It was a beautiful morning, clear, no wind, my truck thermometer illuminating a very comfortable 69 degrees as I pulled into the Masemore parking lot. Will Amland, Art Friedlander, Tim Pembroke and Jack Benoit were already there, trunks open and pulling out gear, with Ken Bowyer rolling in soon after. We were in no hurry and enjoyed the coolness of the morning while tugging on our waders and chatting back and forth about George Black’s book on American bamboo rod makers; Casting A Spell, while admiring the beautiful bamboo rod Tim recently built himself and was fishing this morning.
Waders on, rods strung up, we performed that parking lot ritual where everybody just sort of stands in a loose circle looking at everybody else wondering who is going where and who’ll say it first. There was some inaudible murmuring, hat adjusting and weight shifting, some looking up river then down then back at each other until finally some one said “I think I’ll head down” then everybody else voicing an up or down and, whew!… we were off.
Choosing to go up river, I followed Tim on the path for about an eighth of a mile before slowing and cutting into the river at a promising looking riffle. I paused momentarily enjoying the spicy aroma of late summer air mingling with smells of the river, then thinking I was hearing some slurps in the riffle below I tied on a realistic caddis. I made several drifts through the run and those close to it, but lack of any response had me changing flies, something I did a lot of for the next three fishless hours.
Heading up river I came across Will who was reporting the same success I was enjoying, no fish but a great morning to be out anyway. Deciding to head up to the large pool below the bridge I stopped along the way to take a couple pictures of Art casting a custom fiber glass rod. From my vantage point on the path above, the sunlight was catching the line as the loop shot forward unfolding to settle lightly on the water. After a couple of minutes of watching I broke in and asked “what’s doing Art?” “A couple on ants” he said. Proof there are fish is this river after all.
Tim and I reached the pool at the same time. He was working his way back down from some riffles above where he took two browns on a #16 realistic caddis. He said an hour before he had been fishing to risers in this pool and netted four on # 20 blue winged olive emergers. While we were standing there talking, a couple of splashy rises interrupted us. Tim said, “Go get’em” then headed for the flat water below. I did try to get’em, but all they would do was come up and look at my emerger, refuse it, then settle back into their holding position. Changing flies I got a false take on # 20 BWO dun, which was momentarily exciting, but my net was still dry. A little bit frustrated and a whole lot stumped, I stopped to stretch my back and watched Tim unhook another below me, then heard a little whoop from up stream and turned to see Art standing on the big rock below the bridge rod bent and throbbing with a fish. I watched him work the fish along the side of the big rock as he descended it in small leaps down to the waters edge and land it.
Yelling to him after the release, he said “took those last two on small brown caddis nymphs”.
“Good,” I said, “Because that’s what I’m tying on right now”.
On the second cast I took my first fish followed by another a few casts later then they turned off completely. Switching to a foam beetle I popped off a third fish by striking back on the rod with too much gusto which turned out to be my last chance of the day to net another. It was 1pm by then, my water bottle was empty and the heat was gathering some momentum so headed down the path back toward the truck for replenishment.
Along the way I came across Ken, the first I had seen him since that morning’s parking lot ritual. He began the day going down river and fishing it back up and was a little past the iron bridge when I came on him. He was working a beetle under over hanging branches close to the bank. Ken said he landed four browns earlier, three on a #18 prince nymph, one on a beetle, and lost two more after savage strikes. He said one of the browns leapt three times before getting it to the net making him wonder if he might be shirttail relation to some rainbows.
Tim came down the path just then and joined us saying something about hating to quit on an odd number and 13 at that. After mulling that over a few seconds I told him I thought 13 sounded like a fine number, but he wasn’t having any of it and was off in search of a better one.
Back at the parking lot, Will was having a drink and looking mighty cool out of those waders, prompting me to shed mine. Will’s day sounded much like mine only his few came on ants instead of nymphs.
By two thirty everybody was back at the parking lot ready to give the day over to the sun thinking about seeking some air conditioning and lunch more than fishing. We hung around talking a little, while Jack played the old hide my keys down my wader leg trick. I fell for it completely; watching him go through all the pockets in his vest and shirt, walking around his truck several times, looking under it and in the grass around it before Jack finally saying “ Oh!, here they are!” Whatta’kidder that Jack!
This had to be one of the most pleasant days I’ve spent on a river all year. A passer by told me water temps were 63 at 11 am, and even though the heat was beginning to build up a little by late morning, being on the water aided by some shade made it cool enough. The flows and clarity were good and a fair amount of fish were caught, Art and Ken did very well, and Tim had somewhere around a 20 fish day! I want to thank everybody for turning out. The next outing is the camping trip to Big Run State Park in Garrett County October 5th, 6th, and 7th. Anybody needing some info can contact me at email@example.com or, 410-740-8337 and, I’ll also have additional information on the October and November trips at the September membership meeting on the 19th. Hope to see ya’all there.