The October 22nd weekend was already a hearty one that included a hunting trip, some yard work and watching some football when I decided to put a nice cap on it by going down to the creek after lunch on Sunday in pursuit of a trout or two.
The Clarks Creek in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania runs the length of a narrow valley that is likewise named after this gentleman named Clark. The valley for the most part is heavily forested, which means shade and a lot of cool, clear water. The water was a little high but was running nice and clear, as I could see as I headed down the path. Leaves tinted by the season were floating by, some red and some yellow or brown.
I had with me what I call my ten dollar rod. It is a beater set-up that I use when I am mainly using fishing as an excuse for drinking a couple of cans of beer. I also use the beater when I take the beagle fishing with me. Bogie tugs at the leash as you are heading down the path, and I don’t mind slashing through the branches and brush so much with this rod as he yanks me around. The set-up consists of a one-piece 5 foot South Bend fiberglass spinning rod that Walt McCabe gave me in Wurtsboro, in 1974. The reel is a Silstar “tiny” spinning reel that I picked up new for about ten bucks. I use 4 lb test mono on the reel. This rod and reel combo is great for tossing a bit of worm into the water and waiting, which is an exceptional thing for such equipment if one wants to drink more than fish. Because of the sentimental value placed on the rod, too, I would still be a little pissed at the dog if he got me tangled up in his leash and caused me to take a spill as we headed down the steep path to the creek.
And so I arrived at the creek with dog, rod, some worms and my little canvas creel within which I had packed my small pocket tackle box and two cans of beverage. If you root around in that creel long enough you can also find several rusty hooks, an equally oxidized tape measure, a jar of glo-mallows, some bug repellant containing DDT and a throw-away camera with several images from a 2005 family vacation.
I tied Bogie off to a nearby sapling and he immediately set about chewing on his sack and licking dirt off his paws, which translated into him leaving me alone as I walked out onto a large hemlock trunk that had fallen across the creek and was more or less stuck there half in and half out. This made for a nice little fishing dock. There was a smaller tree that had fallen alongside of this, and by bending one of its limbs just slightly I made a handy little rod holder.
I flicked out a bit of worm on a size 10 hook, which I had tied on beneath two tiny split shots, opened a John Barleycorn and waited. It did not take long and the rod tip bent down sharply toward the water. I gave her a slight hook setting motion upward and—nothing. Suddenly the requirement was to put the can down and put a little more concentration into the fishing. I cast out again with fresh bait and let this offering catch the center of the stream a little more. Bam…there was tightness and then I could see a trout working side to side as I carefully brought it in. A nice little bend in the old fiberglass. I reached down and carefully plucked it up out of the water—a 13 inch brown trout. I caught it right on the corner of the mouth, so it was easily unhooked and released.
I worked bits of worm a little more, with no results. I then tied on a Thomas Rough Rider, gave it a pitch upstream, and worked it back down toward me with just enough speed to let it flirt with the rocky bottom. About halfway home something hit. Again there was the back and forth action but this one was on its way downstream, so there was not as much fun. It did make a nice little run when I had it up to the log, where it shot out into the deeper water but I easily turned it around and brought it in—a 10 inch brookie. The fact that this fish hammered a decent sized lure like the Rough Rider speaks volumes with regard to the aggressiveness of a brook trout.
A couple of fish being caught (and released) and the beer being gone, Bogie and I headed back to the house and both took a nap. It was a good, fall weekend.