Captain Mike Corblies, Director of the American fly fishing schools and I just returned from our "Trout bum" tour of the north east. It was great. on Saturday the 2nd we went up to the Catskill fly fishing museum in Livingston manor NY to take part in "Summer fest" this festival takes place every year up there and fly shops and enthusiasts come from all over to take part. They have a cane rod casting competition that is sponsored by Hardy/Greys and that's pretty cool to watch as these guys can cast some fly line. The collection of bamboo rods there is very large you see every thing from Leonard,s to Payne,s to Garrisons to Dickerson, Orvis bamboo rods as well. I own many Orvis bamboo rods, mostly Battenkill and Madison as well as a 2wt Flea. I even own a mint Leonard Catskill and I fish them all. These rods were built to be fished, not put away in a closet. Dont let anyone tell you not to fish it cause its too valuable. Wheres the value if you cant fish it? If you break it, it can be fixed, if its lost, you can find another one. Orvis made THOUSANDS of these rods and they are everywhere on the internet. They are much more affordable then you might think. Or you can call Orvis and they will put you through to rod appraisers that also sell these older rods and they will have one to sell you or find someone who does. I know these guys and they will give you a great price. DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY... Fish that rod!
We then we set off to the upper Delaware and stayed with A.F.F.S. members Ben and Cindy Rinker owner/operators of the east branch outfitters in Hankock NY. Here they own a beautiful old farmhouse right on the east branch of the Delaware river that is very large and very comfortable to stay in. My room had a window that was as large as the Queen sized bed and right next to it. I had the big dipper as my bunk mate for hours. In the morning we had to start our drive up to Willsboro NY in the Adirondacks to long pond lodge on long pond owned and operated by A.F.F.S. members Jane and Pete Casamento we stayed there for the night. and after breakfast we headed out to fish the Bouquet river just down the road. I caught one smallmouth bass that was very small and we went on to catch the ferry that goes across Lake Champlain to Vermont so we could continue on to Maine by way of Quebec Canada, its shorter to Go that way and drop back into Maine. We met A.F.F.S. member, Hal Blood owner of Ceder ridge outfitters in Jackman. Here we stayed in one of the many cabins he owns, it had two bedrooms and a main front room that also was the kitchen and living room. I love to cook so we bought groceries at the local store and I made dinner for Mike and I on a 4 burner gas stove with revere ware pots and pans that are in the cupboard. I have been to MANY lodges and cabins in my travels but this was by far the best place I have stayed ANYWHERE. Everything was clean and very comfortable. Tile floors throughout the whole cabin, shower stall was 4 ft by 5 1/2 ft with Plenty of hot water and great pressure, about 1000 channels on satellite TV and everything. BEST CABIN EVER!
The next morning we were met by Tom Hamilton. He is the CRO fishing guide who took us 14 miles up a very rough road to fish a brook trout pond. Here Tom and Mike fished out of an Old town canoe That the outfitter supplied and I fished out of one of our sponsors kayaks, the KC12 made by the KC KAYAK COMPANY in Louisianna. We fished wooly buggers and nymphs to some picky trout but had better luck on another pond down that rocky road where at about 700 pm we had some action on top with small caddis patterns.
That next morning @5.00am we headed out to Portsmouth New Hampshire some 210 miles away to meet A.F.F.S. member, Captain and guide Dave Guerard Owner of RIP TIDE CHARTERS to fly fish for stripers out of his 20 ft Lund Alaskan.We had lots of looks and two hookups with one fish @25 inches boated The bait-fish were small spearing called rainfish and our flies were twice that size so the stripers were not sold so well on them.
The scenery was awesome with rocks a hundred yards long that had pine trees growin out of them and light houses that were very old and still in service. The water is crystal clear and stripers are everywhere.
We then drove 210 miles back and about 10 miles from the cabin, around 11.00 pm we saw three Moose in the road ,A Bull a Cow and a Calf. They first looked like stains on the road but grew out of the surface to become Moose that were just hangin out on the highway (one lane each direction) We slammed on the brakes and they trotted off the road. As we started away the male then charged for the truck on my side thinkin he could not let us near the calf,.. I guess,.. and made me about poop myself right there in the truck. Fortunately he stopped just before hitting my door. I said, "lets get back to the cabin Mike so I can have a beer" Mike says, "A beer sounds good Pauly...WOW!"
The next day we meet our pond fishing guide Tom again and head off to another pond to fish Brookies with LOTS MORE LUCK! it is raining, and as they say, you want to be as about as wet as they are and we were. They were taking caddis on top and they were not at all picky today. We caught the hell outta them.
At times, it was as if the trout would real quick see where your fly was going and race there to eat it AS SOON AS IT HIT THE WATER, Like it was a game they play. This pond is only 10 to 12 ft deep in the middle and we were catching trout at the edges too. I missed one that jumped almost into my kayak and he was 16 inches @ about two lbs. Hook jawed and all! most were much smaller 8 to 12 inches but some have been caught to 5lbs in that pond.
The next morning we went 20 miles or so to Forks maine to meet A.F.F.S. members Chris Russell and Mike Pilsbury They along with Greg Caruso own the Kennebec river angler. We then headed out to the upper kennebec river gorge to float that river in avon rafts with rowing frames and two seats on each end for fishing out of. They lowered these rafts down a cliff on ropes and pulleys to the river shore and we walked down a 120 step staircase to launch. it looks a lot like the Lehigh river gorge with a lot more pines along the banks. It was also a very rainy day and the Land locked Atlantic salmon were on the bite. Kris Eaton came along as well. Kris works with them as a guide and was a lot of help to us as our party consisted of two rafts.
We floated 7 miles and Fished a Caddis pattern of theirs and green body Caddis bead head nymphs that I so happened to bring with me. I caught 6 land-locks up to 16 inches @ 2 lbs just like that Brookie I missed the day before. Then I hooked a very large Salmon that I played on film for many minutes til it slipped the hook just two yards from the raft. The salmon don't get much over 22 inches and a 16 inches is a very good specimen, They said, so I was very happy even though I had lost A BIGGER ONE. Then we saw a young bull moose crossing the river downstream as we rounded a bend, and he stopped right in the middle when he saw us,.. stood there wonderin how we got there until Captain Mike Corblies in the camera raft floated down to him, then he turned back to where he came from and stumbled over to shore and ran up into the woods. That's now on film and will be shown at our seminars at the outdoor/fishing shows this coming winter. The guys all said they only saw moose in the river two other times in 23 years as the gorge is so steep they can't get in. That was cool... REALLY COOL!..... Not like our first encounter with another Bull Moose.
Then we headed off to Vermont to stay at the Red sled motel in Manchester for the night and then go to the The American fly fishing museum to take part in the summer fly show on Saturday the 10th. It was good to see fellow fly fishers there that I know and to catch up on all things to do with our sport. We had great weather and smiles all around. After a Wonderful diner at a very nice restaurant we then drove back home that night.