Bamboo Rod Get Together March 22, 2014 Outing Report
I can only say that I had a great time! I'd like to thank everyone who attended. It was great to see everyone out enjoying themselves. I have to say I wish I had taken pictures. I did have a camera, but in the excitement of putting together fly rods, casting them and talking to everyone I completely forgot to take them! It was a beautiful day. By 3:00p.m. my thermometer read 70 degrees. There was some wind, but not in my mind significant wind, and the sun and warm temperatures made up for any casting issues with the wind. I think there were an even dozen folks who showed up. Those in attendance were: Bob Dietz, Tim Pembroke, Jamie Gold, Alan Burrows, Frank (forgive me Frank, but I forgot your last name), and his son Caleb, Art Friedlander, Steve Fletcher, Jack Benoit, myself, Joe Robinson, and Bob Kaiser. If there is anyone I have forgotten please forgive my aged brain. We had a lot of fun, casting cane, talking cane, and dreaming of cane. Even though I had to put together 6 rods I had time to cast 9 different rods others had brought, and there were plenty left that I just didn't get a chance to try. I learned a bit about the famous maker Everett Garrison, and something about another maker Lyle Dickerson from Tim Pembroke. Steve Fletcher kindly had a slender 7ft. 3 wt. by Orvis, and Bob Dietz had a wonderful rod by a rod maker from Washington State named Jeff Pope, who built a 7'9" 5 weight on a Garrison taper. That rod simply hummed in my hand. I got a chance to try 3 very nice rods made by Tim Pembroke and others as well. Everyone looked to be having a great time. We pretty much had the run of the lawn downstream of the York Road parking lot. When Bob Dietz and Tim Pembroke finally drove away I glanced at my watch and it was 2:00 p.m. The time from 10-2 just flew by. Some folks did some fishing afterwords, but I only heard from Art Friedlander, who reported seeing midges, but no fish rising to them, and as far as I know no fish came to his hook. Bob Dietz was planning on fishing the flats above the Bunker Hill campground area, and Tim Pembroke said he was planning on fishing as well. Alan Burrows said he was heading to Great Feathers along with Jamie Gold, and after they were going fishing. Others needed to get back to stuff they had to do. After getting my stuff in the car, and eating some lunch I headed downstream of where we had been lawn casting. My 70 degree 3:00 p.m air temperature was paired with a 49 degree water temperature right at the first riffle below the York Road bridge. Tim had said that the temps were approaching 43 up at Falls Road, so I guess 49 is possible at York. Still, my thermometer may be off. By 6:30 my thermometer was reading an air temp of 60 and a water temp of 49 again about a half mile downstream of where I started. I fished only 2 flies in 3 1/2 hours. A size 8 Black Ghost streamer, and a Little Brook Trout tied on a size 12 hook. I fished down and across most of the time with an occasional upstream swing. The first half hour I fished with 2 split shot 6-8 inches above the fly. After no hits and considering the depth and speed of the water (160 something cfs) I switched to a 7 foot quick sinking polyleader. This cast very smoothly and brought the fly down deeper. I was able to bring 2 fish to hand, both hitting the fly in deep water during a simple slow drift. A 9 incher took the Black Ghost, which I then tangled in bush and lost, and a fish approaching 12 inches took the Little Brook Trout. Strangely the first fish was belly hooked, and I'm guessing swiped at the fly but got itself hooked below. I only had one hit besides these 2 fish all day. I saw one small rise, where a fish came partly out of the water in a slow section near shore, but it was certainly a small fish, and may not have been a trout at all. There were stone flies, and quite a few of them, in the air. A few of them hit the water, but I didn't see one rise to them. Highlights of the day besides the cane gathering, was seeing what looked like the beginning shoot of a skunk cabbage clearing the ground, kingfishers in flight, a dozen turkey buzzards circling, one of which was way up in altitude, and a grey squirrel leaning over a tree branch to sip water. It was an incredible day to be out. Hope others had an equally fun day whatever you did. Attached are a few shots I took.
Cheers, Jed Feffer
After the bamboo get-together (and going on a quest to find some polarized sunglasses) I drove to Bunker Hill. When I arrived, there were three different car loads of angler suiting up, and they all went upstream, so it made my decision about which way to go easy. Fishing, however, was anything but easy. I fished hard all the way down to the I83 bridge, with an assortment of wets and streamers, fishing top to bottom, without seeing a fish either rise, or holding in spots where I expect to spot them, nor a single insect of any sort, and without single tug on my line. (Fishing on bottom was a bit of a PITA, because of the didymo, which otherwise wasn't too bad.) I made several passes through sections that I know to be highly productive, but still, nothing. About 6:30, I'd had enough, and headed back upstream. About half way back to the car, I encountered a swarm of midges, the first insects I'd seen. There was no indication of anything rising to them, but I had to give it shot. I kept the same flies on that I already had on, since the top dropper was a partridge and orange, and for some strange reason, I often do well with that fly when there are midges about. On the second cast, I hooked a fairly nice fish, brought it along side, and promptly missed with net. On the second pass with a net, he popped off. I was not amused, since I haven't landed a fish all month. I fished the stretch for another 15 minutes without success.
When I got to the feeder that comes in from the north just below Bunker Hill, I paused to watch a family of beavers swimming around the pool. As I did, I noticed some tiny rise forms in the pool, as well as some midges of about size 26. I swapped my point fly for snipe and purple (another soft hackle that often works when there are small midges) and fished upstream to rises. I probably missed four or five fish by incorrectly guessing where my flies were. (Upstream, dead drift wet fly fishing to exactly the same as fishing a invisible dry fly -- you're watching the spot where you think you're fly is, and see a rise several feet to one side or the other. By the time it occurs to you that maybe you were looking in the wrong spot, lift your rod tip to confirm that fact, the fish is long gone.) I got tired of playing that game, and decided to test my conjecture that any fish rising in the Gunpowder can be induced to take a size 16 Renegade. The fish I cast to did not prove to be a counter-example. First fish on a dry fly of the year! I taped it at almost 12 inches, a reasonably good fish for the GP. By this point, it was nearly dark, and I didn't try for another one. A great way to end a very enjoyable day.