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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fishing with Frog 2015

Fishing with Frog 2015
Frog on the was getting lonely

Last week I went on a traditional fly-fishing trip with my friend Frog and old fraternity brothers Catfish and Buddy along with friend of Frog Al Guy.

Day 1

I arrived at Frogs Tuesday night; the rest of the guys came the next day at 12:00.  We had a quick lunch and left for the cabin on Deep Water Lake in western Maryland.  We then fished the Cassleman River, a nice stream to which a friendly Mennonite family is nice enough to allow fisherman access through their farm.

The four of us, all one year away from the big 7-0, are not without senior issues.  Frog has to be careful of a bad back.  Buddy has a similar back problem.  I need to take it easy on my arthritic hip.

Catfish needs to lookout for Kryptonite.

The Cassleman is a nice stream, relatively easy to wade through and fish.  Catfish and I worked a pool upstream.  Frog and Buddy fished downstream.  Miracle of miracles, I caught the first fish, a nice 10 inch brown.  If you looked closely, the fish appeared to be wearing a tiny fish dunce cap…not sure what that meant.  It would be my last fish for the next day and a half.  Catfish went on to catch four rainbows, a slow day for him.  Frog caught two rainbows, Buddy one.  All in all a good day made even better when we decided to head to dinner at the local Uno’s before sunset.  So far Catfish was good on his word to not demand that we fish till dark. 

Day 2

Catfish was up a dawn and fishing at the dock for smallmouth bass while everyone else was just waking up and popping Advil.  He caught three and a large sunny. 

Breakfast was the traditional visit to “Little Sandy’s” where the waitress keeps the coffee pouring and calls everyone Honey.  We old farts like to be called Honey.

We fished the Savage River till 2pm.  This river is as hard to fish as the name would imply.  It has fast moving water, slippery rocks, hidden pools, and overhanging trees to snatch your fly mid-cast.  I worked a spot with Frog trying to land an actively feeding trout.  This fish wanted nothing to do with anything I put in front of him.  I retreated back to the car for refreshments and left the reticent fish for Frog.  It was then that I realized I had misplaced the car keys. 

Panic set in!

I searched everywhere.  I thought I left them on a rock while Frog distracted me with his expertise on catching the rising trout. 

The keys were not to be found.  At this point, Frog hooked the fish.

“Hey Jowls, I got him.”

I did not want to ruin his adrenalin high with news that we were stuck on the Savage until I called my wife and she drove from Jersey with a spare key. 

I believe I might have muttered the “F” word a few times. 

Finally I broke the news,

“Besides a serious accident, what is the worst thing that could happen today?”

“You lost your cell phone?”

“Worse, I lost the car keys.”

“You mean these that you left on the rock?” He said as he pulled the keys out of his waders.

“Never mind.” That was twenty minutes of my life ruined for no reason.

Realizing I was not going to be stranded on the Savage was the high point of the morning for me, I caught zero fish, but at least I didn’t lose my keys. 

I did hook a tree branch with my best cast of the day, lost three fly’s to poor knot tying and almost lost half of my pole when it flew off on another bad cast.  The only good thing was no one was around to witness my incompetence.

In the afternoon, after a Mickey D lunch, we fished the upper Potomac from the West Virginia side.  This is a tough river.  The water moves fast, and the rocks are round and slippery…almost impossible to walk on.  Catfish caught a rainbow after a three fish catch on the Savage.  Frog, Buddy and I caught sore muscles and strained backs.

Day 3 Joined by cabin owner Al Guy.

We fished the “Yonk,” short for what the Indians named the “Yonkamabuttoffslipperyrockswhentheyreleasewaterfromthedamn” River.

The Yonk is a nice stream, relatively easy to wade through, and chock full of fish.  Particularly fun is when they release water from the above damn with no warning.  The sudden sound of rushing water and watching rocks slip below the water tells you to get the hell to high land.  Al “Mr. Guy” was caught in the middle of the stream with hip boots, not full waders.  He barely made it back before his boots filled with water and ambulation was made impossible.  This is the second time the Yonk has almost drowned us all.  We may not fish it again.

In the afternoon we went back to the Cassleman.  I fished a sweet spot up river with Al.  The area was loaded with trout that did not like anything we offered them.  After hours of trying, Al did catch four rainbows.  Surprisingly enough I caught one small rainbow.

Downstream Catfish caught a boatload of trout.  He was most excited about a “Fall Fish.” This species is usually considered a junk fish, but Catfish is having a contest at his local club for who can catch the most species on a fly this year.  The Fallfish was his nineteenth specie.

Frog caught several fish and Buddy also landed two, including the largest of the week.

I am not a patient man.  Patience and perseverance is in high demand for fly-fishing.  Combining my demeanor with my poor skills I never expect to catch a fish on these trips.  Actually catching a fish always is a shock.

Saturday we made a short visit to Beaver Creek and caught nothing before calling the trip over…well Catfish did catch several but we stopped counting his total.

The fishing has been better in other years, though if I catch anything I consider it a success.  The camaraderie, the laughs, the telling of stories and the memories make the aches and pains almost worthwhile.  I hope to join this group again next year…(Marty, you better get in shape and join next year as well.)
I have learned several things on this trip.  It is much easier to thread a tiny filament of a fishing line into a near invisible fishhook eyelet when you don’t have cataracts, few things are as wonderful as a hot shower after three days of hiking and fishing, and a fart when wearing waders stays with you for a long time.

L to R Catfish, Al, Buddy, Frog


  1. catfish is amazing! loved the '20 minutes of my life ruined for no reason' comment. :)

  2. A nice looking bunch of old farts in that last picture. I wonder why, if you have the car keys, there is any question of fishing till dark.

  3. The most exciting part of this post is losing your keys, or you thought you did. Can to tell fishing isn't my thing? I'm glad you had a good time. You did have a good time right?

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  4. I think I would have panicked too about the keys; glad they didn't float down the river and were safe in Frog's pocket! I bet it will take a few days to recuperate from the trip, but it did sound like a fun adventure! Anytime with good friends I am sure is a great time!


  5. If you weren't having fun yet, you wouldn't be signing up for next year!

  6. Are trout smarter than (some) fly fishers?

  7. Now I am exhausted, and I smell like fish and farts. I'd better not spend 20 minutes looking for my car keys before I go to bed tonight.

  8. Joe, your fishing trips are always my favorite of your posts! Since you caught the only Brownie, YOU are THE winner! I love reading about you and your buddies fly fishing adventures. When I fished the Potomac from the WV side, I struggled as well. I inquired at the Harper's Ferry VC with a fly fishing NPS ranger, and he sent me north of Antietam, I believe, and put me on the safer, Maryland side. I caught several Smallmouth on flies I had tied--a first. I'll check that album, and let you know which C&O canal lock it was near. Would love to see the pics of y'all and your fish, too! Take care, Joe!