Recently I came up with what very well may be my best idea ever. I generally try to fill my schedule to the max. However, this summer I decided to try something different. Instead of picking up shifts on both Monday and Wednesday, the two days I generally have classes during the school year, I chose to take off on Mondays. I justified this crazy notion with the following: I take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in August and need one day designated to specifically to studying. Now, I know studying one day a week will not lead to GRE success, but setting aside one day a week to really dig in seems smart. Even though I will study for several hours on Monday, it also allows me a day to myself. Everyone I know works on Monday and therefore, I can get some great alone time in the mountains as well. I look to the coming Mondays with delight. I will call them My Mondays.
So, today was the first of those My Mondays. I slept in with my girlfriend until roughly 8:00 AM. I generally wake up earlier, but when she sleeps with me I tend to stay in bed longer. I eat a quick bowl of cereal, grabbed by fishing gear, kissed the girlfriend good day, and made my way to the mountains. Mr. Murray suggested I head for skyline drive, hike down and fish up a stream. However, I foolishly left my map at the home place and therefore, decided to make for a stream I knew from the bottom of the park. I picked Brokenback Run for two reasons; its proximity to my house, and the fact that my fishing trip there last weekend ended far too soon for my liking. Due to the heavy rains we received last week, the water level rose a little from my previous weekend trip. However, this is a small stream and the water level increased only a slight amount. I told my mom I would be back before 3:00 PM. So, I started on the stream around 10:00 AM after a mile hike up the road from the parking area. I needed an hour to walk back. Therefore, I had roughly 4 hours to fish this stunning little stream.
I began fishing the same section my brother and I covered last week. It surprised me that I hook two fish in the same locations as last week. I suppose each fishy has his niche. I used a size 14 Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly with a 2 foot tippet connecting a size 14 Bead Head Squirrel Nymph. Although, I lacked clear vision on all the bites I believe they all hit the dry fly. I guess having the second fly in the water increase the chance of a bite. However, I wonder if the line hanging down from the top fly ever spooks this fish. If I gave my opinion, I would argue that it does get in the way. So, I took it off in hopes of actually hooking a fish. I switch flies as well. I switched right where we left the stream last week. I guess I changed flies because Mr. Murray recommended a size 16 Murray’s Flying Beetle. I left the dropper/tippet with the nymph off as well. I only casted this Beetle a few times before I realized how much I appreciated the Mr. Rapidan fly. I found, or rather, could not find the Beetle on the surface when I casted. So, I felt I would fare far worse off without seeing my fly and switched to a yellow stimulator. I received a couple of bites, but not as many as I thought I should with such nice conditions. So, again, I switched back to the Mr. Rapidan. Sometimes you have to go through a few to realize how well the first one worked. Without the dropper, it worked even better.
–The last of the perfect pools.
I started getting more bites. I also started fishing some really nice water. After a few more casts I stopped for a bit to eat a snack and drink some water. I felt quite alone and happy with what I thought to be a remote location. Upon fishing up a little farther I released hikers walked not too far off to the right of the stream. I held mixed feelings about this. One, knew a way back without walking back down the overgrown stream sides. But I also knew I was not as remote as first thought.
After catching a nice little brookie (4 inches) next to a downed tree across the water, I came to one of the most beautiful holes I have ever laid eyes on. Three wide, smooth running pools separated by small waterfalls were directly in front of me. I thought I died and went to heaven. I knew a nice fish or ten lived in this area. To my surprise I fished the first two without a bite. When I caught sight of the third and final whole I felt strongly about my chances of getting a quality brookie out of it. I started near the waterfall and received a bite almost immediately. After a few more casts and working my way up the water I threw my line nicely beside a large boulder. Then it happened. A gorgeous brookie came right out from behind the rock and grabbed the fly. I viewed the take with perfect clarity. I hope I never forget that image. At this moment in time, I felt like a true fly fisherman. I pulled the beaut in and, like with all the other fish that day, it slipped right between my fingers before I gripped it. Therefore, I have only a story with no picture of this perfect fish. He was a nice size as well. Roughly 8 inches I would say.
–I even spotted a pretty doe on the hike back.
I long to make it back to that same whole and fish it as soon as possible. I feel like the experience of the last hole and last fish is something that only takes place in dreams. I will dream about it often. Even though the fish gods allowed me to take zero pictures, I caught a few nice brookies. Even in heaven, some days are better than others.