How did you celebrate the longest day of the year?
While in the midst of a 10 day road trip across portions of Pennsylvania & New York, I spent the evening on Chautauqua Lake near Bemus Point catching up with a great friend.
Eric Peterson grew up along the shores of the glacier formed lake and knows it well. He’s been guiding in the area for years. When I called to let him know that I’d be in the area, he insisted we hook up and fish. Who am I to refuse?
Eric has always been a generous soul. He is responsible for putting me on my first Lake Erie steelhead and smallmouth bass. He’s also an incredible fly tier. He helps me keep my fly box stocked with flies that are so beautiful, I feel guilty fishing them.
The plan was to hunt for my first muskie. I’m a realist and had a measured, pessimistic outlook, fully expecting to cast a lot and catch nothing.
A mere twenty minutes after launching, that changed.
The cast was about 50 feet, hucking a 400 grain, sinking line out and stripping it back after giving the fly a 10-count to sink along the edge of a weed line.
At around 40 feet the violent take thumped in my stripping hand and I strip set hard – a few times.
Once the fish was safely in the net and boat, we couldn’t contain ourselves, we had done the impossible, cheating the fish of 10,000 casts by significant digits.
We celebrated with cold beers, continued casting and occasionally simply laughed again at the absurdity of my success.
We watched the sun sink low to the horizon, knowing the days were again going to begin to grow shorter, but we had seized the moment and etched it into our memories for life.
Thanks fly fishing!