we could see that the trees were starting to turn and we imagined that in a couple of weeks the valley would be in its full splendor. We boiled up some water for coffee and after a cup we split Al's portion of the river into thirds. Phish took the hole right off the porch, I claimed the fast deep pool at the top and Gordo took the runs and riffles in the lower third.  I like the challenge of the bigger water, the white caps of the riffles and the deep hole holds unknown promises in its depths. The water was running a little stained, not as clear as other tailwaters, making it difficult to see the fish flashing on the fly. I used a big yarn indicator to keep the double and triple BB shot  floating off the bottom.
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Trico were dancing in the morning and a few fish were rising in the shallow run across the river, but I focused on the deep and fast water.  I tied on a Copper John with a tan caddis dropper using  two Dinsmore Tin BB shot about eight inches above the CJ with about 4 ~ 5 feet of 6x fluorocarbon between the strike indicator and the dropper hanging another 16" off of the CJ. The sun was still below the ridge as I began fishing. I caught a good number of fish and missed a few too. They fought hard and shook their head against the tension of the hood and line. Most didn't run choosing to battle the hook by holding deep and dogging the fly, they felt like a cross between a brown and a smallie in their fighting ability. A few were aerialist acrobatics, dancing in the air and going on berserk runs across the river. All and all it was a pleasant morning on the river. The big riffles reminded me of the Madison and even though the Jackson is much smaller this narrow section forces the flow to rise in size and power equal to a small portion of the bigger western waters.
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We took a coffee break after the sun was up on the water and Gordo and I switched beats.  I had to shorten up my rig to fish the lower section and the fish came to had with some regularity, but I really like the big water over the slower lower section. I managed to get 8 more to hand before we took our afternoon beak in the heat of the afternoon. It felt more like August instead of October.

Al came down to the river and after shooting the shit with Gordo for a while he took Phish's '49 Orvis rod and began to work the run off the porch. His casts were delicate and the sulphur dry fly drifted without drag down the run. Al walked the bank and continued to work the water. Mason who was fishing down below us walked up to say hello, I asked him if he wanted a beer and he replied "Well it is a long walk back"! I handed him a cold one. We chatted and watched Al fish. Al had a couple of rises and soon one took the fly and he stripped in a nice little rainbow.  He then barked to Phish to get into the water and get his fish. After the "Kodak" moment, Al's yelled at Phish to get the fish back in the water! He hooked another trout a few moments later but an over eager hook set left the fly in the fishes mouth as the 6x was stretched beyond its limits.

The sun was setting and we gathered some rocks out of the river for the fire ring. Al told us that wet rock can explode and once the fire was started by Phish we all joked about dying while sitting around a campfire after a most excellent day of fishing.  "What a way to go", I commented!
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Apparently there is this idea that rocks from a river are likely to shatter or explode with enough force to, at least put an eye out, or downright kill you. The theory is that trapped moisture turns into superheated steam building up enough pressure to cause the rock to explode. The other theory is that any rock will crack or shatter due to uneven heating and different densities. Fortunately we all survived the night, but upon close inspection the next morning we did find that most of the rocks had cracked. I'm trying to find any documentation on the exploding rock phenomena. http://www.abc.net.au/news/australia/qld/toowoomba/200506/s1385064.htm

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While Phish was tending the fire, I was heating up Al's special deluxe chili with onions and we all had a bowl along with some excellent potato bread, which I believe was Al's grandma's recipe. This was Gordo's second night of Al's chili and it was doing a number on his system.  Phish asked what time to pick up Al tomorrow and he said "Well as soon as Gordo stops fishing and starts fihing would be a good time, 10:30?? we replied! It was getting late and Phish drove Al home, leaving Gordo and I to count beers again.  Phish got back and we watched the sky for meteorites and after a couple of hours Gordo even saw one!

Saturday
Eagle, Big Fish, Mixed Nuts, Put your finger in it, Woowe's Hole, Gorgo's Brown, Opening Day, Oak vs. Maple
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After a late night we crawled out a little later than planned, but still got on the water around 7:30 We took our usual beats, I don't think Gordo or Phish are up to the challenge of the bigger water and later that night Phish named the fast deep poll "woowe's hole" By the time I took a break and walked down to the camp site I found myself abandoned. I figures Phish and Gordo had gone to get Al. It was hot and I sat under the tarp for a while. Finally I stepped off the porch and caught some of the bows in Phish's beat, I was still working the water when they drove up. We got Al situated on the bank and Gordo kept him company as Phish and I returned to fishing. I went to work on the hole just below them where Gordo had earlier failed to get a hookup. I caught three real quick, but they all became unbuttoned as Al yelled "Double set the hook Woolly! Gordo tell him to set the damn hook"! I think the problem was that they were lightly hooked on the #20 dropper and  the hook just tore out. A few moments later and I started brining fish to hand, three feisty bow in five cast. I tried to hold the biggest one up for Al and Gordo to see but it went totally berserk and wiggled it way to freedom in a blur of color. I worked my way down and back hooking ten or eleven fish and brining 5 to hand. After that I was ready to sit back and drink a few.

We all learned that you can't leave Al tater bread out in the sun all day in a plastic container as it will ferment and go bad. Al's got 50,000,000 taste buds and his encounter with the fouled bread left him unable to enjoy a beer for quite some time. Phish started working on the fire with what wood was left over from the night before. Will was on his way with another load but the chill of the evening was upon us. Another pot of chili was on the stove. Gordo and Phish kept the fire going until Will showed up with a load of oak, which took a while to get going but put the heat out soon enough. Will took Al home and we stayed and watched the night sky and the fire until 1:30 in the morning.

Sunday
When I woke up it was bright and I knew that Gofisher wanted to be on the road by nine, I called out "Gordy, are you awake?"  A groan came from his tent. Phish had run to the store for some smokes and he came back in time to help us get Gordo all packed up for his 8 hr. trip home....

Phish and I went to work on the river and it was a little more challenging, the water was stained and running a little harder and the fish were not hitting the same patters that had worked so well in the past. No I felt like I was fishing in the desert! I did manage to get a fish on a dry fly and when we took a break I mentioned that I wanted to take a look at the damn. So we drove on up the road. On the way I spotted a large black bear in the woods just off the road, it turned and scrambled up the steep hillside.

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When we got to the water below the damn I was surprised that it wasn't crowded at all, In fact there were only a couple of fly fishermen on the water. It looked too good to pass up so I cast my caddis into a run and got a fish to rise, missed it and flung the fly up into a tree.

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We took off and went back to Al's water and fished for another hour or two before breaking camp.  Once we had everything packed and the shattered river rocks tossed back into the stream we made one final check of the camp and then drove down to Al's to say goodbye to Mary Ann and Al. We told some of the fishing stories to Mary Ann and asked Al a little about the history of Clifton Forge where pig iron was made in the 1800's. The hour was getting late and we had to leave shit ridge for work and families. The trip was far too short but the memories will last a lifetime.

Thanks Al for sharing your little part of the world with us.

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

troutfreak

Woolly,
Great story, I could picture you fishing the whole time.  You need to be writing this stuff down somewhere besides here.  You an excellent writer.
Troutfreak

ps you writing makes a person feel if they are standing beside you.


Gofisher

October 10, 2007, 18:03:33 PM #2 Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 18:09:50 PM by Gofisher

Very nice! Ya''ll both have a nice way of words. I can tell just reading the reports, which is an artistic hippy, which is a meticulous miscreant, and which is a drunken redneck... 0--0

*By the way, I don't think I can even wear my shirt at home. My daughter says to me tonight, "Nice shirt Dad... ::)"

**I can't believe I watched that whole video!  >:( No exploding rock through the camera or anything... >:D

Yankee by birth, Rebel by choice.

troutphisher

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

loomiscane

Dang, i was at the soho thursday thru sunday and i never saw you guys.

Matt


kylemc

Quote from: loomiscane on October 11, 2007, 00:49:29 AM

Dang, i was at the soho thursday thru sunday and i never saw you guys.

Matt

KOOKY!!!


flyinhigh

Nice looking river. If I can get out of work early enough, I might head up there this afternoon to fish the weekend. Hope to run into some of you up there.


Woolly Bugger

Quote from: flyinhigh on October 12, 2007, 10:37:30 AM

Nice looking river. If I can get out of work early enough, I might head up there this afternoon to fish the weekend. Hope to run into some of you up there.

we'll keep a lookout for you.... ;D
ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

lipripper

I take it this is some kind of private water? It looks like it fishes well and isn't all dried up.

lr

Woolly Bugger

Quote from: lipripper on October 17, 2007, 10:18:14 AM

I take it this is some kind of private water? It looks like it fishes well and isn't all dried up.

lr
It is a tailwater, there is some public access but fairly limited and the rest is "Crown Grant"
Quote

1996 -

CROWN GRANT: If you thought George Washington helped kick the British crown out of the United States more than 200 years ago, think again. The crown is alive and well, at least in Allegheny County.

Judge Duncan Byrd of Covington recently ruled that landowners claiming crown rights originally deeded by the king of England have exclusive fishing rights to the Jackson River.

The Jackson is Virginia's finest trout stream. In addition, it has been declared a navigable river by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The court ruling means, however, that owners of land along the Jackson River not only can forbid anglers from using the river's shores but also can keep them off the stream itself.

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

Damselfly

Quote from: Gofisher on October 10, 2007, 18:03:33 PM

Very nice! Ya''ll both have a nice way of words. I can tell just reading the reports, which is an artistic hippy, which is a meticulous miscreant, and which is a drunken redneck... 0--0

And I liked em all! But I think I'm glad I missed the fartin' & fishin'..... :-X

Woolly, your close-up shots are better than ever!


Woolly Bugger

Quote from: Damselfly on October 20, 2007, 13:38:27 PM

Quote from: Gofisher on October 10, 2007, 18:03:33 PM

Very nice! Ya''ll both have a nice way of words. I can tell just reading the reports, which is an artistic hippy, which is a meticulous miscreant, and which is a drunken redneck... 0--0

And I liked em all! But I think I'm glad I missed the fartin' & fishin'..... :-X
Woolly, your close-up shots are better than ever!
Thanks on the picture taking.. lol ...

btw the cussin' was a LOT worse than the fartin'  I left all of that out of the report.. course you, being such a lady, wouldn't have understood 1/2 of the conversation as it was heavily peppered with profanity and vulgarities. But most of all that offensive behavior was on account of Gordo.. and Al's special deluxe chili 'n 'tater bread!

You're welcome to make the next pilgrimage to Shit Ridge....

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!


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