I’m just back from a four day weekend on the New River near Meadow Bridge, WV. The river was low, but not near as low as I’ve seen it in August. The fishing was slow, but what fish were caught were of good size. Smallmouth bass were in the 14 to 15 inch range and scrappy. Nearly all fish were taken off shoreside rocks in the evening or early morning. Mid-day was better for sitting in the shade at the campground, staring at the river, and wondering whether it was worth the bother to cook dinner.
Though that part of the New is one of my great pleasures, this year I just couldn’t care less if I ran a rapid. I spent all my time in big pools when the fish were biting, using a drag chain because even the little bit of current in the pools was just a little bit too fast for my mood. It was great to go slow, be still, and soak in the sights and sounds and smells of the river. As a reward, I landed my largest smallmouth taken on a fly to date. The next day, I caught two larger fish but they weren’t on a fly. The panfish by the campground came readily to stimulators worked near weeds in the early morning or late evening.
However, mostly the evenings were for campfires and shooting the bull with old friends, and of course picking some tunes.
This was the first year where part of the discussion turned towards who had ‘gone across the river’ since we had last seen one another. The list was longer than was comfortable. One of the fellows at the campfire had nearly joined that list. As a result, I admit to getting a bit weepy when it was time to go. If new friends are silver and old ones gold, the gold is slipping away too quickly and the silver is stingy in finding its way. Its never a guarantee that you’ll see someone again upon taking your leave, but this year that was too palpable.
- Big D