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First Fork and the attack of the B-52's

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 06/05/2010 (2414 reads)
The first week of June is one of my favorite weeks for fly-fishing. Warm weather and lots of good bugs make for fun days and better evenings. I especially enjoy of the late spinner falls that occur on some of the larger streams. My trips to Northcentral Pennsylvania have provided the best luck with some of these late evening spinner falls from what seems to be brown drake spinners. Being that these big spinners don't show up until about 9:00 they are not the easiest to identify.

This all started about 20 years ago with my friends Ron and Greg trying to outdo each other on these early June evenings up in Potter County. Naturally as the sun would start to set we would tie on our normal #16 rusty spinners and enjoy a casual evening of landing of few more fish that added to our counts for the day. We then would fall into the Wharton for a cold one and a replay of our great heroics.

rusty spinnerAfter some period of cold beverages and tall stories of big fish we found ourselves discussing our limitless opportunity for fish the next day. The smell of over confidence was only outdone by the stink of our cigars.

These knuckleheads may have taught me how to fly-fish, but at 11:30 at night at the Wharton I was sure I could even out fish Lefty Kreh with one hand tied behind my back. We left that evening with a new challenge for the next days fishing derby. If I wanted to make sure Frick and Frack were going to be buying the cold ones the next night I was going to have to get up early and show them how to get it done.

The early morning plans got superseded by a very important resting and planning session until about 10:00 am. Well it was a marathon not a sprint right? The good news was those two seemed like they were planning as well from the sound of sawing wood rattling through the camp. I quickly dashed down to the stream and geared up for the battle of Fort First Fork.

Greg must have heard me leave because I saw him almost pull a surprise flank attack on me from down stream shortly after I got into the water. He wasted no time in landing a nice brown pretty quickly. Greg has a good methodical approach to fly-fishing and always came up with fish. I knew I had to keep an eye on him, but more so on Ron.

Faintly it sounded like Ron was still at camp even though he was about a mile away. Big snorer Ron was, could strip the paint off a camp wall without lifting a scraper. But soon I looked up on the road and Ron was preparing his morning assault with much more ernest then the guy I thought was prepping half of the camps in Potter county for a fresh coat of paint one hour ago.

The battle was on and went well for most of the mid-day. A fish here and there with pretty steady activity. I grew a bit weary after about one o'clock and needed to reload on some supplies. I was deep into fishing with #22 griffith's gnat for a couple of hours and my head was about to explode.

Ron was already at the truck and had a can of cold provisions in his hand. Ron bellowed, "So how's it going Dave?" I knew right away I was in trouble and that he was catching fish by the confidence in his voice. I was relieved to find out that Ron was only a few a head of me. Greg strolled up and shared a similar number. I was still in trouble because it always seemed that Ron could look at a fish and through some sort of Jedi mind trick could have a fish on the end of his line in no time.

I needed to get creative!

We moved backed to base camp for some food and to reload for the night assault. Ron quickly went back to his early morning job of stripping paint. I figured if I was going to pull this off I needed an ally in this fight. I had an idea, but not being much of a competent fly tier I asked Greg to help with some thoughts for the late night assault on the water.

The three of us always marveled at the night spinner falls this time of June and it was reported that the big fish always came out at night. Greg and I contemplated the idea of tying up some really big rusty brown spinners. How big? Well how big were those spinners we say last night and what is the biggest hook you have? Greg proceeded tied up some of our now #8 "B-52" rusty brown spinners. The bigger the better right!

We all came back for a final attack of the day and found a nice sulphur hatch to keep us busy for most of the evening. All the while preparing to launch our surprise as dusk set in. The large spinners were high in the air and with the cool night air they were preparing to make their landing.

Ron was still ahead on the fish count, but not by much as he tied on his regular rusty spinner for the last round of the evening. So Greg and I launched our "B-52's" onto the water. To our amazement the damn things caught fish. We could easily toss them around and quickly slap them over top of any rising fish. Not a lot of talent needed, but the action was fast. Ron was catching fish, but soon gave up because he cold not see his fly or to make sure we had a seat at the Wharton. Probably the latter.

Greg and I carried on for quite some time not by sight, but by sound. It was kind of surprising how successfully you could get setting the hook with just the simple splash of a trout attacking a fly. We ended up staying out quite a bit later as we launched our B-52's across the water that night. I know we ended up picking up over dozen fish each that and found Ron ready with our beers as we slogged in off the stream. Ron knew we had quite a night out there and earned our cold can trophies.

I may have won the battle that day, but Ron quickly clued into our clever little trick and waved his Jedi hand over the water the rest of the week and won the war. Always a lot of fun and look forward to my next time out for some light night big spinner action.
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Author Thread
Andy
Published: 2010/6/7 11:52  Updated: 2010/6/7 11:52
Joined: 05/10/2007
From: Elizabethtown, PA
Comments: 10
 Re: First Fork and the attack of the B-52's
We always fish Pine Creek near Gaines for 3 days the weekend after Memorial Day--generally a good time if water is not blown out from too much rain. Although I've seen the big brown drake hatch several times there over the last 30 years, there were no hatches to speak of Thurs-Sat. last week. But it didn't matter since there were a ton of fish in the creek and they were looking up anyhow for White Wulffs, yellow caddis, etc. Even my 74 year old dad had a grand time, and he's a rather inexperienced dry fly fisher. And i got pictures of a bear crossing the creek above me on Friday evening. Beer also tastes great on the front porch of Pine Tree Lodge.
jayded75
Published: 2010/6/9 0:29  Updated: 2010/6/9 0:29
Joined: 12/12/2006
From: Oberlin Ohio, but my heart is in McKean County
Comments: 11
 Re: First Fork and the attack of the B-52's
Yeah! The big brown drakes are great on the first fork! But as it happened the evening of Memorial Day this year, my buddies and I found ourselves a couple of miles above Wharton fishing to a spinner fall of size 26s! Brown Drakes all over the water but these fish wanted the damn midge sized spinners?! Tweezers anyone?
turkey
Published: 2011/6/6 0:32  Updated: 2011/6/6 0:32
Joined: 06/08/2008
From: Pittsburgh
Comments: 1470
 Re: First Fork and the attack of the B-52's
Very well written Dave. I always enjoy the blog posts but this one made me miss Potter and Tioga. Wish it wasn't so far away. Ok, I'm gonna go strip some paint myself.
JackM
Published: 2011/6/7 17:06  Updated: 2011/6/7 17:06
Moderator
Joined: 09/09/2006
From: Monessen, PA
Comments: 22412
 Re: First Fork and the attack of the B-52's
Sounds like a great trip, thanks for the story.



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