Skunked: verb, when the only thing you manage to catch is a buzz… if you’re lucky. At least this is the definition used in the fishing world. One could also use the term to represent the physical and mental annihilation of the other team in drinking games. Specifically, beer pong. Told you I learned something is college.
With the lady friend out of town for the weekend I figured I would fish. Kind of a no brainer, but it helps to clarify. I wanted to fish somewhere new, and being early March, I knew I could get a brookie from the Blue Ridge Mountains to chase my fly. I consider myself decent at catching brook trout. So, I thought this should be fun and relatively easy.
I decided to fish Jeremy’s Run on the western slope of Shenandoah National Park. I recently heard from a credible source that the western slope of SNP receives less pressure than the eastern sloped streams. This is due to the distance from the, ever-increasing metropolis that is, Northern Virginia (Nova). Being the weekend, I assumed the eastern streams would be more crowded. Made sense in hypothesis.
Additionally, it was overcast and pretty cold. The temp reading in my car never crept above 40 f. So, I thought I would have Jeremy all to me lonesome. I was wrong. Not one, but two, TWO cars were parked next to the stream. Both were clearly marked as fly fisherman’s vehicles. You can tell by the stickers, Trout license plates, and gear thrown everywhere inside the cars.
So, I called up Harry Murray. Kindly, I asked what I should do. I had a time constraint. I needed to be back in Fredericksburg by 5 PM for a shad fly tying event at River Rock Outfitter. He recommended hitting “one of the eastern slope streams”. Dammit, I wanted to fish something new. Oh well, I would hit the Hughes River by Old Rag Mountain . The Hughes is great. It’s the closest, good brookie stream for me. With a decent mile or so hike in, it isn’t as pressured as other streams of a similar quality.
I fished for two hours. Didn’t catch a thing. Not even a minnow. Were the fish gods mad at me? Did I not sacrifice enough Marker’s Mark from my flask? Did I not give them enough drags from the old, tobacco pipe? Did I use the wrong flies? Did I suck at fishing???
I called it a day and hiked up the stream a little more just because. In less than 100 yards I stumbled upon a gentlemen fishing tenkara, with dry flies, and wading through the middle of a nice run. I don’t know if he spooked all the fish I tried to catch, but it sounded plausible. At least a chance existed that I didn’t piss off the fish gods. There are few things worse than pissing off the fish gods…