Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Fall Practice Session on the Beaverkill

autumn on the beverkill river
Beaverkill River: a little past peak but still beautiful.
H: October 22, 2011: Well, a quick switch rod practice session on a nearby river turned into a full day of fishing. It was such a fine, crisp autumn morning, I thought, why not head up to the Beaverkill and continue practicing—it's only another 1.5 hour's drive :). Well, the drive alone was worth it. I grabbed a bite at the Roscoe diner, renewed my NY fishing license, then headed to the river. I hoped to return to one of the spots that Craig showed us at the beginning of the season. I followed old Route 17 as it wound its way along the Beaverkill. As I drove through underpass after underpass, things started to look familiar (my friends will vouch for my excellent memory—it's like an elephant's ;). I remembered Junction Pool, Carin's Pool, Painter's Bend, etc. The Beaverkill was more beautiful than I remembered (I was a bit harsh last time), even with the foliage being slightly past its peak.

I parked under an underpass and walked to the river. It felt both familiar and fishy. Plus I would have this stretch all to myself. With no bugs or rises to be seen, I decided to nymph with my 8 wt. switch rod. Yes, I know, it's completely overkill for catching trout (unless it's a supersized one on steroids). But honestly, I wasn't even thinking about catching fish. I just wanted to practice my newly learned spey casting skills.

waterfall by the beaverkill riverAs the river was flowing from my left to right, I started with the double spey, focusing on not overpowering my anchor set and attempting to mimic the casting motion that both Andrew and Craig had taught me. The hours flew by: walking, hiking, scouting, walking, crossing waterfall, hiking, walking, scouting, stopping, wading, rigging, casting, setting anchor, casting, mending, stripping, setting anchor, casting, cussing at my incompetence (my close friends will also vouch for my cussing--directed solely at myself and usually PG-rated ; ) Come on! Better acceleration... rod tip higher, dammit!... smooth level motion... quicker stop... Jesus, girl! Relax the death grip...

After about 2 hours of double spey and lots of walking (and swearing) thrown in, I decided to find a shallow spot where I could cross the river and practice the snap T. I drove upriver and found a nice calm shallow riffle. There were a couple of other anglers there but I didn't care. I crossed and proceeded to practice. After about 15 minutes, I felt I was getting the hang of it and started shooting line. As I began stripping in line to execute another snap T, I felt weight at the end of it—it was a fish! It had hooked itself at the end of the swing. I landed him in seconds. It was embarassingly effortless (small fish...big rod :). He was a lovely brown. I practiced for another hour or so before calling it a day and heading over to the Riverside cafe for a well-deserved beer.

beaverkill brown trout
A lovely wild Beaverkill brown decked out in fall colors.

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