Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Little Slice of Heaven

We headed off the water well after dark and headed back to our campsite to make a fire and cook up some grub. Wood was scarce, so I got to work splitting the timber we had with my Gerber survival knife. Not to make excuses but I was on about 40 hours of no sleep and just fished from sun up to sun down. While setting the blade on another piece of wood, I missed and plunged the six inch fixed blade about a third of the way into and then across my pointer finger. It didn't hurt initially, but as the blood began to gush, the pain set in. Pat and Austin were quick to get to work as I slowly got lightheaded. I obviously needed stitches but when your without cell phone reception, in unfamiliar territory, and it being close to midnight you make do with the first aid materials on hand. Thankfully, I packed a kit and got cleaned up pretty well. Soon, we were cooking some dogs and bacon over the fire like nothing happened. The next morning we were going to work a little slice of heaven.

If you love fly fishing pocket water, then the Savage River in western Maryland might as well be your Shangri-la . It's as if the fly fishing gods got together and designed a short tailwater that tumbles down a picturesque ravine complete with every type of pocket you can imagine. To top it off, every little nook and cranny contains a trout. The trout are hands down the prettiest fish I have ever seen and you can catch wild brown, brook, and rainbow trout. They are no pushovers though. The downside to this awesomeness is some extremely treacherous wading. However, this seems to be a deterrent that keeps a lot of fly fishermen from exploring too far away from the major pools. Every time I have fished it, it hasn't been crowded. In other words, a fly fisherman's heaven.

My favorite set up for fishing pocket water is to utilize a dry-dropper rig. On this particular occasion, I used a large caddis for floatation purposes and had a heavily weighted soft hackle nymph three feet below on 6x. With the water high and flowing fast, we needed to perform tuck casts to get our nymphs down quickly to the fish. Using this set up we caught a bunch of wild brown and brook trout as we slowly made our way upriver. The largest trout came in in a deep pocket along a boulder. A gorgeous 16-18 inch brown with the typical large head, slender body of a good Savage brown. Pat worked the fish well for quite a period, but it shook the barbless hook on one last run down into a rapid. It was awesome, despite not having landed the Savage river trophy.

Day two of our annual trip featured outstanding fishing and camaraderie. It came to an end while we shared a laugh and watched fish rise over 7x pool. The next morning, we began our journey home making sure to stop at Los Trios for some extremely good Mexican food. The year prior, we randomly stopped at this joint for a quick dinner and loved it. We wanted to do it again, despite not remembering where it was. After we explored the third different exit, we finally found it. Our second annual trip was officially complete.

Fishing trips can sometimes not go according to plan, but when you share the experience with two good friends, your guaranteed to have a memorable time, no matter what. Even if you almost cut your finger off. Here's looking to year three.


Mr. P. said...

Looks like a beautiful place.

Mr. P. said...

Looks like a beautiful place