Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Fly Angler's Thirty Foot Putt

After my trek up and down the mountain on Saturday, I needed a leisurely day to recover. Since the weather was too darn nice to not go fishing, I decided to run out to the delayed harvest stream in Waynesboro. No hiking, bushwhacking or boulders to climb over...the legs would get a break...perfect. This stream has never been all that kind to me and I had pretty much written it off last year after several fishless trips in a row. Part of the problem here is that the stream runs right through the city of Waynesboro and is heavily poached, despite the fact that it's a catch and release stream for most of the year. At least that's what I like to tell myself after not catching any fish. Add in the factory that runs along its banks, the shopping carts and lawn chairs that litter the stream bed and it's just not the kind of experience an outdoorsman is usually looking for. The ducks are a nice touch though.

Even though I don't fish here often, sometimes it's the only game in town. Earlier this winter, when the mountains were choked with snow and the spring creeks were inaccessible, this place allowed me to at least get on the water. On one such trip, I hooked and, promptly broke off, a huge rainbow trout, and that one fish renewed my interest in the trashy treasure. A fisherman will put up with a lot for the chance to land a hawg. For you golfers out there, it's kind of like crushing the perfect 280 yard drive while shooting 102. Sure, your game sucks, but that one shot will keep you coming back for more.

If that rainbow I lost was like a 280 yard drive, then the brown I landed today was like sinking a 30 foot putt to save a 99. It wasn't huge, but definitely respectable. It was fat and healthy, and it fought with style...going airborne at least 4 times. Like the 30 foot putt, this one fish saved an otherwise lackluster day and as much as I don't want it to, will probably keep me coming back to Waynesboro for more. At least when it's the only game in town.

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