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You just don't know 'til you go.

Posted on September 07 2023

Want you to know that before starting this, I poured myself a PM and I just might have added a touch more rye. It's been a tough day. 

After yesterdays morning venture I never gave a thought to am trip. Spent a couple of hours cutting back the garden and pruning branches the deer have broken on the peach trees. The button buck followed me everywhere I went hoping for a handout. Yesterday I cut back the tomato plants that the deer have been eating through the fence. Walked over to the button buck and his mom and laid the pruning's out on the ground. Both deer gave them a sniff and walked away? Was soaking wet so I went in and took a shower.

 Messed up a Wednesday Sudoku two times, vacuumed (how many people know there are two u's? I typed  two c's and then two m's before throwing in the towel and using spell check),  (I'm saving the toilet cleaning for tomorrow), finished both crosswords (except for a couple of foreign words and a violinist's first name) and went out and shot the bow. Did well until I tried from forty yards (bottom pin is set for thirty). Buried the first two shots in the grass before hitting the target with the last two. Had to take my shoes off to feel for the arrows (I grow good grass,) (no not that kind). Was so hot and sweaty when I came in that I took another shower. By 5:00 there was nothing else to do but got try to find a place to fish.

The fishing - Pay attention, this is why there's a touch more rye in the PM. Went east (WB in the 'Sulfur Zone" has bugs and rising fish, but its like fishing in a blender full of spinach turned on to puree). Saw a landowner I know heading up to his house, tooted the horn, backed up and talked to him about the posted signs that were on his property last year. Haven't fished since the signs appeared. He said anyone could fish as long as they asked and that I was welcome anytime. My day was starting to turn around. 

It took a step back when I saw olives on the water and rising fish in a deep slow water pool. Soaked fly boxes to get in range, made one cast, got refused, and the pod of fish never (while I stood there) rose again.

At 6:40 I made the decision that I should head for the WB down in Hancock (could be there by 7:00 and would have an hour of fishing). Somewhere along the way I said "but wait, if you order now, you not only get three browns but also a big rainbow". Stopped where I'd done well a couple weeks ago, walked in to the bank and stood there for five minutes watching water go by. Was about to leave when a fish rose. Waded out and when he rose again I hooked him (a fat, healthy 18+ inch brown). There were a modest number of bugs, olives of two sizes, a few isos and some spinners. Saw two or three rises out of casting range then a good boil near enough to throw at, he ate an iso, (a beautiful 18 inch rainbow). Was heading for shore pleased as punch with the two fish when I saw a rise, cast a spinner at the fish, he ate and exploded two feet into the air (a 12 inch brown). Landed the fish, put the fly in the hook keeper, reeled it in, and headed for shore (not 60 feet away). Saw a rise half way to shore. Made the cast and saw a little tiny circle in the water. Lifted and nothing moved, the rod just bent. Ten minutes later I landed my 21.75 inch brown from the previous visit two weeks ago..

So, if you knew you would catch those four fish, in the hour you had to fish, how far would you drive?   


  • Jim N: September 07, 2023

    I’ll probably need either another 18” fish, 1 more hour of action or a Perfect Manhattan to make the 6hr round trip from NJ.

  • Chris Z: September 07, 2023

    I would gladly drive the 4 hour round trip for those results!

  • Jim Dygert: September 07, 2023

    I agree with Greg whole heartedly..Angler 119 you have become the John Gierach of the Delaware River System. Today’s column made me smile( most do). You have a lot of material and the eloquence to write it for your next book..cheers!

  • Dennis: September 07, 2023

    Great night on the river!!!!😀. My wife is headed for a little vacation so hopefully I can fish every day for the next few days. Even though it’s only an hour it will be worth it.
    Thanks for the info.

  • Brian: September 07, 2023

    Re: Violinist- Itzhak? If not, how many letters?
    Re: The drive – 2 hours, minimum (each way) sounds about right.

    Great reading as always!

  • Greg Tarris: September 07, 2023

    2 1/2 hours today. For me it is more than just fishing. Eating a home made sandwich watching the river go by, buying fresh picked corn at the farm stand, and taking a nap during the afternoon doldrums near the river in the clean air.

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