Today was a big day.
Kevin and I had plans this week to spend Sunday fishing the Eastern Shore for redfish, but the wind and waves had other plans. The local waters were going to be too rough for us, so it was back to the drawing board.
Last night I sat down to decide if I could make a last minute trip to the Mountains. It is a little over three hours drive one way, so, it is a bit of a commitment for a day trip, and there is always that little voice in the back of your head that whispers, “It could be a bust. You could catch nothing. Are you sure the drive is worth it?”
Well, today, it was worth it.
I happened to have a recent copy of the Blue Ridge Outdoor magazine handy (check out their monthly Trail Mix – Music), and there was an article written by Jack Murray (brother to one of my buddies and cousin to The Man in the Striped Pajamas) that gave a few local suggestions. I found the one that looked accessible and within my 3.5 hour travel range and decided to give it a go.
I was streamside at 9:45 and water temp was around 50F. Air temps were in the mid 60s or better and the sun brought out the bugs. We had beatis, midges, beetles, and a couple types of caddis. Needless to say, this put the fish in a feeding frenzy. By early afternoon, water temps had risen about 4 or 5 degrees.
I tried to count how many 3-5 inch brookies, I caught, but I gave up after I caught 20 in about 30-45 minutes. I was covering a lot of water and the tenkara rod was helping keep things simple. I figure my numbers were around 60-70 fish total, and, honestly, that feels like a modest guess. It was absolutely insane. I missed a couple bigger fish and had a 7 or 8ish inch fish on that I lost due to fumbling with the net. Having not caught many bigger brookies in the Blue Ridge area, I felt pretty good about these close encounters.
By 2:30pm when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I ran into about an hour block where I landed 5 fish about 7 (+/-) inches and one that was a solid fish possibly pushing 10. It was phenomenal.
After the run of big fish, I decided to start heading back and quit while I was ahead. I had another 8 or 9 incher on that I lost, and caught another handful of smaller fish on my way back to the car.
I capped off the trip with a stop at BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, Va for some good eats and to pick up some fancy cupcakes for my lady who was waiting for me at home.