After we all got back to camp, I felt that I needed to get my mojo back, and get at least one fish before night. So I took off for Area 2 promising Barry that I would be back by dinner. I knew a couple very small runs in Area 2 that most spin casters avoid for some reason even though they are only two feet from the shore path. Sure enough I landed a bow in some fast water on my "go to fly" the Hare's Ear. Yes, I know Merc my nickname is now "H.E."
A great dinner of grilled chicken wrapped in bacon, along with chicken pot pie and vegetables cooked in dutch ovens replaced all those calories we burned on the river. Wishing that I had brought a tent, I retreated back to my "inn" room about 8:30.
The next morning when I got to the river the temp read 36 degrees! A temperature we hadn't seen in a long time this winter. For you folks that are wondering, don't worry the car was parked.
After downing some of Ralph's coffee all the attendees started to arrive. We learned that the mystery fly was to be the orange soft hackle . I was paired up with Jason Williams who lives up the road from me in Pilot Point. We headed off to the "boulders" in the S. Wilderness Area after discovering that we both had previous success there. The first hour turned out slow for us. I netted only one, and we each lost one of our only two flies. We travel back down river with Jason stopping off in a run that he knew had fish. I elected to travel further down to hole that I had previous success in.
This hole I knew for sure could get me at least 5 fish, and I was surprised that nobody was in it. So I attached the last fly I had, and got excited about going into battle with the bows. After letting out some line in my hand I threw my arm back to start the motion of casting. Coming forward with my arm, I felt probably the worst feeling any fly fisher wants to feel when he/she knows there are trees behind you. You got it, I snagged that darn fly into a tree branch that was way out of my arm reach. In all my excitement I managed to loose common sense, and didn't look behind me for obstacles. So my day of competition was over.
With that all behind me, I stuck on my trusty Flashback Hare's Ear with a red zebra midge in tow. Sure enough I landed 4 more bows, with dozens of strikes on top of that. Just to add the early misery, I never lost a fly the next 2 hours!
Jason showed up and told me that he had lost an 18 incher! He told me how she jumped in the air, and then headed for an underwater brush pile. He did all he could do to keep out of it, but that gal got in that brush and snapped his line. It seemed like he and I had some of the worst luck with these soft hackles.
I told him to come stand where I was and start throwing his line into the hole. Sure enough Jason landed fish after fish. One being good enough to take place of that lost 18 incher.
I didn't get much fishing in after that. Every time I put my camera away after taking a picture of Jason with a fish, he turned around and hooked another one up that needed a picture taken. That was okay though. I enjoyed taking a break and taking pictures that he could share with his family.
When the event was over we all sat around once again restoring all those burn calories with some of Ralph's great chili. So good that it deserved two bowls.
Here's Jason, Matt, Charlie, and Barry all pounding down Ralph's chili.
In closing I have to say to Charlie, Barry, Merc, and Ralph that you boys did real good! I think probably most of us have never participated in an event like this before, and certainly never met so many people from the forum. Jason, I had a great time and look forward to your offer to teach some of the "warm water" fishing that's so popular down in this neck of the woods. Gentleman, I thank you.