Friday, March 11, 2011

Fishless, not Fruitless

Tom Sadler on the Rapidan.
"It's not all about the fishing."

It's an old, dependable fall-back, utilized frequently after "bad" days on the water. But truthfully, it's an appropriate fall-back after days like this one. All hell broke loose the night before, unleashing a spring snowstorm on Appalachia that put the river's brookies on the bottom in what could only be described as a state of confusion. Water, while clear and cold, was uncommonly high and fast.

The remnants of an Appalachian snowstorm.

The day was clear and a little crisp, and even though spring is on the horizon, it felt like winter. And, with wind-blown snow clinging to the oak and hickory trunks of the thick Blue Ridge forest, it looked wintry enough.

We gave it a whirl, our Tenkara rods testing every pool that wasn't flowing madly with post-storm runoff. As the sun hit the trees, the ice that worked so feverishly to attach itself to every tree branch overhead the night before melted loose and plunged to the forest floor, almost making it seam as if it was snowing all over again.

Swollen and cold, the Rapidan hurries off the Blue Ridge.
But, as we proved in our fishless prospecting, walking the banks of a beautiful backcountry stream on the shoulder of a new, promising season, it's not always about the fishing.


  1. Nice story and accompanying photos.

  2. The environment that fly-fishing brings you to is part of what is appealing to me. I am with Howard....nicely written and nice pictures.

  3. I'm a full-on Tenkara convert. I used to think it was "the next challenge" for fly fishers, but now, I firmly believe it is the most effective way to fish small water, given the need to fighting contradicting currents. The Tenkara system simply gives you the best chance to achieve the best possible drift. I love it, and will do it more and more as time goes by.

  4. Wonderful post.
    I may have to give Tenkara a try.