Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The Memorial Day routine
Fact: Cousin Charlie and family like to come to the summer camp on these major holidays, and while it's all very jolly hanging around with little children...
Besides, I get the place to myself most of the year, so it's no skin off my nose to skedaddle and let the folks have their time in peace.
It is my extreme good fortune that the other side of the family has a cabin in the Catskills, an hour and a quarter's drive from here. We don't share this with anybody, and it even has plumbing and electricity.
Arriving Sunday morning at about 10:30 a.m., I was confronted with the dilemma - do I sweep mouse turds and deceased faux ladybugs, or cut the knee-high grass?
(The ambitious and go-getting among you are thinking, "Aren't you going to do both?" Ha.)
I went with the grass.
Then I read the end of a pretty good mystery - The Skeleton Man, by Jim Kelly, and started a Weenie novel, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England.
("What the hell is a Weenie novel?This blog is going downhill fast.")
And then I went fishing, in my silly hat, shirt with the epaulets (in case of field promotion) and copious amounts of sunscreen.
The Esopus Creek is a medium-sized trout stream until it gets to Allaben, N.Y., where the discharge from what is known as The Portal, bringing water from the distant Schoharie Reservoir, turns it into a major example of muscle fishing (also suitable for kayaks and fat people in inner tubes). I like the upstream section because it's lightly fished and there's an excellent napping spot.
I cleaned out my chest pack and pared down the selection to the flies on the fold-down thing plus two small boxes. If I can't catch fish with what I've got, plus guile and experience, then I stink.
A slow day, in all. The sun beats down on the stretch I was on, which is angled almost exactly east-west, so nothing really started to move until about 7:30 p.m.
Which was fine, as I had a sandwich, cold seltzer, and the Weenie novel available for the napping portion of the fishing day.
Five trout total, only one of any consequence - a brown of perhaps 15 inches, who slurped in a swamped Light Cahill dry from the downstream part of the pool in the photo. I took the shot from that angle to show how close the stream is to the road, for no particular reason.
Above: The usual exercises in narcissism, shot by my trusty assistant Ralphus. Trad grass-cutting clothes: devolved Eddie Bauer chinos tucked into socks to deter ticks; Filson boots; Lands end buttondown short-sleeve; crumpled Orvis Stetson.
Iowa Smith and the Temple of Trout: Indy fedora from the Village Hat Shop and Filson shirt.
Below: This fold-out thing on my chest pack is handy but tends to get clogged up with flies. I spent the better part of forty minutes clearing it out and setting it up with wets. The hackles on dries get crushed when it's zipped up.
A stonefly casing from the upper Esopus. These big clumsy bugs make their unsteady way to the shore at night. Trout love 'em. When the casings are on the rocks it's good news for us.
The fly below hatched and courteously flew right into my hand. I have no idea what it is; my taxonomic skills are along the lines of "the little brown one, the big green one." A Light Cahill seemed the closest fit in color, and hey - it worked.
Pool on upper Esopus. Water is very clear; the angler must keep a low profile. Luckily it's a corner of the road; louts do not scramble down to throw corn and garlic cheese at the fish because there is nowhere to park, and the first rule of lout fishing is "Do Not Get More Than 50 Feet From the Car."
Bird crap on rock. The creature who did this must have been pretty big. Or pretty stopped up. I think I might use this photo to augment the movie reviews - a film so bad it doesn't even deserve a coil could get the Birdshit Award.
Posted by Patrick at 8:34 AM