Today would be a light fishing day as most of the time would be spent dicking around and traveling. We had dinner plans with Joel's mother in Troy, his hometown. But before dinner we'd hit a few famous waters on the way up.
When we finished breakfast we checked out the local bamboo rod maker located on the Feathered Hook premises. The actual rod maker, L.J. Downes was not in but his son was there working on his personal rod. We asked if we could take a look and he was kind enough to allow us in the shop. We quickly bonded with the son as he was a San Diego boy in town to work on some of his rods.
Next on the agenda, one of Joel's old stomping grounds, Slate Run. Joel told me in PA there are big fish in small water. This was such a place. We stopped by the Slate Run Fly shop, located with a small gift shop/market/deli and picked the brains of one of the employees and bought a few flies. He recommended the simulator. I ended buying one of the shop's hats as a souvenir. Both these purchases were to be a running joke for the rest of the day.
When the fishing got tough, despite his love for the Stimi, I told Joel that that employee duped you into buying some overstocked flies that he needed to get rid of. "Did you see how many flies were in that bin compared to the others?" I asked. "He saw a couple of California dopes and said its a good time to offload this shit." I also told him he'd probably get employee of the year for selling the only Slate Run hat in fifteen years. "That mofo smelled us coming a mile away and had the register open ready to take money from our wallets," I joked.
We had to hike down to the river through dense forest. Normally I like doing stuff like that but before fishing here everyone from the guys at the Feathered Hook fly shop to Slate Run warned us about snakes. Watch where you step. One of the guides at the hook was very adamant about it. It freaked us out. He suggested we stay in the water as much as possible. The numbers photos of venous snakes on the wall on the Slate Run fly shop did not relieve of anxiety.
Mist rose off the water and the overcast morning made for some picturesque fishing. It would not be long after reaching the water I had fish rising on my dry. Fishing was okay in the morning but once it warmed and the sun poked through the clouds the fishing died off.
After a few hours of trying to get another fish to rise to no avail it was time to give up. The humidity was starting to get to us and we started our climb up the mountain in search of our vehicle. Every step up the mountain was fraught with peril. As any step could lead to a snake bit. This anxiety was with us throughout the day and made fr a stressful time out. when we finally reached the car, Joel was pissed. He'd concluded we stress about it way too much like a bunch of pussies as he put it. He'd fish these waters for years in flip flips no less and never ran into or worried about snakes.
Maybe so I told him but I had been bitten by a snake and when they were carrying me out for rescue I would have looked at him and said "You motherfucker. I blame you. Why the fuck did you take me here?" He laughed and said he would have said the same thing in any similar situation. Like when a buddy asks to go surfing with you and you get stung by a jellyfish, you'd look at your buddy and say the same thing.
Continuing our journey north, we made a pit stop at Joel's alma mater, Mansfield College. He'd tell us all the antics he'd and his pals got into and such. Once we were done we drove to a nearby stream to do some fishing. Joel's mom wanted some fish so we'd oblige her but when we reached the water it was blown out.
So instead we made our way to Troy. Ever since I met Joel, he has been shitting on his hometown. I honestly thought it was going to be a dump but in realty it's quite nice. Quaint even. After walking around town Kelly and I both liked it and were glad we checked it out. It has interesting architecture and historic landmarks.