Presque Isle Mixed Bag Pilgrimage – Part 1
The anticipation had been mounting for months. Locations, strategies, gear, flies, food…. There have been wars that were executed with less planning. I suppose this is what one does when ones fishing time is limited. Ok, that’s a lie. I could fish every damn day and I would still obsess over the details. I suppose you could chalk it up to a bad case of FCD. That would be Fishing Compulsive Disorder of course.
It started with a trip to Sam’s Club. Gatorade…. check! Granola Bars…. check! Water…. check! Salted Beef Products…. double check!!
I dropped my kids off at school on Friday and headed over to CW’s house for the trek to Erie and the maiden voyage of the FishCat Pontoons. Since my fly fishing life began we were wading anglers so this experience is a new one for both of us. After about an hour of preparation, we stood on the banks of the bay with everything ready when the voice of Mark from the shop crept into my head…. “I hope you are ready to get blown all over the bay the voice said”. Well needless to say, he was right. The particular model we were on has a fantastic casting platform and lean bar so you can stand up with stability and sight fish with ease. They also completely screw up any sense of an oar stroke. I have to say, whoever designed this thing was a complete moron for not creating a lean bar system that could fold down when you needed to put your back into an oar stroke. As most of you know, I rarely do “gear reviews” but I have some very strong opinions both good and bad on this topic!
Despite rowing more than I was fishing for the first hour things began to turn our way as the sun began to drop. The first Erie smallie of the trip fell victim to an olive over white Clouser which turned out to be the blue ribbon fly of the weekend. I was drifting a flat in about 10 feet of water and my size 2 Clouser just came to a halt at the end of a strip. That familiar head shake put a smile across my face and it was game on!
One of the more pleasant surprises was finding my way over top of a school of crappie as they took a liking to my clouser over and over again until they got tired of our game of tug of war.
We eventually made our way back to the Fishmobile and re-tooled for the eventing as we moved into our favorite evening spot for some popper action on foot. There is something about that magical hour that gets burned indelibly into my mind. The fading light, the smell, the calmness of the water. I started out with a white pencil popper and as it got darker and darker I switched to a black cup faced popper that made plenty of noise on the glassy surface. After about a dozen stout largemouth found their way to hand we made our way back to the fishmobile by way of headlamp.
The day ended as auspiciously as it began. The heavens opened up and it rained buckets. The thunder and lightning show that appeared outside of our motel was nothing short of epic as we drifted off to sleep with tired arms and wonder of what the next day would bring.
More to Come.