For a chilly blustery December day we had a great turn out; Bob Kaiser & his future son in-law Adam Nyzio, Steve Fletcher, Josh Loh, Ken Bowyer, Jed feffer, Bob O'Donnell, Lou Reichel, Bob Dietz and myself all made the trip. Dave Simms was signed up to come but he had to pass on account of illness. We missed ya Dave, so feel better and we hope to see you on the January outing.
As planned, we started out at the "Run" on the Yellow Breeches but not seeing many fish we were packing up for Big Spring within a hour. As we were getting it all back together a couple guys pulled into the parking area and said not to bother, as they had just come from there. We ambled on over anyway. Bob D, Steve, Ken, Josh & Jed all stopped at the ditch, while the rest of us continued on down to the next pull off. We still had about an hour to fish before starting lunch and pleased to find a fair number of fish in the runs, some even quite large.
I would have preferred it to have been a little overcast, but the sky was cloud free, bright & blue, with the temperature a crisp 33 degrees at 10 am. On the way up on MD 15 just before Thurmont, Lou and I spotted a lone Zebra grazing in a pasture a little ways off the road. I immediately took this as a powerful omen to fish the Zebra Midge. And, as luck would have it I had tied up a fresh bunch just this past week. We could see a few small midges glittering in the sunlight above the creek, along with orange-ish caddis that Bob Dietz thought were October caddis fluttering around, and an a few sporadic mayflies I think may have been Blue Winged Olives.
The fishing was tough, that dang wind sent casts off course and created drag on the leader. I spotted a small pod of fish in a run between the cress and got what I thought were several good drifts through the fish with a # 18 Black Beadhead Zebra Midge and #20 Simple Pupae trailer. Big Spring has a winter spawn and I was trying to stay out of the creek and not tromp throug the redds. To that end I was making longer casts than normal which I'm sure was causing me some drag, and sent the fish back into the cress. Not really spooked and darting for cover, but more of a slow fading away into the cress the fish acting more annoyed than scared.
Around 1pm we decided it was time for some lunch and swap some info. Bob Dietz who had been fishing the ditch rolled in soon followed by Steve, Josh and Ken. Bob, Josh and Ken all reported hooking fish with Bob LRD'ing one on a partridge and orange, Josh's on a Scud and Ken's on a Beadhead Brassie. Even that little bit of action bolstered our confidence a little. Bustling around we got the food unpacked and pots on the stoves and it wasn't long before the steam was blowing off the tail gates in thick puffs signaling the guys still fishing lunch was about ready.
After a cold wind has blown down your neck for a couple hours, some hot food can go a long way in providing a little comfort; and warming up from the inside out has got to be one of life's better simple pleasures. We woofed down boiled brats & dogs on heated buns slopping over with mustard, and steaming bowls of homemade beef barley soup that Steve Fletcher brought complete with crackers, and a bottle of hot sauce. I'm usually pretty good at monitoring my intake but after three dogs, two brats and three bowls of soup I was feeling a little swoony and waddling around like fat duck. We were full as ticks but Lou missed his desert and announced next trip we're bringing a sheet cake and maybe some hot cocoa too. It wasn't nothing fancy, but about the only thing that could have made it any better would have been a nice big bomb fire and maybe a power nap, but that would most likely attract some unwanted attention.
The rest of the afternoon was pretty much the same, except the slanting afternoon sun glaring off the water was brutal, making fish spotting extremely difficult. By 4 pm or so we were wrapping it up at the parking area taking our gear off. Then this guy showed up, waded in right in front of my truck and caught two fish in no more than 5 minutes! This after we had pounded the water for five hours. Bob O. asked him what his secret was and he said "I live here, fish it every day, and I'm a guide ". Yeah, well.... that probably helps. I can never remember names, but my best recollection is he said Ken O'Malley, but that's more of a guess than anything. After releasing the second fish he waded over and showed us some flies, looked at our boxes and made some suggestions for next time, and shared some tactics for Big Spring and how to better spot fish. He was truly a nice fellow.
Anyway, on the way out we stopped to say bye to Bob Dietz at the Ditch, and he said he finally did land one, so Bob kept the skunk off the outing, the rest of us just got to go fishing on a real pretty winter day, and ya can't beat that.
Next outing January 2015 at Big Spring; date dependent on weather trends.