Fly Fishing in the Southeastern US
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 Post subject: The Great Escape 10-25-2012
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:55 pm 
Warpaint Shiner

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:43 pm
Posts: 28
This is a belated 3 day trip report from my adventure out west at the end of October. Sorry for the delay in getting it posted. I’ve been busy and finding the time to write it has been difficult. Hope you enjoy.

There are a couple hundred of us scattered in small groups all over the country. We talk on the phone a lot, but most of us have never met. We got the email about six weeks in advance. Management scheduled a conference in LA for the department. The problem was, it was only going to be for one night. They were flying us out for a nine hour work day, starting at noon, and providing accommodations for one night. Day two was supposed to be from 7:30 to noon (don’t you dare leave early) but found out the hard way my group also had a 6:30 meeting. Flying across America with the time zones for a hectic day and a half, then rushing back to be at work the following morning didn’t sound like much fun. I was already working 10 hour days plus weekends. I immediately started devising ways to get out of this event. Well, apparently a lot of other folks had the same idea and the excuses were pouring in, so it became mandatory. That’s when the light went off… and it was pretty bright.

If I was going to have to get up at an ungodly hour and not go fishing, I was going to go fishing. Originally, I thought I would head out a day early and check out a favorite brewery of mine: Stone Brewery. But, fly fishing for Golden Trout in the Sierra Nevada was also on my bucket list. I immediately started doing the research. I went to a local map store and bought a couple of books on line. I googled and found the Kern River Fly Shop, plenty of places worth fishing, the Sequoia lodge, and a 4-wheel drive rent a vehicle to boot. Kernville (base camp) was only 3 ½+- hours away from LA. All this research had made me thirsty, so I dug a little deeper and found the Kern River Brewery with its alluring beverages such as Just Outstanding IPA and Class V Stout. It would be in my back yard. That sealed the deal – I was there. The next day at work, while everyone else was moaning about the upcoming event, I gleefully made my reservations and turned it into a dream vacation.

My only reservation about the trip was flying into LA. I hate congestion. We’ve all seen the Hollywood movies with the traffic jams. That’s not really how it is, is it? I opened my recently purchased DeLorme map book for California and turned to LA. It covered the whole spread. “Holy Crap! That place is huge! It’s a jungle!” At that point, my wife said “Don’t let a day or two of struggling just to find your way out of the city ruin your whole trip. You’ll be fine. “

Well, getting out of LA wasn’t so bad. I was nervous at first, but once I acquired the highway I threw in a CD, kicked back, and headed for the hills.

I rolled into town shortly after 5:00. As I passed by the Kern River Fly Shop the door was still open, so I decided to stop. I met Guy and spoke with him briefly. “What time do you close?” I asked. He said 5:00 so I said I wouldn’t hold him up and I’d swing back by in the morning. He said “Brandon will be working and he will point you in the right direction. By the way, do you like beer?”

I thought it might be a trick question so I decided to just answer honestly. “Yes.”

“Some of us from the shop will be hangin’ out at the Kern River Brewery later. You should stop by,” he replied.

“It’s on the agenda. Maybe I’ll see you there” I responded. That night I was introduced to the Class X Stout, the bourbon barrel aged version of their Class V Stout. “Wow!”

After a visit to the fly shop the next morning and speaking with Brandon, I realized that if I were to explore and fish this area the way I needed to I was going to have to move here. Since it was already getting late, I decided to hit the “wild trout water above the bridge” on my first day of fishing.

I wish I had some pictures to post of this day, but shortly after I got on the water I did my traditional face plant and got my camera wet. I decided not to risk using it until I had a chance to dry it out. I ended up with only three rainbows in about 3 ½ hours of fishing, all between 8 and 11 inches. I was disappointed with my success, but back at the parking lot I spoke with another fly fisherman who had hiked in a lot further and had spent the whole day on the water. He said he didn’t even get a strike. While drinking a Class X Stout at the Kern River Brewery that evening, Brandon came up to me and asked how I did. He said all the reports he had heard that day was that the river was fishing really slow. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so bad. Besides, tomorrow was going to be better. I was going for gold…

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