Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fly Fishing "Beginnings" Part II

Because January, February, and parts of March are traditionally difficult months to fly fish, I have turned my attention to writing longer pieces about the sport. Periodically I will update the blog with segments from these essays. Here is Part II of a piece entitled "Beginnings." (Please forgive the unedited, rough quality of these drafts!)

"Beginnings" Part II

Fly fishing in the Catskills, as Matt Supinski notes, “was religion to the native…population” in the nineteenth century (34). While the United States encountered rapid industrialization in the late 1800s, Theodore Gordon, the inventor of the important Quill Gordon fly pattern, refined his casting technique and tested his experimental patterns in the Beaverkill’s striking Covered Bridge Pool. As the nineteenth century passed into the twentieth, Edward Hewitt, widely credited with inventing felt-bottomed wading boots and numerous patterns, fished the Neversink. These two men, along with all the countless others history has bypassed, opened America’s eyes to the wondrous spectacle of landing trout with rod and fly. Accordingly, all contemporary Catskill fly fisherman stand in the chilly birth-waters of their sport’s origin; for any serious angler, it is both a humbling and empowering experience to fish these singular rivers.

Once I arrived in Hancock, NY – a small town located directly adjacent to the confluence of the Delaware’s West and East Branches – I stopped at a gas station and bought some bottled water to help combat the heat.
Because the Pennsylvania side offers easier access to the river, I next drove over the Delaware and into the far northeastern section of the Keystone State. Parked alongside the wide, flat river, I saw a number of cars and trucks sporting diverse license plates. Indeed, nothing demonstrates a river’s renowned reputation like the license plates of the vehicles that adorn its banks. At the Upper Delaware, a traveler may encounter any of the following: your predictable, I’m-so-lucky-to-live-within-an-easy-day’s-
drive-of-this-beautiful-river plates, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey; your intrepid, I’ve-traveled-hundreds-of-miles-to
-fish-the-best-trout-river-east-of-the-Mississippi-plates, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut; your ridiculous, I’m-tired-of-always-fishing-great-rivers-out-West
-so-I-think-I’ll-try-this-one-only-to-realize-that-the-West-is-by-far-superior plates, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; and your foreign, I-think-I’ll-drive-down-from-Canada-to-see-what-all-the-fuss-is-aboot plates, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick.
The Delaware is that kind of river – a gem, a beauty, and, of course, a destination.


jlc said...

Congrats on the engagement!!! :)

And please by all means... continue blogging about fish! We caught a rainbow trout on the guadeloupe together in Texas. And there were some streams up near West Point we used to go to where I caught my first one. He's dying to take me again but he hasn't been anywhere in Jersey. Voila his fascination with finding streams.

Keep warm!! Even the thickest waiters would be of no use in the temps we've been having lately.

Anonymous said...

Hey man, don't forget about brodhead.. What used to be the Biggest of the little rivers..