2013 Trout Wrap-up

So many things to be thankful for in 2013 its kind of unbelievable. Everything centered around the birth of our daughter of course. We bought and moved into a new home in Silver Spring, and soon after had our girl, Yunah Anne. Then I doubled down at work with conferences and business travel to Austin, LA, Boston, Nashville, Manchester, Charlotte, New Orleans, and Kansas City. Somewhere in there we celebrated the traditional 100-days thing and had family travel to NY, Atlanta, Grafton (VT), and the Shenandoah. We got the house in shape and enjoyed the bountiful garden though I must have raked several tons of leaves (thank you suburban living). Phew! I can’t believe how fast it goes. You have to pay attention every day or you miss things. The fishing was pretty successful despite being so busy at work. I dragged along the fly rod on my business trips, but it was only worth it once or twice really. I don’t like to fish rushed. I managed to fish the Gunpowder several times, the Rose River, the Chattahoochee, the Youghiogheny in Western Maryland for the first time, as well as the storied Battenkill in Vermont. I got skunked on the Savage River, Dukes Creek (GA), the bay in Assateague, Virginia (my only saltwater fishing), and on the Toccoa River (GA). And over Christmas holiday in Georgia I fished the Noontootla, Amicalola, Toccoa, and Smith Creek (but I’ll save that for a separate post). Here are some highlights…

Great Rose River rainbow
Great Rose River rainbow!
My brother and I killed them on this Rose River trip.
Chris with his Rose River bow!
Spring bronzeback taken 5 min. from my house on hidden creek.
Hidden Creek!
GP brown on a sulphur
This gleaming wild brown fell to a sulphur one sunny spring day.
Battenkill Brown Trout
This rising beautiful 20+” wild brown took some figuring out, but we finally got him on a black ant on the storied Battenkill River in Vermont.
North Fork Shenandoah
The beautiful North Fork valley in Shenandoah, home to some amazing smallmouth fly fishing.
Trophy Smallmouth Bass
This trophy smallie was at least 8 lb and 20+”. He took a black popper on the North Fork.
Shenandoah Fall Fish
The North Fork Fall Fish put up quite a fight too.
Youghiogheny River 6
The “Yough” didn’t disappoint with amazing natural surroundings and plenty of action.
Youghiogheny River 5
One of many good sized rainbows above the pump pool!
Youghiogheny River 10
My best underwater shot yet! On the Yough.
Youghiogheny River 13
My nicest trout from the Yough fell to a black stonefly pattern I tied myself.
A late fall sunset over the Middle Patuxent river.
A remarkable holdover brown from the Middle Patuxent.
A true Gunpowder gem. If only they grew bigger on that river!

Deadbait Gift Guide

When I was in high school I was in the Environment and Conservation club. I remember camping trips in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. We swam in cedar creeks, stained red by the roots of the trees that lined the banks. We planted dune grass on the bluffs from one end of Ocean City to another. I remember the scent of patchouli wafting from the first girl I liked as we made posters about recycling and watched old national geographic and wild kingdom films on a rickety movie projector after school.  On occasion we took our seine and combed the surf and tidal pools of the beaches and waded knee-deep in the sulfurous bogs of Great Egg Harbor looking for rare snails, blue crabs, picking up litter while cursing the jetskiers. I read Thoreau and Emerson and Sagan. My romance with Nature blossomed walking the beaches at dawn surrounded by the morning song of the gulls. And when I went to sleep at night with the window open to hear the sound of the distant surf crashing and peak up at the stars, I dreamed of someday being a great naturalist like my heroes Muir and Roosevelt.

Well romances fade and I obviously did not become a park ranger or write epic tomes about the sea or go off to the woods to live alone. The dream still lingers in my soul though, and I crave the feeling of full self-awareness that comes from being close to Nature. I realize that when we love Nature, we are truly loving ourselves. Its not much, I know, but taking a moment to share Nature’s gift is a way to ensure others can experience that love too.

So here is my unique take on the holiday gift guide this year. Happy holidays from deadbait.

A day flyfishing the Rose River in Syria, VA. ($95)


Annual National Park Pass ($80)


Walden (Leatherbound) by Henry David Thoreau

Walden leatherbound

Restore a Culvert


Timberland Earthkeepers ($180)

Timberland Earthkeepers

Flyvines Recycled Fly Line Bracelet ($12)

Flyvines recycled fly line bracelet

Patchouli Diptyque ($28)

Patchouli Diptyque

Opinel Pocketknife ($17)


Woolrich Logan Ridge Blanket ($136)

Woolrich Logan Ridge

National Geographic Survival Guide ($19)

National Geographic Survival Guide

Good Enough is an Enemy

The new Filson X Horween has dropped. Oh boy, there go my plans. I didn’t want this holiday to be about material things and I wasn’t going to get anything for myself this Christmas, but I might have to be more open-minded. Two storied companies have come together to put together quite a line of vegetable-tanned leather totes, wallets and bags. They are unmistakenly Filson, and unmistakenly Horween. I’m pretty sure if I pick up the leather tote I will be giving it to my daughter in 17 years to take with her to college. Hmmm, its so nice she just may have to inherit it. Filson Horween Leather tote

“Good enough is an enemy, ” says Skip Horween. “We want to do each thing we do the best way we can do it.”

Winter is Coming

And the browns should be putting on the feedbag. However, I think someone forgot to tell the browns in the Gunpowder River. A lovely day to be sure, but trout were far and few in between.





I’m beginning to wonder if I should just avoid the long drive and stick to my local water below Brighton Dam. The trout are just as hard to find, but there in there if you know where to look. No less wily, but they’re a touch bigger.