The One That Didn't Get Away
By Mike Hogue
I am not sure what qualifies anymore for a great day of fishing. Large Numbers? Big Fish? Or maybe some great company with some interesting sites to see, attractive wildlife and scenery? Gee how about all the above?
My wife Laura is getting to know me all too well. She pretty much has me nailed down as to what I like and don't like. For instance: I don't really give a hoot about fancy places, names and labels. I like a good many things but for the most part, I am not all that complicated. A good place to fish, some nice company and lots of interesting things to see and I am pretty satisfied. Laura pretty well gets that.
Long before I meet my wife she became friends with Cathy and Barry Beck. Not that names matters or any of that, these are some fine folks, great fly fishers and they have become good friends of Laura's. Laura worked pretty hard this year and had a very nasty last summer teaching summer school with 2 sessions. Laura decided to attend one of Cathy's Fly Fishing Schools and also to spend some time fishing with guiding with Cathy. I tagged along to do some fishing and it was a fun trip. ( For some great pictures and info about Cathy's school check out: http://www.barryandcathybeck.com )
Fishing Creek is about 120 miles from me. Not all that far. Benton, PA is home to the Creek and it is a small farming town in the Endless Mountains. Driving around Benton is a bit like seeing in living color a magazine or calender. Gee, then it dawned on that why bridge that and why that riffle and the pond looks so familiar! Of course! The Becks are photographers and use the local backdrops for scenes used in many, many pictures they have taken over the years. Often they sell pictures that are used in many different magazines. So it was a taste treat to see places from all these different venues.
The Creek itself is more like a river. It is about 40 feet in most spots and has a steep grade to it. I would guess the river goes about 25-30 miles before it meets up with the Sesquahanna. The structure has a mix of pocket water, flat water, riffles and runs. Generally both sides of the river are bounded by hemlocks, oak, maple and so it is usually shaded. Casting with this sort of cover is a challenge which is meet by going side to side and making drifts down parallel to the stream rather than a straight up or down.
My first time out I fished an upper stretch. I meet up with a mixed crowd of Barry's friends with car tags that listed names from all across the Northeast: MA, PA, NH, MD, NJ and of course now NY. I pulled on my waders and started casting. Not much for the first few hours and as the day went on, I pulled out an Ausable Bomber. This is a perfectly nasty looking excuse for a dry fly but I figured what the heck. The water was high and fast so I figured I could at least see the darn thing. Tossed it up in bushes, rip. Nothing. Over by the weeds. Nothing again. After beating the water finally a silly small brown nailed it. I soon discovered one of the keys and holding places. Different colored rocks and also light would strike at odd angles through the trees. As soon as I found that out, I starting nailing fish and some more and well some more after that. What sucks is I flat out wore out the fly. I kept fishing with the same thing. I haven't done that one in ages. Now I know why so many different car tags were in the lot! I lost count but a lot of fish fell victim to the bomber.
Next day out started on the slow side. Laura had some reading to do, so I fished a lower private stretch down from Benton (sorry I won't tell you where). I parked the car and pulled my waders on. I added my rain coat and polar tech since it was one cold mother out. I started fishing and it started raining. More like it poured. The fish were rising and rising and I nailed several solid fish that fought like nobody's business. I saw a really nice looking bank and run and tossed the bomber over the top of the run, floated it down. Nothing. I did this a few times and caught a nice 16" fish. Finally, I figured time to get out the beef. I tied on a black woolly and started drifting. Then, Bam! Fish on!. This sucker ripped out some line, ran and I had him on hard, he stuck his face up and I died. It was a huge fish, must have been 9 lber. ( I am SOOOOO NOT kidding! ) The rod bent, he turned his head and then it happened. I busted off. Crap. He broke right at the tippet junction knot. I don't remember the last time that happened. I saw just enough of his face to get me pumped up. I had to come back for some more.
I had to go pick Laura up so I rolled up and headed for the truck. I started thinking. Man that was a big fish. Laura and I ate lunch and I went through the whole story. She couldn't believe that I was going to go back in the rain to fish and I was quite insistent that we go since it was so good. I set Laura up to fish and she started casting to a dry. I backed off a bit to give her some room and figured what the heck, I'll give the run one more shot. I tossed the woolly bugger in and then bam! It hit, I was really determined to land this fish, I put him on the reel and started cranking. I reversed the rod tip and got a good hook set and then I knew I had him. I slowly walked the fish in and wow! My eyes popped out of my sockets. This was a hefty 4-5 lb rainbow shaped like a football and a round head, it was easily a 21" fish. Awesome man! I caught and landed one of my biggest trout ever! While it was the smaller cousin, it was still a great fish, pouring rain and all it was a fantastic day of fishing.
So how's that for a fishing story? Pretty darn good....... Thanks to Laura and the Becks.
New Tackle Stuff:
I don't know about you but leaky waders suck. Nothing is worse than wet pants. For the most part the new breathable waders are a godsend allowing you to be more comfortable in even the hottest weather. Trouble is many waders have membrane issues, the seams leak the feet are badly done. I have also heard dealer stories of 50% return rates on certain brands.
I have been searching for a company which offers a great product at a great price and stands behind them. I bought a pair and field tested these and I was very impressed.
Dan Bailey's offers one of the best waders on the market. Bailey's is one of the oldest names in fly fishing and they stand behind all the waders with this warranty. YOU will get at least 180 trips out these boots and they offer a 100% satisfaction gurantee.
This is it, " We are so confident that our products will meet your high standards we guarantee all Dan Bailey products to meet your satisfaction 100%. If at any time you are not satisfied with the performance during the normal life of the product, please return it to the place of purchase or to Dan Bailey's for prompt service."
Nobody, I repeat nobody offers that warranty! Say goodbye to leaky waders, crappy seams, feet that leak. Say goodbye to feeling hot, sticky and sweaty.
Dan Bailey Lightweight Breathables: are made from a four layer waterproof breathable membrane. The outer layers is a shell of durable nylon while the inside has a soft nylon tricot. These waders feature built in gravel guards, self adjusting side tabs and a stretch quick release set of straps. The front has a nylon webbed attached to the tops so you can hang, paste, clippers or hemos on them. Inside front pocket for car keys.
Sizes: Men's Stocking Foot: S,M,L, XL, ML, LL, XLL, MK, LK, XLK $199.95
Men's Boot Foot: 7-8-9-10-11-12-13: $249.95
Women's Stocking Foot: S, M, L, XL
Bare Bones Wader: The same great reliability and quality. The Bare Bones feature a durable outside shell, side adjusting straps and stretch straps. The material is a lighter grade shell. The straps are designed on both models with an alternate clip system so they can be folded down and worn as a pair of waist high waders: Same sizes as above: $129.95
Dan Bailey SL Wading Shoes: Lightweight, attractive with padded cuff. Heel and toe are reinforced for extra protection. Felt soles. Whole sizes 5-13: $54.95
Special thanks to all that turned out for our first annual open house. In spite of the rain everyone had a great time. Fishy Fullum showed us his new spider, Bill Skilton demo'd his wonderful hellgrammite. Bruce Hollowich did a great job with the casting and rods. We did give away a boat load of prizes. The lucky rod winner was of course Lance Diorio . If you haven't picked up your stuff let me know.
Big selection of flies on hand. Shipment of over 100 doz flies just came in. I have one of New York's largest selection of flies at the best prices. My prices are $10 a dozen for trout patterns, $1.50 each for big dries, stones, streamers and salmon flies. $2.50 for weighted flies and $3.50 for bass/hair bugs. I have about 300 different patterns on hand. Email me for fly pattern list/. You won't find these prices at the new Basssssss Pro_less shop.
Yes I have the double bunny for the super low price of $1.50 each!!!!!!!
Heritage Rods have been flying out the door. If you need a new rod, this is it! 2-3-4 piece models, plus spey and steelhead rods. All weights from size 3 on up with 7 to 9'6" lengths. Best seller so far is the 4 piece 9 foot 4 weight. Called the best trout rod I ever used by AK Best. Prices from $100 and up. Email me for rod list.
Clear Creek Hip, Chest and Shoulder Packs are in.
Great for warmer weather. Most hold at least 4 boxes of flies without breaking your back. Prices from $35 to $50. Email me for more info or stop out. You can only fish one fly at once so why carry 32 boxes of flies and look like the Michelline Tire Man in that vest full o stuff?
Cane Handle Bodkin: Cool pieces of antique rod tips made into a bodkin. $4.00
Crystal Antron Chenille: Sparkle flecks twisted into antron chenille. Very cool. Colors: Red, Black, Med Brown, Tan, Gray, Chartreuse, Olive, Hot Orange, Purple. $2.25\
Very Nice Flast tool wallet: Indian select water buffalo hide. It has a suede finish with velcro, hold flat tools and then is a tri-fold. Very cool. $17.50
Really Nice Dyed Fox Tails. Extra Long white with some black tips. Dyed Olive, Blue, Brown and Golden Olive or Natural White: $10.00
They are back: The Olive folding fly box. My Favorite is back again. Folds in half with nice latch, clear windows inside. Holds a crap load of flies. One side is adjustable w/free Neck cord. $12.50
Dyed Snowshoe Feet: These are dyed feet, use them for the Usual and the now the unusual Usual. Colors: Olive, Yellow, Chartreuse. $2.50/ foot
Bar Dyed Bunny Strips: Bleached and dyed. Has cool colors. Brown with tan, Orange with Black, Chartruese and Olive, Olive and Black, Olive and Brown. $5.00
Chum Dyed Zonker Strips. Very cool. These are perfect for that Alaska trip. Orange flesh with white tips. Looks exactlly like that flesh. Use in that wonderful stocker hole Byron Haugh calls home, the MO trout farm, Bennett Springs. Use this stuff to clean house!!!!! $3.00
Extra long Saltwater Peacock. You asked for it, I've got it. Super long 17" peacock herl, peacock on steroids. Use for striper flies or Kenny Abraham's stuff. $3.50 a bunch
Bleached Moose Mane: The is the long stuff about 4", bleached. Ideal for bodies or extended body flies. $2.50 a pack
Caribou: Nice and easy to spin. Often used for Rat Face McDougall or Irresitable. Natural; $2.50 a pack. Makes nice mice too.
Giant Guinea Hen skin: Pearl guinea , black with white spots. Number one select skin. Great for salmon flies and also streamers. $35.00
Still got it: Deer Mask ( Aka deer pizza ) . Nope this is not a new flavor from the Hut. It is a dried deer mask. Full face with ears. Makes the best compara hair ever. $20.00
Just In: Targus 300 in jumbo size 2-4-6-8, 4XL, DE hook with chemically sharpened points. Ideal for streamers. $7.50 /pack of 50
Targus 8089: The hot bass hook. 3XL, RE with stinger/sproat bend. Ideal replacement for 3366 hook. Use for hair bugs and mice. Smaller barbs. Size 2-4-6-8-10. $7.50/50
On Display: For those that have loved the Paul Whillilock flies in Fly Tyer, I received a care package in the mail this week from England. Paul's wonderful mayfly arrived and it is on display in my office. If you want to see, stop by some time. It is very good. You don't have to buy anything. Gaulking is free.
Recent rains have clouded many streams. By some reports, we had a record amount of rain in May. The Green Drakes and Hendricksons are mostly done. The March Browns are just about completed also, although a few are still around. Sulphur hatch is just starting. You can fish this one before dark. Crane flies are solid bet and you can imitate those with a very large caddis or an Ausable Bomber.
You can drive a few miles to Auburn and fish the Owasco Outlet near the city water system. This is a tailrace with 2 dams and it stays clean in even heavy rains. Watch the CFS and output and check the USGS gauge before heading out. Upper Fall Creek above McClean has fished well between rains.
For those wanting to drive, many of the PA streams haven't gotten as much rain. Streams like the Loyalsock and Fishing Creek are an easy drive and offer lots of fishing and about 100-150 miles away. Delaware is also hot and the higher waters are fishing well but might require a canoe or kick boat.
Bass season opens 6/15 and you can try fishing smallmouth in the Outlet and South End of the Lake when the season begins.
As usual if you would like to be deleted for any reason contact me. For info on ordering contact:
Badger Creek Fly Tying
622 W. Dryden Road
Freeville, NY 13068, Mike@eflytyer.com, 607- 347-4946
For more Info Contact:
Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068