** This post is from contributing author, Pat Burke. **
I’ve become very passionate about hunting big fish. It’s become somewhat of an obsession and influences the spots I choose to fish. I often favor places with bigger fish, and I have no issue going somewhere that has fewer fish, if I have a chance at a good one.
A while back I chose a stream that was more of a numbers stream than big fish water. I went on a short outing and didn’t stay long before packing my things up and heading home. As with any local fishing trip, I talked with Dom a bit about it afterwards. I explained to him that it was “nothing special, so I left”. He seemed taken back a bit by this remark, and it later became a joke about an ordinary day of fishing.
I realize now that it was a strange thing to say. It wasn’t like the fishing was slow. I was catching plenty of 10-12 inch beautiful wild browns. I’ve been back to this stream many times since and I feel I may have had too narrow of a view on what makes a stream, or an outing, special.
For the last day and a half the skies opened up and Central PA received a good soaking. This was the first good rain we’ve had in a long time. Every other stream in the area, and most of the northeast, blew out. For everyone else this was a day of sitting at home. There just weren’t many good options to fish. I went to that faithful local stream that can withstand a typhoon and still be fishable. That is something special.
Last night I prepared by tying up a new streamer pattern. This stream is the ultimate training grounds. It boasts more wild trout per acre than any other stream in the state. I guess you can say that is also special. Every cast you are guaranteed to be drifting past at least a couple fish no matter what section of the river you are fishing. This gives you a great amount of confidence to experiment and know fish are seeing your fly. The new pattern worked and I caught fish on it. I’d drop it right against the bank, strip it back to me with slow erratic twitches. Many fish took within the first couple strips.
The sun peaked over the hillside and the streamer bite turned off. I alternated flies and just about everything worked. With the large boost in flows, the fish were hungry and more than willing to take a fly. I picked them up on midges…
And any other nymphs I tried. Godspeed get bigger…
So next time I say this stream is “nothing special”, please remind me that I can fish 365 days a year, to the highest concentration of wild trout in the state, catch them with many different tactics and rigs, AND make it home in time to watch the Steelers stomp the Bengals. Yep, I’d say that is special.