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Good way to burn a few days...

Started by befuddled, October 15, 2005, 21:53:14 PM

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Tuesday night 11:30 and I'm finally pulling in to my brother's drive...something I've been waiting for not so patiently for a couple of weeks now. Turns out he was anxious too so we loaded my stuff into his car and went to the Dan (not our destination, but close to where he lives). No party crowds or trash like when I was a kid. Just the sounds of the valley. Threw a one man tent up and drifted off thinking of the morning. The sun comes into the valley very little in the mornings, so we didn't get up at dawn and both felt like getting our lines wet before heading to western NC.
    I used my newly acquired dropper tying knowledge (thanks everyone!) and started out with a bugger and a little red San Juan worm (kinda) as a dropper. In about three casts I had a nice fat bow. As someone who lives near Raleigh and is out of practice I wasn't ready for it AT ALL. Took me several minutes and one violent jump to finally get him to me. Bro guessed him at 16 inches and not being familiar with the fine science of tippets, picked up my line and admired him for a moment before he gave a nice head shake and I lost the first two flies of the trip on one fish. Hope he spits it out somehow.
     Then went to another spot and attempted to "slingshot" cast another WB. Embedded that son of b%&*h in my thumb. Bro had just lost one of his beloved pink power bait worms (he is deadly with these) so we were ready to get started.
      Three hours later pulling into the Davidson...ah the Davidson. After setting up camp we had just enough time to burn the twilight on the river a small hike up from the campground. Cast out one of my little crazy charlie attempts while explaining to bro why he can not use his worms here. After about ten seconds of drift and a few expletives concerning the reasonableness of fly only sections...EXPLOSION! Again, not ready. Line going down stream, water thrashing everywhere, me standing there grinning like an idiot and trying to get control of the situation. A good, thrashing fight. Brought him close to the pink worm master who immediately picks up my line again, which snaps again. He then informs me that my line must be dry rotted. Oh well. He guessed that one at 16 also, so I think anything that comes in a descent size but isn't a hog is automatically 16. I thought more like 20, but of course I would think that of my own fish. 16 is probably the more accurate guess.
     Next morning after some really good campfire coffee (I ground some expensive whole bean stuff for this trip) we went down to the hatchery. We got in right at parking lot and almost shit ourselves on the spot. I have never, never seen fish that big swimming around in water clear enough and slow enough to actually get a look at them. I mean BIG. The fabled "frustration pool" I had been told to visit for the sheer heck of it? If not it should be. Some of these fish went as big as my leg. I'm not BSing. They were ignoring WB, San Juan's, and crazy charlies after a quick inspection. Didn't give a glance to hares ear, muddlers, or grey ghosts. The night before I had tied half dozen pink chenille worms with small tails for bro so he could fish his old standby and I was sure that SOB would get one of these monsters with one. Do not get me wrong, I love the guy and he can fish his ass off with a spinning reel on a fly rod. But it seemed a little unfair to come here without ever having to switch strategies and get a monster off a danged pink worm. Wasn't happening though (I would later notice where people had snuck in with worms, salmon eggs, and everything else and not cleaned up the evidence, so they've probably seen everything). They were sipping something very small and the night before while tying I had noticed some small pale duns on the lantern. White, maybe pale yellow, my entomology sucks anyway. I just happened to have one so I gave it try. Cast well up of the fish I could see and let it drift down to them. One of monsters came over, rose to it and.... left it alone with a turn that seemed to be scoffing at my attempt. "F" you too buddy, I woulda' eaten it.
     We wasted a good hour there before the fish released us into the rest of the stream. We stopped at every slow moving pool to gawk at the big ones, theorize that we would be able to catch the descent ones, then moved on down to faster water where my handy work couldn't be scrutinized quite so well.
     The pink chenille worms performed for Bro just like his power bait worms and he caught hand size trout everywhere he went with a couple of nicer ones. I refused to use one until I had at least given my crazy charlies a chance and got nothing smaller than 8" there, but only got two. Good enough for me.
     From there it was time to scout out waterfall pools and spent the rest of the day fishing non-stocked wild trout water. The pink worms pulled a trout out of every hole it thrown into. I got a couple off of small brassies, but were small enough I felt kinda bad about hooking them. Despite their size though, they were all beautiful specimens. Stocked trout don't have color like that, and I was happy to admire them. Luckily, none of them swallowed the hook and all of them swam away without a fuss. They really are pretty. The waterfalls were nice too, even the small ones.
    We decided that we didn't have enough time to really work the Davidson any better than we had, so the next morning we would get up early, drive to Panthertown Mountain and see if the fish under schoolhouse falls and warden falls were any larger.
We both landed a couple of hand size trout at schoolhouse and moved on to the trails. Of course we had to stop at every place and watch small trout dart in and out of every crevice. I began to wonder is us fishing types have created a practice of fish watching...sort of like bird watching, for trout.
     The fish were again small, but pretty. Got some pictures with little 4 dollar disposable jobs,hope they do them justice. When we finally made it to lower warden falls (a good hike from where you start) we were ready to fish leisurely for a few minutes before the hike out. Pink worms were nailing them for Bro. I finally relented because I only landed a couple while bro was working on probably two dozen in the last couple of days. I delivered the pink chenille nicer than I usually do and almost immediately had a bite. As I was coming around to work the little guy into a little spot where I could land him while handling him the least, my leg disappeared. There was an almost perfectly round hole in the rock that someone with size eleven hiking shoes on would have to step in perfectly to actually go in, and I did. The little guy got off on his own accord and I jerked my line into the only obstruction within thirty yards of where I was standing. I decided that fishing pink worms just doesn't suit me.
     We got back to the truck in one piece, me a little wet still on one leg, feeling fairly rejuvenated in a tired sort of way. We had been paying 18 bucks a night for the last two and decided that we didn't need to pay to camp when all we did was cook there, so we packed up, got on the parkway, and burned most of the night on the road. It was a beautiful though melancholy ride, as we were now leaving to get closer to home. Oh well, it had been a great trip of beautiful sightings of waterfalls, monster trout, miniature trout, and flies dangling from trees.
     We didn't tell anyone we were close to home so we could camp once more at the Dan and fish a little while before Bro's little boy played football on Saturday. It was windy and you couldn't keep your line in the water for ten seconds without getting a leaf, but I had good coffee at a pretty spot and ended up with one more rainbow (maybe 13 inches 14 tops) behind the old fellow's cabin to the right of the little wooden bridge.
     So four nights under the stars, three very descent fish, a handfull of handsized fellas, some campfire coffee better than most, and almost all fish including my brother's caught on stuff I had tied. (Yes I'm counting the pink worms, after all, I did tie them  :).



thanks for the TR befuddled.... sounds like a good time was had  :D

walt.... (this might show up twice.... 1st reply.... pffffttttt?)
"All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain."
— Cormac McCarthy

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