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May 8th, 2000

FAOL Fish-In 2000
By James Castwell


Les Young
You may remember the problem of the teenager, he was too tall for keyholes and too short for transoms. So it was at last weeks Fish-In held in eastern Pennsylvania. It is called by some 'between hatches,' others often use less flattering names. (Les Young shown on the right on Spring Creek.)

Jeff Whitman (psu Jeff) The streams had been high the previous week but were running near normal which, after a bit of crummy weather on Monday, gave us the rest of the week to really enjoy the fishing. We tried, trust me, we all tried. Every method and fly type was offered during the daylight hours without mostly even the slightest of interest on the part of the trout. Lock-jaw would have accurately described the feeding habits exhibited. However, when evening (about six-thirty) developed the action would start. The same old game presented itself as usual. Which fly, in which stage, to which riser. As soon as you would get that figured out, a new fly would be the object of their delight and you had to start all over again. It was not impossible though and browns and rainbow in the range of twelve to eighteen inches were the rule. Probably the best success was had on the Penns. That's Jeff Whitman, (psujeff) above.

Dave Rothrock

Allan Thomas and Dan Rupert (Rupe)
As the week progressed we spent the days talking with other members of the group, sharing ideas and memories. Rupe was pretty much confined to his room with severe foot problems, but became both the official hospitality host and tying master. That's Dave Rothrock above and Allan Thomas and Dan Rupert (old rupe) on the right. The fish became more co-operative, most desiring sulphur type nymphs. On toward dark a spinner (tiny little thing about size twenty) would take most active risers.

Lou Burhardt Thursday morning most of our group attended the 'cane-chat' at the Holiday Inn. A fine program of questions and answers was presided over by Lou Burhart (shown here), Michigan rod builder, on building bamboo rods, how to tell a good one from a poor one and things related to cane. A grassy lawn right outside the meeting room offered us a place to cast several cane rods which had been brought to the meeting.

Masters on Spring Creek

In the afternoon the rains came. Perhaps a mixed blessing we hoped. Damp air retards wing drying time for emerging bugs. Overcast skies could start a hatch hours sooner than on a sunny day. Wrong! Except for some caddis on Elk Creek everything came to a screeching halt. Al Thomas, Leon Chandler, Ted Trostle (a local and member of the Spring Creek TU group) and I went to the TU function Thursday evening anyway. We cast a few dries before the meeting (six-thirty) but, except for a single brown by Al Thomas, the fish were down. That's Leon with the rod and George Harvey in the yellow sweater in the photo on the right above.

Casting instruction was the evenings program and was well received, however he was mostly 'preaching to the choir,' if you know what I mean. I did get to meet George Harvey and a few others. All in all, the event went fine and someone had a Shakespeare Wonder Rod in great shape which many of us cast just for old times sake. A fun evening, thanks guys.

Friday morning we were treated to a slide program by Mr. Leon Chandler on fly-fishing around the world. Great stuff by a great gentleman.

Preparations for the Saturday casting contest shifted into high gear with the arrival of Mr. Ron Kusse. There was a bit of confusion regarding the lack of a permit at the first site for the American Casting Association (ASA) casting event at the Bald Eagle State Park which resulted in us choosing the front yard of the Flyfishers Paradise at State College.

Fishing Friday evening proved a bit better with some good reports of trout actually rising to insects, but they were mixed and spotty.

Castwell's Second Place

Ron Kusse Demonstrating the Method The weather Saturday was great, even a tad too great, it turned pretty darn hot in the sun and that is where we held the casting contest. By 10:00 A.M. the one-hundred fifty by thirty-foot course was laid out, complete with a big blue tarp covering the area where the caster would stand. Ronn Kusse (above left) demonstrated the method. This was a completely sanctioned ACA event with very tight controls on all aspects including the time (five minutes) to cast a special approved hookless fly and two measurers on the end Chris Marshall casting, Ronn pointing, JC in background with walkie-talkies reporting to the judge running the event. This was the first time I have ever seen one of these and I was very impressed. Sure it has little to do with catching anything, but dog-gone it, it was fun. Those watching enjoyed it as well. You can bet I will enter again if the opportunity presents itself. If you have never seen a good casting contest, you are missing a lot. Much can be learned from watching. That's the Editor of the Canadian Fly Fisher magazine Chris Marshall, casting in the photo on the right above, Ron Kusse pointing and yours truely in the background.

The long awaited Grudge Match between the my broom and Muddler's mop got an unexpected bonus. Ron Kusse offered to award one of his fine bamboo rods to the winner. Unfortunately, the offer was withdrawn when the mop failed to appear. The 'official' measured distance for the non-winning broom cast was a mere 79 feet, (severely affected by a strong wind.) We await the appearance of the mop at the next FAOL Fish-In! Bring it on Muddler!

Saturday evening, at least for me, was the nicest on Spring Creek. The trout started nymphing on sulphers, they actually did hatch in enough numbers to turn the fish onto the duns. It didn't last very long, but that was real fly-fishing. Nothing much better.

Castwell receiving his 2nd Place Metal

The awards were presented by Ronn Kusse at the dinner Saturday night which was originally scheduled for six-thirty but moved to nine-thirty so guys could fish. That was, of course why we all came - to fish!

Chris Marshall receiving his 4th Place Award

First place went to Doug Wennick (PA), then Jim Birkholm (WA) , Mike Grinst (NY), Chris Marshall (Canada), Jeff Fields (GA) and Allan Thomas (OH). Winning a hotly contested women's division was Caroline Knecht (NY). (That's Chris in the photo above with Ron.) My special thanks to Ronn Kusse for the effort and thought he put into the Casting Competition!

I am sure I have left things out but not by intent. Much thanks to all who pitched in time and effort to make the Third Annual FAOL Fish-In a success. To mention just a few, Steve and the whole crew at the Fisherman's Paradise fly-shop, Ted Trostle, Jeff Whitman, Ron Koenig and Susan Cox who planned and made all of the arrangements and connections. Also a thanks to Caroline Knecht who took most of these photos.

Watch for more photos in the FAOL Travel'n section as soon as I get home, the ones here are just a small portion of those taken - and transmitted back to the LadyFisher on a slow laptop at 4:00 A.M. Sunday morning. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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