Slow Weekend on the Rappahannock Fall Line: April 26, 2014

Planning for last weekend started back in January. I purchased Fly Fishing Virginia by Beau Beasley with some money I received as a Christmas.  Over the next several weeks it became my bed time reading. Now, one must understand, reading before I go to sleep is sort of a foreign concept to me. I generally only do so, if I feel it necessary for school. I get through a couple of pages — if that — and soon my eyes are so heavy, closing them seems an immediate inevitability.  However, a stray from the norm took place with this book.  I found myself getting excited and, dare I say, becoming lost in simple yet interesting details about streams, rivers, and ponds located throughout the Old Dominion.

While the mountain streams captured my attention more so than most other locations, one stood out amongst the rest, the mighty Rappahannock, as I like to call it — with a voice intended to sound like Clay Jenkinson’s of the Thomas Jefferson Hour.  For some reason the way he says, “the mighty Potomac” sticks in my mind and I often enjoy substituting the Rappahannock for its larger northern neighbor.  Yes, the Rappahannock at the fall line in Fredericksburg.  I currently call this little historic city my place of residence and have so since attending the University of Mary Washington for my undergrad.  Therefore, reading about the excellent fishing literally, right in my backyard created quite a stir in my brain. I found myself thinking, how could I have lived here for so many years and never known about the pole-fun located so close? Well, honestly, playing soccer every day, attending college full time as a double major, and working a significant amount kept me quite occupied.  I only really found my love for the outdoors, when both soccer and school slowed down, a little.

Let’s get back to the point: After reading about the fall line fishing on the Rappahannock I knew where I would be for at least one weekend during the Spring of 2014.  It is true I caught the end of the Striper run last year, but I knew little about it then.  This year however, I invited a number of friends the stay the weekend and hit the water Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So, after the typical 7 to 3:30 shift on Friday I drove straight the river to meet up with the crew. The water level looked perfect, the fish jumped hungrily, and the weather soon took a turn for the worst.  Sadly, we only casted for about an hour before thunder began rolling.  In that time, I caught a nice little Herring and my good childhood friend, George Franklin (name change, because he wished to remain anonymous) hooked into a nice striper which lead to a five to ten minute battle, ending in yours truly skillfully grabbing the gracious monster from behind.  We, used sinking line, with Clouser Minnows for the Striper and Tommy’s Flash Torpedoes for the Shad and Herring.  Side note: When I list flies, I would recommend either purchasing them from the original maker, or a local fly shop. Help those people out, because they’re awesome!

Photo: Jb with a hard fought striper on the rapp

With the onset of the storm we quickly decided to hit the local watering holes and enjoy our time together. Two good friends, one great friend, myself, and a brother had a night on the town.  The next morning, we woke a little later than intended and made our way back to the water by 8 AM. It was already starting to rise and get muddy. We tried our best and quit not for several hours. Yet, we fished in vain. So, we watched an English Premier League game, napped, showered, and made our way to this Nation’s great capital.  D.C. United kicked off at 7 PM. We planned on riding the Metro in from a friend’s house, but the HOV lane lacked efficiency and an hour drive turned into a two hour affair.  So, instead, we drove straight to the game. In the end we made it on time, watched the home club take all three points and made our way to another group of watering holes after the match.  We sang, we danced, and we were marry.

Sunday morning came with the excitement of a Liverpool versus Chelsea title clash.  Sadly, Liverpool could not breakdown the very organized defense of Chelsea and the Blues took all three points.  Hopefully Manchester City trips up in the following weeks to give Liverpool their first title in twenty-one (?) years. After a long search for the car keys — which I smartly placed in my toiletry bag the night before, so I would not lose them, of course — we drove back to Fredericksburg in search of a clear river. We found none. We napped, everyone left, and I began studying for a biology test.

The weekend fishing lacked the fun and excitement which I imagined for the past few months.  Still, I dare not say it lacked adventure. Although we caught a low number of fish and Liverpool failed to conquer Chelsea, it was time well spent. We fished, we cheered, we enjoyed.



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