The often unknown price of planning a trip to The Cabin can come in many forms…frozen pipes in the winter, construction noises in the spring…and heat in the summer.
I knew it’d be a whirlwind (long) weekend, with Christopher and Katelyn dropping in Friday night for some fishing Saturday, followed by Sean and Kirsten arriving Saturday night for more fishing Sunday. (Both boys are at that age during which young men seem to test the devotion of girlfriends by dragging them around to all sorts of questionable activities.) I did not know that temperatures would soar those three days, breaking thermometer bulbs up and down the Sierra foothills. The car thermometer read 107°F at one point. While I’d rather not believe that figure, the psychological toll came nowhere near the physical.
But we managed to have fun. Christopher wanted to test the waters of the South Fork of the Tuolumne River, up the road from Groveland, so we did. Sean and I had visited this stretch of the river on Opening Day, only to find the flows quite high. This time around we found nice pools and decent fishing. I initially headed upstream, finding a welcome strike or two; finally landing a decent rainbow after casing upstream to a likely pool from behind a boulder. Christopher and Katelyn chased after some fish they saw lingering in a bigger pool.
My attention turned downstream. Fruitless casts into some bigger water prompted a switch to a dry/dropper set up (dry fly with a trailing nymph). This produced at least a dozen takes and a few smaller fish landed, including what might have been my first Sacramento pikeminnow, in juvenile form. After the Tuolumne we played at Moccasin Creek for a while. With the blame for the tougher than usual fishing placed firmly on our late afternoon arrival and the high pressure system that brought the searing heat — I still managed to hook and land four decent rainbows.
The remaining daylight after dinner found us, as promised, fishing a small pond near Lyons Canal for bass and sunfish. We all caught something. The bass were small but willing to hit nearly anything. Christopher and I threw streamers to hook numerous bass, while Katelyn landed one on a spinner. We closed the fishing for the day with a stroll along the canal, where Christopher landed a decent-sized brown trout. Later, Christopher took first in a round of miniature golf, with dad behind by one stroke. Then Christopher and Katelyn left and dad collapsed.
Sean and Kirsten were ready to roll about 6:00 a.m. Sunday and we were on Moccasin Creek by 7:15. The fishing was again a bit tough. I’ll blame my lack of fish to hand on the fact that Sean borrowed my 5 wt. fly rod because Kirsten was using Sean’s/my backup 5 wt. fly rod, leaving me to use a too-limber 3 wt., which made strong hook sets difficult. However, when all was said and done, dad out-fished Sean by two trout. I think it was 7-5. Kirsten also hooked a few and landed one.
The post-dinner fishing was again targeting bass and sunfish. Sean had a frustrating time with a streamer. At my suggestion he switched to a dry/dropper and was immediately on to the small bass. The fun continued after I tied on a damselfly imitation to elicit some awesome top-water strikes. But let’s just say that the dad vs. Sean competition wasn’t even close in this venue. (Grasshopper, when you can take the fly from my hand, it will be time for you to outfish your father.)
Another game of miniature golf showed my consistency…again one stroke behind the son. This game, however, sure brought out Kirsten’s competitive streak. She was ready for an immediate rematch with Sean.
Did I mention it was hot all weekend?