Accidental Fishing, Keep Your Gear Close

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I’m a firm believer in a well laid plan, so why has some of my best fishing been an accident?

I guess it all started because I have a weak bladder. Anyone who has been on a road trip with me can tell you that. Be prepared to make frequent stops. As much as I try, those stops don’t always coincide with gas stations and rest areas. It was on one of these unscheduled pit stops that I noticed a small stream in the North Carolina mountains. The sound of running water always helps to get the plumbing moving, but this water deserved closer inspection.

I tromped back to the car for a 3 weight and within a couple of minutes I was catching wild brook trout fifty feet from the road. The little stream was lousy with them and there were no trails, beat down banks or any other sign of human traffic. Wild brook trout were thriving there in spitting distance of the highway with no one the wiser. I caught eight or ten and was back on the road without ever knowing the name of the stream.

A couple of years later I was in Colorado when nature called. This roadside bano took me in sight of a small mountain lake. I couldn’t help but notice a cutthroat about sixteen inches cruising the bank. I zipped and trotted back to the car for a different rod. A single cast was all it took. The optimistic cuttie swam right over and ate my hopper. Nothing breaks up a road trip like an unexpected fish.

All of my accidental fishing isn’t related to public urination.

IMG_2579Last summer I was sitting under an umbrella on a Florida beach with my wife and a rum drink when I noticed something moving along the edge of the water. A nice snook was making its way along right by the soaking Midwesterners and splashing kids. Again I sprinted for the truck.

IMG_2578I leaned my rod up against the umbrella and went back to my drink. Before long another snook came along and I strolled down and made a cast. It only took seconds for some jackass to realize what I was up to and start yelling for his kids to splash over and see the fish. The snook wanted no part of that. I reeled up and followed him down the beach and before long he was looking for a snack again and found my fly. I caught four that way.

Recently, I was in South Carolina due to a family emergency. It was a sad occasion and at some point a little stress release was an absolute must. I slipped out to a little pond down the road just as the sun was getting off the water. In less than two hours I’d landed two dozen small bass and a few chunky bluegill on a popper. Nothing over a foot but they were just the distraction I needed and a ton of fun.

There’s a little, and very dirty, carp pond not far from my house and on summer days when I’m working in the office I often find myself stopping for a few minutes on my way back from lunch or errands. I can usually land one carp and be back at the computer before anyone notices. In all fairness this is becoming too regular to be called an accident. It’s still spontaneous at least.

There are plenty of other examples, like the river I found that holds a rare species of suckers which reach about eight pounds. That’s right, when my curiosity gets the best of me I will target suckers, especially if they’re big. This kind of spontaneous fly fishing is only possible for one simple reason. I always have a fly rod.

You don’t have to be as obsessive as I am.

DSC_2609I have my truck outfitted with a TruckVault which houses a selection of rods, reels and flies to cover just about any situation. If I happen to stop to see a man about a dog, and there are bonefish tailing, I’m ready. But a simple setup is all you need. A medium weight rod and a box of flies that cover a range of possibilities is easy to stash in any vehicle. One of my favorite roadside assault weapons is a tenkara rod. It takes no time to set up and you can keep a fly on the line while stored.

For some reason I always like a fiberglass rod for accidental fishing and if you’re worried about leaving an expensive setup in the car, get yourself an Eagle Claw Featherweight for $25. Match it with an old Pflueger or Southbend reel from Ebay and you’re fishing for under $50. An old friend used to tell me, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Well, I suppose fish favor the prepared angler. Even when it’s an accident.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Accidental Fishing, Keep Your Gear Close

  1. Funny you should mention the Eagle Claw Featherweight. I have the 7′ version and have used it for years on small streams. It’s a great little noodle. I love it.

  2. Pingback: Accidental Fishing, Keep Your Gear Close – Cheap Fishing Equipment

  3. Pingback: Accidental Fishing, Keep Your Gear Close | Latest Fishing Blogs Posts

  4. I have an Eagle Claw Featherweight stashed in each of my three vehicles. While my Sage, Winston, Thomas & Thomas, Scott, Orvis, Loop, Echo, Greys, and bamboo are all great rods, it’s the Eagle Claw that is ready to fish at all times – including a pit stop at a crick crossing. It’s surprising where you find native cutthroat trout.

    You describe this as fishing by accident. For this old Boy Scout, I ‘m just following the motto, “Be Prepared.”

    Thanks for the great blog.

    Bill Love
    Sandpoint, Idaho

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