Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Better Late Than Never

It's a good thing that Rob never gave up on asking me. For years, I had to respectfully decline each of his invitations to target smallmouth bass on the Housatonic River. Not because that type of fishing didn't interest me—smallies are among my favorite species to fish for—more so because life, work and a host of other reasons got in the way. 

This spring was different. When Rob's annual invite came via text, flush with recent photos of him and his sons holding top-notch specimens, for once nothing prevented me from accepting the kind offer. I was in the midst of a job change with a week off in between. River flows were good. Weather looked mint. My time had come. 

I don't live far from where the Housatonic pours into Long Island Sound. About 50 miles northwest of there, just a stone's throw from the Appalachian Trail, is where I met Rob on a late May morning. It was a gorgeous section of river, a mix of pools and boulder-strewn pocket water, too warm for most trout and just right for crayfish-eating smallmouth. And that's what we used on the end of our lines. Not the actual crustaceans, but flies and soft-plastics that closely resembled them. 

Rob played guide the whole trip like he'd been getting paid to do it his entire life. We walked along a trail next to the river, over a mile upstream from the parking area and through some of the most beautiful country that Connecticut has to offer. The plan was to fish our way back to the vehicles and when we finally stopped walking and waded into the water, Rob gave specific instructions that I followed to a T. The first pool he put me on, and just about every riffle and run after that, produced fish.  

The stretch of river Rob brought me to was riddled with smallies. With a halfway decent cast and presentation, our baits were getting crushed without hesitation. The fights that followed were fun, too, peppered with jumps and summersaults. It was a good workout for my old Orvis T3 six-weight and Rob's seasoned Fenwick. Aside from the hot bite and incredible scenery, one of the best parts of the day was not seeing another soul. Not one other angler upstream or downstream for miles. On a Friday no less. I'm not complaining, just a little surprised after all the trout fishing I have done on pressured waters. 

Hats off to Rob for sharing his time and knowledge with me and providing such an awesome experience. Countless trips on that river since his childhood have prepared him well for the task. My respect and admiration for the smallmouth bass, as well as the mighty Housatonic, has only grown since. It was a special outing many years in the making and very much worth the wait. As they say, better late than never...

P.S. This was the first non-ice fishing trip with my new GoPro. Having some fun getting back into filming and editing. Hopefully the videos keep getting better over time...