Thursday, October 8, 2015

Trip Report: It Wasn't That Cold Outside

As usual, I didn't respond well to the alarm on Saturday morning.  Ambition was still fast asleep at 5 AM, and didn't stir until 6 AM.  I puttered about the RV gathering my angling things, piling them near the door.  After brewing a tumbler of coffee for the road, I dumped my gear from the RV and hit the road at 7:20 AM.  Arrival at Trout Run Creek was sharply at 8 AM, a full hour behind schedule.  Looks like some of the 13 Habits of Unaccomplished Anglers are shining through.

Outside temperature when I limped into the kitchen area was 31 F.  Add a little sunshine at Trout Run Creek: 37 F.  I pulled on waders and a tech vest over my long sleeve PFG (gasp!) shirt, and decided that was sufficient in the absence of wind.  I never felt chilly the rest of the morning.

I've only fished Trout Run once before, and that was with the assistance of a guide. I had a basic prospecting strategy, hoping for some kind of hatch to develop.  No hatch.  The strategy was mildly successful.  I missed several solid strikes while fishing wet flies under an indicator, but had no takers under caddis, blue wing olive, or stimulator dry flies.  So, for me, the secret to feeling really good about fishing is simple: low expectations.  Missed strikes are still strikes, meaning that I had offered something attractive to the fish.  If I'd had more time, I have little doubt things would have improved.

I "caught" one fish, but it didn't count.  The little nine-inch brown trout fought hard.  In fact, I thought it was a much bigger fish from the feel of things, something in the 12"-14" range.  As I pulled it in, it appeared that I had foul-hooked the fish just behind the dorsal fin.  Fish in hand, I grabbed my hemostat to carefully pull the hook out of its meaty little back, but found the hook had not even punctured the skin.  The hook had looped over the line, and I'd managed to lasso the fish when I "set the hook."  Feels too much like dumb luck.  Noon arrived and I high-tailed it back to my family.  Beer, brats, and s'mores around the campfire concluded the day.

This was a bittersweet trip.  I got some angling time with some mild success, but it was also the final camping weekend for the year.  I'm hopeful that I still have more angling time before New Year's Eve, but not confident.  So, I have a feeling I'll write something soon, in a reflective perspective on my adventures and accomplishments for 2015.  But it's not over yet.  And I have a writer's To-Do list:
  • Finish part 2 of my trip report for the mid-September 2014 trip to Montana and Wyoming. (DONE!)
  • Conclude the "Opportunity Knocks Twice" series. 
  • Sage 5-Weight Rod "Shootout" - My family now owns 4 different Sage 5-weight rods (plus a second Sage Grace for my daughter and my wife.)  I've yet to take the time to try them all side by side.  When I do, I hope somebody finds some use in it.  If not, that's okay.  It's something I need to do anyway.

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