Trout Quixote. three.

This is the fourth part in this series. Read the first here , the second here, and the third here. Subscribe by entering your email address in the right sidebar to receive a notification of new content on Casting Across.

So I obviously didn’t catch a trout.

That, as you are very well aware, is a Lepomis cyanellus. The green sunfish. Common across the eastern half of the United States, it is a fine panfish in its own right.

I caught these little guys, one after another. They were more than eager to eat dry flies and streamers. They even put a little bit of a bend in my three-weight.

The ability of sunfish to live in even the smallest, swampy trickles is pretty remarkable.

But sunfish are most definitely not trout.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed. After all of that anticipation, all of that build up, to catch something other than a brook trout was a letdown. A five pound bass wouldn’t have given me a reason to cry, but it still wouldn’t have been that little trout that my imagination had conjured up.

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Last Cast of the Week, 8/26/2016

Most Fridays on Casting Across are  devoted to other people’s contributions in the fly fishing community. Articles, pictures, social media accounts, videos, podcasts, products, and more will be featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from  The National Park Service, Vedavoo, and Rouse Fly Fishing.

If you’d like to be featured in the Last Cast of the Week, or have seen something that others might be interested in, use my contact form or shoot me an email (matthew[at]castingacross[dot]com).

Thanks again for reading, and please take a moment to subscribe by plugging your email address in the field on the right sidebar.

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Trout Quixote. two.

This is the third part in this series. Read the first here and the second here. Subscribe by entering your email address in the right sidebar to receive a notification of new content on Casting Across.

I sat in my car out in front of my house. I had three hours, and I intended to fish. But where?

Even in suburbia, there are plenty of options. There are some ponds nearby that are filthy with carp, and I’ve had these big goldfish on the brain lately. I’m only a few minutes away from medium and large rivers. There are smallmouth, catfish, and anything else that decides it wants to live in Northern Virginia. I can literally drive five miles in any direction and be on good water.

But I couldn’t get that little pool, off the side of a busy trail, out of my mind.

All my warm water gear was in the car, so I had to hop out and run to quickly get my three weight. I plucked a half dozen puffy dry flies from a trout box and dropped them in an empty Altoid tin. Then I was off.

It was a quick drive from my house to the trailhead. To get to a legal parking space I had to pass by “the spot.” This took me to what is essentially the backyard of one of my former homes. Pulling in there was somewhat nostalgic, but in a “fishing context.” Perhaps I was a little focused / obsessed, but I wasn’t thinking about memories of family or school at that place. I was thinking about all the places I fished when I lived there. How I could have very well gone to this particular place to fish if I had known about it. How I could have figured it out, gotten to know it well, and determined if there were indeed trout in my town.

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Last Cast of the Week, 8/19/2016

Most Fridays on Casting Across are  devoted to other people’s contributions in the fly fishing community. Articles, pictures, social media accounts, videos, podcasts, products, and more will be featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians, Catch Magazine, & Fly Fishing Girls of the Mid Atlantic.

If you’d like to be featured in the Last Cast of the Week, or have seen something that others might be interested in, use my contact form or shoot me an email (matthew[at]castingacross[dot]com).

Thanks again for reading, and please take a moment to subscribe by plugging your email address in the field on the right sidebar.

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Creek Sneak: 4 Ways to Think About Approaching Water

Maybe grandpa told you not to talk or you’ll scare away the fish. Perhaps you watched a super artsy video on YouTube where the anglers moved in slow motion. Whatever the reason, you’re convinced that trout are the smartest creatures on this planet. And not just smart: paranoid. They do nothing but wait and watch for goofballs dressed to the nines in Simms shirts and Patagonia waders, saving their tail-flick-and-swim routine for the moment you lay eyes upon them.

Some of that is reality, but most of it is not.

Do you have to be quiet around fish? Yes; relatively. You have to be relatively quiet on the subway or else you’ll get beaten up, too. Do you have to move slowly? Yes; within reason. We’re not hunting deer with bowie knives, we’re fly fishing.

Folklore and “grandpa always said” make up a great deal of how fly fishers approach the water. And to be honest, that stuff is harder to deprogram than the yahoos that trudge into the creek hollering to their buddy about who knows what. While those troglodytes need education, the former need reeducation. And fly fishing, like the rest of life, often means an old dog / new trick scenario.

So now that I’ve offended everyone equally (extensive snark = one pejoratively used “troglodyte,” no?), I have a brief look at some things one might want to consider when approaching the water. This isn’t a list so much as it is a hierarchy. Everything matters, but some things matter more. It is like a dry fly: Yes, it is nice to have Spanish muskrat hindquarter hairs for a tail on that one special Catskill pattern. But Super Valu Brand rabbit will do just fine.

So here are, listed from least to most important, the things one needs to consider when walking into position to try and catch a fish on a fly.

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Trout Quixote. one.

This is the second installment in a series. Here is a link to the first post. Be sure to subscribe on the right sidebar to get notifications when new content comes out!

When I go jogging outdoors, I like how I have an opportunity to think with minimal distractions. Call me paranoid, but having earbuds in seems like a great way to get hit by a car / mugged / mauled by a cougar. And being in the middle of  a move and a job change requiring all sorts of contemplation, I could use a little bit of time to think. But getting lost in my thoughts leads to other kinds of getting lost.

Since I’ve moved from a rural location to more suburban environs, I’ve been exploring more and more on my daily runs. Saying that Northern Virginia has changed over the past decade would be a gross understatement. I have gotten lost more often than not. A road that used to terminate into a T-intersection now continues for miles. Thus, I run for a few miles more. And then I have to run back. It has led to great fitness, and a little bit of stress. Thankfully no one has called in a missing persons report while I’ve been exercising.

As I roughly sketch out these jogs, I do consider running along the many subdivision ponds and interconnecting streams. While it is an unfortunate reality that most of these waters are overfished and probably poached, I’m always on the lookout for a possible secret spot.

One particular day I was running alongside an incredibly busy trail. Cyclists, walkers, and other joggers were everywhere. I’d been on the path dozens of times over the years, and a few times in the past month. This time, for some reason, I noticed a little pool for the first time.

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Last Cast of the Week, 8/12/2016

Most Fridays on Casting Across are  devoted to other people’s contributions in the fly fishing community. Articles, pictures, social media accounts, videos, podcasts, products, and more will be featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from National Park Maps, Tightline Productions, and Lee Wulff Films.

If you’d like to be featured in the Last Cast of the Week, or have seen something that others might be interested in, use my contact form or shoot me an email (matthew[at]castingacross[dot]com).

Thanks again for reading, and please take a moment to subscribe by plugging your email address in the field on the right sidebar.

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Fishlympics 2016

Every four years the entire world comes together to experience the magic and pageantry of Nike, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola commercials. In between these delightfully repetitious advertisements, the Olympics are on.

Some sports are awe inspiring. The things that swimmers, gymnasts, and sprinters do are uncanny. Air riflers, table tennisers, and speed walkers unite their countrymen in a collective “that’s a sport?”

Which leads us, as fly fishers, to ponder the question: what if fly fishing were in the Olympics?

Wonder no longer. Because I have inside information on what is coming down the line. Maybe to Tokyo in 2020. Maybe it is even happening right now, underground. Not just one fly fishing event, but five. So here it is, your very first look at the events that will feature athletic heroes the caliber of a Michael Phelps, an Usain Bolt, or an Erick Barrondo.

Split Shot Throw

Feats of strength impress anyone and everyone. Launching three or four BB-sized shot on a five weight without a tailing loop is a feat. Plus, this is what you want to stay tuned to if you’re all about the nasty crashes and exploding graphite.

Perfect for fans of: Shot Put / Hammer Throw

The favorite: Great Lakes tributary steelheaders have this one locked down. But there is an inner-team rivalry between NY, PA, OH, and MI.

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Trout Quixote. prologue.

I’ve always been intrigued with the idea that there are fish nearby. Probably like most anglers, or even avid nature lovers, my fascination begins with the reassuring knowledge that there exists an ecosystem that is functioning properly. And that I live close to it.

I even went so far as to try to make that happen for myself in a very significant way.

Currently I live in Virginia. Prior to coming back here, I had a home in New Hampshire. After the requisite months of looking at houses I was getting a bit jaded with the same old pro and con lists. An old furnace, but a great lot; a swampy backyard, but a clean and spacious living area. And then I stopped by the property that I would eventually buy. There was a stream in the backyard.

After touring the home and doing my best attempt at a thorough inspection, I went outside to look at the property. The creek was a moderately-paced, narrow little ditch that was much deeper than I expected from seeing photographs. And I immediately saw fish. I know now that most were dace and fallfish. That was all I caught in my years of tooling around the backyard. But on that day I could have sworn I saw trout.

It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. The little stream flowed between two larger ponds that were connected to a larger river system. This river received at least two stockings from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Trout could move around easily enough. Or, as I liked to fantasize, it was a native brook trout that somehow avoided the multitude of ecological calamities that the watershed had suffered over the past few hundred years.

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