As a fly fisherman, any type of travel always seems to have a day or two added in just for wetting a line. There are trips that are solely for the purpose of getting one’s feet wet and there are others where sneaking a rod in the luggage pays off. Most of our family traveling seems to include a day without dad as I sneak off to fish somewhere nearby.
As one travels, it’s nice to make new fishing friends along the way. With all of the technology surrounding us it’s easier to send out a late night note that says “hey, I’m headed your way. Let’s fish” to a long lost pal.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to connect with my old friend Steve Wascher up on Lake Erie. You may know him as the world renowned fly tier. I know him as “that other big loud guy.” I was visiting family and told him I was stranded with no vehicle but was free to fish; what a mooch! He told me not to worry and we’d figure it out. After an all-night drive up to Erie, PA, I grabbed a few hours of sleep and was waiting in my in-laws driveway with 4 layers of clothes on. Hey, it’s a big change going from 100-degree days in Washington to 55-degee mornings up north!
After an education on trolling motors, (hey, I’m a trout guy, I know nothing) we were off to the lake. We didn’t get far before we started seeing fish on the surface. We cast and cast to a giant school of spotted gar (I insisted they were bass) for a while until Steve started hooking Sheepheads! Having cut my teeth fishing Midwest rivers with my father, I knew that this beautiful fish was in fact a prized sport fish. Many a fly angler has hunted the elusive Sheepsheads for hours on end, only to return home having brought none to their net. Steve wasn’t so sure about their prize-worthy-ness and for the next couple of hours I hooked and lost a few while Steve continued to haul in slabs of zebra-muscle-encrusted-gold. I was pretty jealous but I eventually got mine when a school of white bass busted around us. I could still catch fish! Whew. Not to be outdone by some kid in the back of HIS boat, Steve put me to shame with a double on his dropper rig.
It was a great morning spent telling jokes and burning my, normally wader covered, legs and feet out on the waters of Lake Erie. I returned home to receive the same lecture I get every time I hang out with Steve regarding the use of sunscreen. I can’t wait till my next trip up north to connect with my fishing buddies to hear about all the adventures they’ve had this summer. Hopefully it’ll be before steelhead season. Thanks for taking me fishing Steve!