Mission Objective: capture and obtain photographs
of bass and/or trout caught on
Peter Frailey's "Woodchuck Special".
I'm still new to photographing caught fish with my
new digital. This in itself is an adventure.
I went to Rock Creek, one of my favorite places, to
try for the photos. The plan was to hit the slower runs
of the lower section to get the bass in the morning, then run
upstream to the riffles and pocket water for trout.
Hurricane or Tropical Storm Lily or whatever it was
pushed some bad storms up this way, so I ended up
leaving late after the weather cleared a bit.
Got there just before noon, but I figured I could
comb the deeper pools for the bass, even with the
sun high. I started at White Oak Junction, where
the creek "disappears" into an underground cavern.
There's a deep pool there, and slow, lazy riffles just
upstream of that. Got a few follows by some average-size
bass, and one hearty grab that I didn't get the hook-up on.
I snuck upstream through the woods then cast downstream
into the riffles to a "bass" I saw holding on the far side.
A slight swing and a couple of strips brought the fish out to
slam the Woodchuck Special. I lifted to set the hook and
a foot-long flash of silver launched into an aerial somersault.
Silver? Yup. Rainbow trout.
I hadn't thought the procedure through, so in fiddling with
my new camera, and trying to keep the fish in water without
excessive force, the trout wiggled free, and I didn't get the
From there I worked my way upstream, fished the slow runs
for bass (which I never got a hook-up on, but had some BIG
smallies or Kentucky bass follow it in) and the riffles
and such for trout.
There's a pool that's about 25 feet long and 20 wide,
which is fed by one waterfall, then empties via another
little waterfall. The water is "choppy" with the current
flowing over submerged boulders and big tree trunks
(yes...snag country), so you can't see if there are
any holding fish, but it looked real "trouty." I cast
right to the lip of the downstream waterfall, then
immediately stripped the Woodchuck Special so it ran
about 6 inches under the surface. Sure enough, a scrappy
little rainbow emerged from the dark bottom to take the fly.
Having an action plan and keeping my cool, I did manage
to get a photo of that one.
So it went the rest of the afternoon, catching trout where
there usually aren't trout (in this section of the creek),
and trying to photograph them. I only managed photos of two.
The one I mentioned above, which is okay, but lacks composition,
etc. The best photo as far as all that has "muddled" elements.
I thought this fish was a bass, too. One of a pair I spooked
as I worked my way downstream through some "skinny" water.
It didn't flee far, so I made the cast and the hook-up, soon
realizing it was another trout as it skipped and hopped in
and out of the shallow run. Got the trout to hand and as
I grabbed it, it broke the fly off the line, still hooked.
In the wiggling, it slipped from my hand and threatened to
make off with the fly. So without a touch of grace I managed
to nab it again. I removed the fly, finding that the little
fellow had severed the gold wire and pushed it down into the
bend. No time to fix, so I laid the fly on a rock and held
the fish near it for the photo. The result...good photo, with
a beat-up looking fly!
So I didn't get much in the way of photographs, but my day
with the Woodchuck Special was nonetheless rewarding. I tied
on one fly and fished it all day (a rare occurrence for me!).
Good fishing, beautiful scenery, adventure, and I met another fly
fisher with whom I talked for an hour and a half who was also
taking advantage of the trout and admired the streamer I had
(this fly catches fishermen, too!).
The Woodchuck Special has worked itself into the upper
echelon...a permanent position in my streamer wallet, a
place reserved for the most effective patterns I
wouldn't want to leave behind. It's beautiful in the water,
the orange complimenting the woodchuck nicely, and the
nervous jitter of the guard hairs spaced by the underfur.
A marvelous creation! ~ Rob Knisely
Rob took up fly-fishing after inheriting his
grandfather's flyrod. Disappointed with
store-bought flies, he almost immediately
began tying his own. Now a commercial tier,
Rob uses techniques and materials that suit
his artistic preferences and ties patterns that are
frequently out of the ordinary. Rob lives in
Waynesburg, KY, his website is:
http://members.tripod.com/invictaflies. If you
are planning on fishing this region check out his
helpful information on hatches and flies for the
Publisher's Note: The fly in this article, the Woodchuck
Special is this week's Fly of the Week
. ~ DLB