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Stories

Stories about fly fishing for trout. Wild trout fishing in Pennsylvania. Stories about family and friendship on the water. Night fishing tales, and other fly fishing excursions.


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Stories

Full Days

on
October 12, 2018
Sunup to sundown.

There’s nothing as simple and yet so full of variation as a full day on the water. The diversity of situations challenges the will of a fisherman: Exhaustion from the forces of water --  its speed, its numbing cold, the pressure of its depth. Weariness from the weather -- the endless wind, the heavy rain, and the consuming heat of the sun. We soak in all the stages and moments that one single day brings, and we are alive through each one.

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Quick Tips Stories Tips/Tactics

Quick Tips — When to Fish Just One Nymph

on
October 7, 2018
John and I always keep count. He’s the only fishing friend who can pull me into such a race, and I’m not sure why.

Like all fishermen do at some point, I used to keep count of my catch. I even roughly calculated my catch rate at the end of the day, like this:

“Let’s see, I fished for five hours, but I took a twenty minute break around lunch. Walk in time was fifteen minutes, so subtract that too. I caught twenty-six trout, but I COULD have caught those couple of trout that came unbuttoned if I was more careful, so let’s add those in and say thirty. Multiply, divide and there’s my catch rate.”

But I don’t do that anymore. I don’t like to compete against anything but the river and the trout. And I don’t mind losing on occasion. Loss is a wonderful teacher.

John baits me back into counting every time we fish together. And there’s no fuzzy catch-rate-math involved either — just straight up fish counting . . .

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Stories

The Big Score — Meet the Bad Hombre

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October 5, 2018
Halfway down the flat, on the fifty yard line and right where the players meet for a coin toss, a small unremarkable nymph tripped over a stone and then recovered. It danced deep into the belly of a bucket, home to the largest and baddest brown in the river, and it paused . . .

One swift tail kick and an angled fin propelled the trout a few inches to the side. The hooked jaw open, captured and closed . . .

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Stories

Searching Through the Margins

on
September 28, 2018
I guess I was about ten years old when I started pushing past the boundaries of my parents' twelve acres of hills and trees. I easily remember the day that I walked into the damp valley and past the tiny runoff stream which I always imagined may hold a few trout -- or at least a few minnows. Instead of staying on the near side of the watery divide, I crossed it. I looked back once. Then I started up the hill toward the unknown. In my boyish, drifting thoughts, anything was possible . . . and I've been wandering ever since . . .
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Commentary Stories

The I’ll just lay my rod here for a minute mistake

on
September 14, 2018
People do the same things. The instincts of fishermen find identical paths upstream through the river — watery trails lead to the best water with the greatest efficiency. You can easily see where everybody else fishes. And I guess the flies and tippet-tangles in streamside branches signal that we all make the same casting errors too. Presented with the same problems, fishermen come up with the same solutions, and we make the same mistakes.

That’s all pretty harmless and kind of fascinating. But then there’s that thing we do where we leave our rod on the top of the vehicle and drive away. WTF? . . .

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Fishing With Kids Stories

Fishing With Kids — “Born to fish big”

on
September 12, 2018
Parenting is mostly guessing and then hoping you were right. My design all along has been to get the boys beside a river as often as possible.

Will they be fly fishermen at fifty? Will they take on fishing as a way of life? Will they need it as something to help them through difficult times? I don’t know. But I’m giving them that chance.

Joey waded through a knee-deep riffle, toward a bank side boulder that he’d never reached before. We’d fished for two hours with the fish count as zero as the skies unloaded a hard rain into the river. I waited underneath the half-shelter of a large sycamore and watched my son from twenty feet away . . .

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Troutbitten Hands Boy


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Fishing With Kids Philosophy Stories

Legendary

on
August 29, 2018
Hours earlier . . .

I walked behind Dad to the river. I kept my head down through the steady morning rain, watching water drops grow on the brim of my hat and then fall in rhythm with each step forward. On a muddy side trail I followed Dad: my boot tracks into his, my wide and awkward gait to keep up, the sucking sound of mud and rubber separating with each step, and more water rushing in to fill the hole behind — then the splashing of my own half-sized boots into his full-sized tracks.

We walked until our path finally ended underneath a stand of spruce trees at the edge of the river. Dad looked back . . .

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Stories Tips/Tactics

It’s Wading, Not Walking

on
August 28, 2018
My ten-year-old son stumbled across the river. With each step he seemed on the brink of falling forward into the flow. Wide eyed and stiff-faced, Joey battled through the current, expecting all the while to fall in, but hoping and struggling against it. It seemed like he was trying to win a race, thinking he might outdistance the impending accident if he just moved fast enough . . .

Nothing in nature crosses the water like a fisherman in a hurry. We look so out of place, bumbling around in waders trying to find a foothold and fighting a battle with the river . . .

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