Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I was fighting a cold that was soon to become tonsillitis, but this place's magnetism kept me moving down the road, down into the floodplain, and into the cobbled riverbed. A rainy cold front was headed into town, and I knew the fish would be hungry. This was no time to be sick.
More importantly, I knew the nearby Patapsco River was being stocked with fat, dumb trout, so in fact, every angler within 30 miles of Baltimore would be THERE and not HERE. I hear they caught a lot of fish - big ones, too. With live worms. That's okay. That place is theirs. This is mine.
The weights turned out to be the key. Within about 10 minutes, I had hooked two nice brown trout in the 8-10" range. One threw the hook when he took to the air (that was new), another threw the hook right at the shoreline. Then, five river chubs in a row (that's the problem with weighting the line). Finally, during a intermittent retrieve across a very tough pool under a rhododendron and a boulder, I hooked into this fella. Indulge me - at 13-14", he was my biggest brown trout in about five years.
Amazingly, my luck didn't stop there. I worked downstream a bit - it got a bit dicey in my chestwaders, and found quite a few feisty juvenile smallmouth bass with pretty bright red eyes....
And as I was nearing the end of my wade, I had a chance to focus on a pool that gave me a lot of trouble the last two times I fished here. There are two eddies, lots of sharp rocks, and a rootball to work around. But I just knew there would be fish in there. I worked the pool for almost ten minutes with nothing but some sunfish and river chub to show for it. And then, in a moment of concentration, I worked the fly through the upstream eddy one last time, and as it sunk into the darkness, the line moved. Across the river......
This was a meaty rainbow trout for sure, and just like the last one I caught of this length, who was probably half the weight of this guy, I immediately regretted releasing him, but am still glad to have done so.
This is a special place. No one would believe that this is less than 15 miles from Baltimore City, and that this river feeds the water supply reservoirs that 1.5 million people depend on every day. And yet, it's here.
I can't wait to go back.