Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Early October on the Home Water

There was a time when our forefathers would take us fishing and have to withstand an onslaught of tangled lines, broken equipment, and overall impatience. In addition to the hilarity that was fishing in our youth, my father would occasionally rent canoes or rafts. In almost every instance, my brother, sister, and me always had difficulty rowing in a straight line. Our father always passed it off as our fault and my brother earned the nickname, "Matthew goes around in circles".  How times have changed. In recent years, I am the one taking the old man out and having to tie all his knots, row him perfectly down the river, hold him up while wading, and catch him when he loses his balance on the boat. When it comes to rowing, I've realized that it never was the fault of my brother, sister, or I for the watercraft going in circles. It was my father. Recent excursions have only reinforced my new conclusions. Fishing in our family has finally come full circle...

A long spring day of throwing streamers for smallmouth prepared Big Poppa Pump well for a similar situation. Albeit, this trip occurred in the fall and for pre-spawn browns on the river of our youth.  The conditions were not the best as wind was expected to be a steady 15-25 mph with gusts approaching 40 mph. Nonetheless, I was confident that the high flows would safely escort us downriver. We lucked out with a downstream wind, but occasionally found ourselves in an oxbow or wind tunnel, where we had no control at all. 

Big Poppa Pump is a beginner on the rod and completely lost (but learning) on the oars. In one particular instance, I relinquished the oars to fish a nice stretch. In a matter of seconds, we found ourselves being blown across the river at such a speed that my Dad lost his hat. The raft slammed into some over hanging trees creating a chaotic scene in which I saved multiple rods. Due to the wind, I found myself safely escorting my Dad downriver as he caught his first few trout on streamers. The largest was a stocker that he hooked and landed all by himself.

Miraculously, I experienced some great fishing on my limited time off the oars. The highlights included two 14-16 inch smallmouth and a plump female brown that came off anchor or in the first few casts after pulling anchor. If I didn't succeed in those windows, my Dad would have us going in circles from bank to bank. Despite these obstacles, my largest trout of the year actually came as the raft was rotating its way across river and my fly line was under the raft. I was literally stripping in a Drunk and Disorderly sideways as a large male brown trout slashed at the fly. Amazingly, I set the hook on the other side of the raft and my Dad netted a beauty. 

Days on the water with my old man are far and few between. I am thankful for being able to spend time with him and return the favor. The rowing, frustration, laughter, and success ensure that these precious few days will always be remembered...

October Caddis...

No comments: