Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Weekend in the Catskills

We spent this past weekend in the Catskills doing some fishing and watching the FIPS-Mouche style fly fishing competition on Saturday and Sunday, in which Douglas and two of his friends – Bryson and Alex - participated. We also spent time at the Beaverkill Angler fly shop in Roscoe where they had Troutoberfest going on both days. It was a wonderful weekend of fishing, seeing friends, meeting new ones, and spending time with some of my favorite people.

On Friday evening, Doug and I fished the Beaverkill so he could familiarize himself with the river before the comp, since he had never fished it. It was a beautiful evening, mostly clear and calm, with about half the trees lining the mountains still with leaves creating a dull tapestry of earthy colors wherever you looked. This year the foliage seems to lack the brightness normally associated with autumn in the Northeast, the prevailing reason is the lack of rainfall late in the summer and into the fall. The condition of the river was all one needed to see to confirm this fact, as the Beaverkill was very low; as low as I have ever seen it this time of the year in 30+ years of fishing it.

Here's Douglas hitting the riffle below the island at Wagon Tracks on the Beaverkill.

There were quite a few blue-winged olives on the water along with some little olive sulphurs. The BWO’s were small, sizes #22-24, and the olive sulphurs size #18 or so. Early on I took a couple of nice browns on a small soft hackle emerger fished in the film, but the fish stopped rising as the afternoon wore on. Doug fished some fast water with his comp nymph set up, and as luck would have it, the trout apparently stopped feeding subsurface as well.

We didn't get much fishing in before Doug had to be at the Beaverkill Angler for the pre-comp meeting and beat selection process.  There were about 26 participants, and the meeting went off without a hitch.  Before long we were back out and headed to the river to get in a few minutes before sundown.

When we got back to the cabin after the meeting, we had about 30 minutes of sunlight left.  The cabin overlooks the Beaverkill, so rather than drive somewhere, Doug quickly got his gear on and I directed him to the fast water down below the cabin.  I grabbed a beer, my camera, and followed him down.   Shortly after we got down to the water, Doug caught a small rainbow, but that was it for the night.  We did get to witness a glorious sunset (see my previous post).

I'll spare you all the details of the comp except to say everyone met at 6:15am both days in the center of Roscoe before heading out to their beats.  Beats were situated on the Beaverkill, Willowemoc and the East Branch of the Delaware Rivers.  If you want to learn more about competitive fly fishing, you can go to the Trout Legend website HERE.  From my experience this weekend, it is nothing like you may think.  The anglers and the organizers are anything but competitive, except while on the water, and only in their efforts to catch fish.  The prevailing sentiment of the event was one of camaraderie, conservation, respect, and inclusiveness.  It was a pleasure hanging out with these guys all weekend.

Now for the fishing, or lack thereof.  Seriously, the fishing on Saturday was about as tough as it gets, with gusting winds and very low water.  The contestants struggled just to get one fish during their 1 1/2 hour sessions, but not one of them gave up at any point.  I fished for a short period of time, and took one nice brown on a soft hackle emerger.  The tough fishing continued on Sunday as well, without the wind interfering and adding to the frustration of everyone on the water.

After dinners at the Riverside CafĂ© in Cooks Falls each night,  we went back to the cabin to tie flies and tell stories.  On Saturday, Bryson and Alex joined us.
                                                       Photo by L. Muhlfelder
When it all was over, the high hook for the weekend was 5 fish.  The average per angler that caught fish was 2, and unfortunately a number the anglers got blanked.  

Finally, here is the event's winner, Bill Chioffi, with his new Orvis Helios2 fly rod.....and his new shirt.  Thanks!  

So much for a short blog entry.  Sharpen your hooks, and do a rain dance!         


Mr. Q said...

You can't win 'em all!!!
Nice hair cut Grobert.

Matt Grobert said...

Mr. Q - The's photo shopped. I actually had my toupee on when the photo was taken. : )

Hacklebarney Jimmy said...

I heard that some of our younger Hacklebarney members had tracked you down and strong-armed you into a fly tying session! They were the talk of the Hacklebarney outing at the Inn yesterday.

Matt Grobert said...

Hi Jimmy,

We had fun, and its always good to have kids involved. Keeps us adults out of trouble. :)