A Bad Day of Fishing —

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George Liset photo

The Cocheco River


    It was a beautiful fall day. The clouds were puffy and the air was brisk. I was finishing up a cup of coffee on the porch as the morning sun started to warm up the air.

 As I started planning my day and the tasks I wanted to accomplish, I realized what a great day it would be to be on the water with a fly rod in my hand. I rationalized that I could always do yard work, but fishing days were going to be numbered, and fishing was worth getting out of my chair for.

    The nice aspect of having a fishing truck is that everything I needed was ready to go. So, I left a note for the bride and headed down to my favorite go-to spot on the Cocheco River. When I arrived, the parking lot only had a couple of cars parked in the lot. I was lucky, there weren’t any fishing stickers on the cars, so I figured they were dog walkers.

     I climbed into my waders since I expected the water to be a little cooler than the last time I was there wet wading. After assembling my rod and putting on my sling pack, I slowly headed down the trail so I could enjoy the fall experience.

George Liset

 Fall has its own sights and smells. The leaves on the trees and bushes were starting to turn. Yellows and golds were the prevailing colors. I was wondering if the lack of rain would keep the reds and oranges away. As I stepped on the crunchy leaves under foot, I also wondered how the lack of rain could affect the fishing, here and at the Big Lake, Winnipesaukee, for Landlocked Salmon. 

    When I arrived at the river, I quickly checked out the surface for any activity. Since it was mid-morning I wasn’t expecting any surface activity so I tied on a Bead Head Nymph with a Bead Head Midge dropper. I found a nice seem in the current and let the flies float down. After about thirty minutes of working that section of river with no luck, I changed flies and went with a small ant pattern. I figured the sunnies would be all over it. 

    Another half hour passed with no luck. I wasn’t too concerned, since it was late morning, so I switched flies again. This time I went with the always lucky Olive Wooly Bugger. I cast it out and let it swing down through the current and slowly retrieved the fly. I worked the river up and down with no takers. Now I was starting to worry. I hadn’t been shut out all summer and up to that point I had zero action.

    So, desperate times call for desperate actions, so I reached into my pack and pulled out my secret weapon, Mr. Grasshopper. No fish could resist Mr. Grasshopper. I cast that bad boy out in the current and waited for the water to explode. And I waited, and waited and waited some more. I’d still be waiting if I didn’t have to go to the bathroom.

    Walking up to the trail, I started rationalizing my day on the water, because after all, who can get by without one big juicy rationalization a day. 

 It was mid-day, fishing in the morning or early evening is the best time to fish. Then I thought about what a beautiful day it was and how enjoyable it was to be on the river on such a fine fall day.

 As I started walking down the trail to my truck, I came upon a couple walking their dog. They asked if I had any luck? “Not today,” I replied. The gentleman in return replied, “You know what they say? A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.”  I laughed and thought to myself, that works!

A writer from Dover, George Liset writes about all things Fly Fishing. George has worked as a lobsterman, lifeguard, wrangler, boat captain, fishing instructor, and has traveled in most of the lower 48 states. Upon graduation from Wheaton College, Illinois, George began his teaching career and currently teaches in Dover and has coached Track and Field most recently at UNH. Liset has been published nationally and internationally in the area of track and field and coaching.

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