Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making the Best of a bad situation

A while back, the OBN issued a Writing Prompt asking for stories from the Outdoors that revolved around "Damaged Goods". While I try to limit the amount of actual damage I do to my gear, it does happen every once in a while. My most memorable one wasn't because of anything spectacular , but rather the resourcefulness in not letting the misfortune ruin the day.

Back in the late-90's, I was in northern PA for a couple of days of fly fishing with my small stream buddy, Dave Messics. Dave is the one guy I fish with who can go with me for wild brookies, and we fish together perfectly on tiny streams, leapfrogging each other the whole way up a drainage. Those of you who fish these tiny streams know how rare it is to find someone like that.

This particular day, we were fishing the Right Branch of Young Woman's Creek in Clinton County. We took his truck, parked at the point we wanted to take out, and walked the dirt road back downstream for a solid 2-3 miles. We would spend the afternoon working the water back upstream to the truck. I had my favorite small -medium stream trout rod along - a Winston 8', 4 wt. TMF (Tom Morgan Favorite). We trudged through the woods to get to ur starting point and rigged up. I gave Dave the first run and started going upstream. When I got to the spot I wanted to fish, I needed to step down of a small rise to get to the stream. I stepped onto what I thought was the ground. It was not. I went into a dry wash filled with leaves and fell forward onto my face. Even then, I held the rod out to avoid smacking it on something (I heal - the rod doesn't) Well thought out strategy, but poor implementation. The rod broke in 2, about 6" above the cork grip.


Now what do I do? I have 2+ miles of beautiful water in front of me that I have to walk past to get the car. My day was shot. Or was it?? I still had a little over 7' of fly rod at my disposal. I put the reel and broken seat / grip in my pocket, and proceeded to fish the rest of the day. I would strip the necessary length of line off of the reel in my pocket. I couldn't shoot much line, but found that I could do pretty well with a fixed length of line. (In retrospect, this may have been my own personal introduction to Tenkara fishing!) And - I caught trout! Wild brookies. Probably not as many as I would have with a functioning fly rod, but I caught fish nonetheless. And I 'll never forget these fish due to the extenuating circumstances. It ended up being a pretty cool day on the water.

Btw - the rod got repaired by Winston and is still my favorite fly rod


Brk Trt said...

What a this could only happen to me story. And the way you improvised to save the day.
Good stuff

Cofisher said...

For some reason, I wouldn't have expected you to do anything but what you did.

Anonymous said...

Wolfy, you da' man! Way to make goodness out of calamity. Never say never, right!

Passinthru Outdoors said...

This is exactly how I would expect someone with the passion to drive on. Great story.

Thanks for sharing.

Passinthru Outdoors Blog - Sharing the Passion

Stephanie and Dustin said...

What a resourceful mind at work. Potentially ruined day turns out to be a day to remember, fantastic!


Wolfy...a man that says, "Where's there's a will, there's a way"!! T-E-N-K-A-R-A...got a lot it!

Bill said...

I'd like to think I would have done the same thing but probably not. Nice ingenuity Wolfy!

Functioning said...

Nice Job! Sorry about the rod though.

chris bone said...

I hate breaking rods its the only thing that can ruin a good day of fishing.

William @ AnglerWise said...

Great post. Most people would just call it quits, but you made it work. What you did with your fly rod, wouldn't work with a spinning rod though, unless you break only the very tip.

Dave Messics said...

I remember that day like it was yesterday! Let's do it again soon!