A Slice of Humble Pie

One of the most enjoyable aspects of fly fishing to me is exploring and fishing new water. A number of circumstances kept my fishing confined to Maryland recently, so I was eager to explore some bucket list spots. Last Saturday, I woke up before the sun to fish a central Pennsylvania limestone stream. Normally, I prefer to explore such high-pressured spots during the offseason; however, a recent spell of cool and wet weather kept the crowds at bay.

I started at a stretch of pocket water well downstream of where I parked. To my surprise, I hooked a fish two minutes in. And another. And another. This continued for about an hour and a half. I probably landed around six or seven wild browns and missed just as many. Eight- to 14-inchers. The takes were incredibly subtle.


Around this time, I got a little arrogant. Here I was thinking that I had mastered this “technical” fishery, when suddenly it shut off. Despite my best efforts, I could not conjure any takes for the next hour or so save for a tiny fallfish.

After lunch I eventually found a few more fish in some unlikely spots, in water as shallow as six inches. I did not get any more takes out of more obvious prime lies. My theory is that fish in these more obvious spots in highly-pressured fisheries feed heavily for short periods or not at all. Either I was there at the wrong time or happened to be fishing behind another angler.

After some time, dehydration and hunger got the best of me and I decided to call it a day. I caught fish and broke double digits, but I couldn’t help but feel humbled. George Daniel, Joe Humpreys, George Harvey, and Troutbitten’s Dominic Swentosky have all wet a line in this river at one point or another. To fish in the footsteps of these incredible anglers, from whom I’ve learned a lot felt surreal.

It takes moments like this for me to reflect on why I love fly fishing so much and inspires me to continue to learn, adapt, and improve every time I step into the stream.


2 thoughts on “A Slice of Humble Pie

  1. Ashu – Dominic is one of the best guides in Central PA. He guided my brother and I on Spring Creek of couple of years ago.

  2. Gary, I don’t normally book guides for wade trips anymore but I’d have to make an exception for Dominic. He’s an incredible wealth of knowledge and I’ve learned so much from his insightful blog posts. I hope you and your brother had a great time with him

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