Last Cast: October 2020

By Andy Mekelburg

It almost felt like normal, except for the masks and social distancing, but the casting clinic was a great success! Many thanks to Bill Ruland and the Antietam Fly Anglers team. Bill came up with some new teaching methods that had been created for Covid reasons and they went over well. We had almost 20 people there and everyone was happy to see friendly faces in person again.

I had a couple of nice fishing adventures in September. First, I went with club member Denny Grizzle on his boat at Dam 4 in Maryland. Denny did all the celebrating with fish catches and I enjoyed the sunshine. Great time, great weather, great boat!

Steve Weinstein and Kyle Lombardi.

My next excursion was to the Susie Q Farm, near Harrisonburg. This is a private stream, arranged through Mossy Creek Fly Shop; each fisher pays them a rod fee and we had the stream by ourselves. Meeting me at the stream were club members Mike Holland and Steve Weinstein; also joining us was Bill Pearsall and first-time fly fisher Kyle Lombardi.

As a side note, I don’t know about you, but for me, during the first ½ hour to hour fishing everything goes wrong – lines tangle, flies catch in trees, bushes, grass, everything. It just takes me awhile to work out the kinks and start fishing like I have a slight idea of what I’m doing. Probably just me.
As we moved up the stream there were many areas to fish, pools and riffles. While waders aren’t necessary, as it is primarily bank fishing, the waders were helpful in a couple of locations. After trying all the recommended flies and set ups by Bill, Steve and Mossy Creek, I fell back to, you guessed it, the old reliable mop fly. Don’t laugh, I was in a nice pool with many rainbows and began catching them. Caught six before the lunch break.

In the afternoon session, we picked up from where we left and continued exploring the stream and saw the many, many fish of a good size throughout. After a couple of hours, I got a call from Steve saying I have to come back immediately to where we parked, Bill has figured out the trick and they were pulling fish out left and right. I made my way back and they said the secret fly was the Kreelex, proclaimed “King of all Streamers,” invented by Chuck Kraft and used a lot in this area. I can attest it worked! Throw it in and if the fish didn’t strike immediately, give it a fast strip and the fish will follow and attach. Thanks to Bill for making that suggestion (I owe you two flies, by the way).

Our first-time fisher Kyle caught on quickly, after an hour of coaching by Bill and Mike. He caught four nice sized fish and is officially “hooked” on the sport! I hope to welcome him into the club soon. Great time had by all and would recommend Steve Weinstein (left) and Kyle Lombardi the experience to everyone. Let me know if you need additional information. You know I can’t let this article lapse without mentioning the Virtual Banquet and Raffle. A number of members have stepped up with great contributions. We have some really nice prizes donated, but more importantly, members have been very generous in purchasing raffle tickets. We picked $25 for the cost of the first two raffle tickets, as it equals what we have charged for the banquet in the past. So instead of a meal, we’ll send you a box of flies and a chance to win some nice awards if you contribute. Just a reminder to everyone to get your forms and checks into Karen Baker as soon as you can to ensure the success of this endeavor.

As to the Virtual Banquet itself, plans are coming together nicely. Club member Owen Davis has agreed to perform live via Zoom. Always a treat – send him your requests! Gene and Lynn Ashe have produced a presentation that everyone but me should enjoy. I’ll have tales from the year, as I’ve had the travel rod – no song, sorry, I can’t top Lynn. We have awards to present and raffle prizes to give out and some interesting fly fishing history in between.

I have been asked by members as to how the raffle will work. The process will be: we will have a card for each prize, we’ll pull a card to see what the prize is, then pull a raffle ticket to see who won. You don’t have to be present to win. I very much appreciate the members supporting us and understanding that this is the first time trying this. Remember it’s all about fishing!

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