So the first day of vacation begins and what do I do? I start some home projects. If Bill Engvall was around he would have said, "Here's your sign, Mary". Yeah, not a smooth move (more like dumb ass) as the home projects seriously cut into my fishing plans. I am not sure how painting the kitchen morphed into peeling wallpaper from two rooms, priming, painting, new baseboards, etc. etc. but it did. Stranger things have happened, I suppose, although right at the moment I can't think of any. Must have been all the fumes I was breathin' as a result of having had the floors refinished at the same time.
I eventually get enough of the work done that I did head out on a road trip to North Carolina to visit son #2, AKA Sam (the best and most awesome, of course). Thanks, Sam for proofreading!!
After two days of driving I arrived in Winston-Salem. Sam had asked one of his co-workers where he should drive Miss Daisy to for some fishing. Seems that in this area of N.C. trout fishin' takes second place to bass fishin' and one of the closest places from here is up in Virginia. At this point, I didn't mind what we went fishin' fer so long as I got into some water and pulled up some fish.
Saturday morning dawned partly cloudy and rather humid, just like New England this summer, but we set off for the New River up by Fries, Virginia. This section of the New River is approximately two hours from Winston-Salem. We googled up directions from Map Quest and found the "shortest route" or what I now refer to as the road from hell. The start of the trip was rather routine on highway 52 N but the roads gradually narrowed and the trees began to close in. Eventually we ended up looking for Pipers Gap and driving on a "road" that was barely wide enough for one vehicle, never mind our car meeting up with Bubba's truck barreling down the opposite direction with all the ease and skill of a wanna be NASCAR Champion. It was a beautiful drive, as drives go with views from behind eyelids that were squeezed tight as I sat in the passenger side of the car. The only thing that made the drive up to the river worse was knowing that we would have to go down the same way!
But I did manage to take in the scenery of deep dark forests that met the edge of the road. I have never seen forests so thick with oaks, maples, rhododendron and various other greenery. At one point we saw a doe and her fawns romping through one of the few open fields and barely missed a woodchuck as it tried to commit suicide in front of us. But the road from hell had frequent hairpin curves that Sam seemed to relish driving faster than my comfort level. I do believe he saw his window of opportunity to get back at mom for keeping his room clean! Either that or I have really turned into Miss Daisy.....nahh, that can't be it.
We eventually did find the river with the sound of banjos playing in the background. Two of 'em, to be exact. To really fish this stretch of the river you should have a canoe or kayak. Since we had neither we searched along the road for "easy access". Weren't none to be found until we headed to Fries and found a very easy access point, complete with parking lot and port-o-potty. Fishin' heaven!!
At first blush the New reminded me of the Housatonic on a late July day. Extremely wide and on this day a slow flow rate. There was a dam upriver but the flow was over the top which kept the temperatures of the water fairly warm. There were stretches of nice pocket waters as well as gentle pools that drifted slowly downriver. There were geese hanging around and green forested mountains surrounded the area.
We parked the car and got ready to fish. It was warm so I decided to wet wade. Since Sam doesn't fish he offered to pack the couple of fly boxes along and off we went.
First, we headed off downriver and around a small island. My goal was to fish under the trees and brush as the sun was high up at this time with the occasional cloud moving through. The wind was a constant but not too strong presence. At one thigh deep pool that was under a very old oak tree I was rewarded with one fish on and then immediately off. After several hours it was time for lunch at one of the picnic tables along the river. As I was walking to the table I noticed that the parking lot was full of pick up trucks and that there were now more guys out in the river than when I started. As I was enjoying the scenery I heard someone say, "Showmhowtzdun".
It sounded just like that. One word all drawn out and my brain going, "Huh?".
"Pardon, what did you say?" I asked and when he repeated himself I was able to listen closely and hear him say, "Show them how it's done."
I just laughed because from what I could see I had shown them how it was done because I was not the only one getting skunked by the fish.
After lunch I fished for a couple more hours. NOTHING. I tossed muddlers, a variety of buggers, hoppers, ants and beetles. I even let Sam pick out some flies just for the heck of it so he handed me some leeches. I was starting to think that the budding cumulus cloud build up and increasing wind had something to do with the lack of fish. Sam's co-worker had warned me that the fishin' lately had been tough. He was right.
We did our drive back down the mountain only this time without meeting any other vehicles coming up. Whew! Thank goodness.
However, Sam went into his comedy routine of , "Look Ma, no hands!" while rarely applying the breaks along the Road From Hell Drive #2. As we arrived back home we heard that there were flash flood warnings for the same area of the river we had left. Seems those cumulus clouds budded into something big and along with severe thunderstorms there were also tornado warnings posted. Yup, the fishin' was tough but I definitely think those bass new something more was up.
|Dan River, Virginia|
|Dan River, Virginia|
|New River, Virginia|
|New River, Virgina|