The Blind Date - The Outdoor Community
  • 1 Post By FrankTroutAngler
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
Regular Member
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,219
Back To Top
The Blind Date

The Blind Date

I had driven over her many times without so much as a glance because I had more interesting dates. I admit this wasn’t very nice, but now that the exploratory itch had overtaken me, all caution was thrown aside. Now she was a curvy, seductive blue line winding her way down along some closely-spaced brown lines far away from civilization. An internet background check revealed no serious deficiencies, so I set up a blind date with her for the next morning, Monday, July 10th, 2017, at daybreak.

It seemed like I had kept one eye on the alarm clock all night as sleep didn’t come easy, but then fell into a deep sleep just before the alarm rang at 3:15 a.m. Who hasn’t done this before? I think I dreamed about her all night. I was more than a little anxious to meet and get to know her, particularly since my recent exploring had gone so well.

After a quick bowl of cereal I fired up my SUV and headed north from northern Blair County to the 280,000 acre Sproul State Forest, named in honor of William C. Sproul, Governor of Pennsylvania from 1919 to 1923. Coincidentally, I grew up near the town of Sproul in southern Blair County. In 1911 it too was named after William C. Sproul, who owned part of General Refractories Company, a brick factory, which was located there. Interestingly, the town I grew up near is pronounced by the local people to rhyme with the word “fool” while the State Forest is pronounced to rhyme with the word “foul.”

After easing my vehicle into a pull-off at a bridge near her place, I quickly booted up and headed through a thick, crunchy stand of Japanese Knotweed to her side. You’d have thought that she’d have at least done a little trimming for our first date. Oh well, even regular dates have treated me far worse than this. Curiously, I couldn’t hear a sound from her. This concerned me as I expected to hear loud gurgling echoing from her home.

When I greeted her all I could think of was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” That’s not exactly a very nice way to begin a blind date, but you can’t even imagine my disappointment and concern. She was so small and narrow that for an instant I thought I had the wrong address. Then, luckily, I realized she was revealing only a small portion of herself, with her remainder behind a large bush. I guess she was a little shy.

The air temperature was 54-degrees and the water temperature was 58-degrees. The flow was good though the gradient was low in the beginning.

My very first cast into the narrow flow behind some debris produced an 11.5” wild brown trout. Now that’s the way I like to start off a blind date!

DSC_1218 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Once she got all of her act together she was unfortunately pretty darn featureless. I could only imagine how shriveled up she must have looked during last year’s drought since there were no refuge pools. I prefer my dates to be much more well-endowed.

DSC_1297 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I noticed a Pennsylvania Game Commission bear trap under an old apple tree at a camp along her side.

She quickly wound away from civilization as I progressed rapidly up the hollow.

DSC_1298 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Despite her plainness, I cranked out 16 trout during the first hour by probing her every possible lie.

DSC_1316 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I kept hoping she would transform into a beauty queen if I sweet-talked enough to her, but around every bend I was greeted with more of the same nearly featureless water.

DSC_1304 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I probed a lot of her with my five-foot spinning rod and White Bead Gold spinner and was beginning to understand why she wasn’t on anyone’s A or B list. Oh well, if it didn’t work out I had an exit strategy planned.

Often she was much too wide for her size, too.

DSC_1307 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Despite her obvious flaws, which I tried to overlook, the second hour yielded 19 more trout, which completed the first column in my tablet at 35. I was thankful and told her so, knowing that if we continued to have this much fun together that I’d eclipse the 100-trout plateau before noon.

As I moved up the hollow it became more of a ravine, with steep, boulder-laden mountains on both sides, just like the brown lines that I had seen while doing my research on her. And she began to look much better, too. I guess she had been holding out on me. She wasn’t the first date I’d ever had do this.

DSC_1326 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Hour number three produced 15 more trout, but then she grew cold on me. Perhaps I wasn’t good enough for her now that she was looking much better. Perhaps she was getting even with me for ignoring her all of these years. Or perhaps she heard me mumble something bad under my breath after not seeing a trout in a couple hundred yards of water. Could be, but I began to think that maybe she was seeing someone else.

The head and guts of a native brook trout in the very first really nice pool I came to, followed by a pair of fresh, small, dead trout at the tail of the next good hole, confirmed my suspicions. Clearly she was seeing someone else, likely on the prior day no less. It was just my bad luck to have such a poorly-timed date.

DSC_1328 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Since I was exploring I convinced myself that maybe she’d warm back up to me the farther I moved up her valley. Besides, she had some interesting relatives farther upstream that I couldn’t imagine someone else had fished recently. I’d try them if need be.

Hours number four and five yielded 12 and 13 trout, respectively. Not great fishing when most of the trout were pretty small but it was clear from the reactions of the trout that my date had been seeing someone else recently. A couple times I actually had trout chase and then pass up my spinner during the retrieve. At other times entire pods of trout would totally ignore my flickering offering. Those are sure signs the trout have seen some metal in the near past.

During this slow time I came upon a large oak tree that had fallen across the stream from right to left. While crossing on the left side through the branches I put my foot up on the tree which sent vibrations throughout the tree. Immediately I heard a familiar warning buzz from about twenty feet away that sent goose bumps up my neck and made my hair, or what is left of it, stand on end.

DSC_1336 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

This surprised me because I thought we were getting along together reasonably well by now and it was odd for her to show me her nasty side at this point. Perhaps I had been a little too presumptuous. I began to have my doubts about whether this relationship was going to work out with her.

DSC_1336 (2) by Frank Nale, on Flickr

It took me a while to settle back down after this close encounter of the rattling kind, but after fishing over a mile of water where mostly only the riffles yielded trout and the pools were barren, she became a little more cordial and began to accept my advances.

DSC_1334 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Wild trout began to come to hand readily from nearly all places.

DSC_1389 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

My Anticipation Factor skyrocketed and I was more anxious than ever to see what every part of her looked like. I wondered what she would reveal next.

DSC_1359 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

More small trout were caught, which was much unlike a recent day on a limestoner where the trout were generally larger.

DSC_1398 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

When I came to a nice pool…

DSC_1380 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

…I was always hoping she would hand me a big trout.

DSC_1413 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

But that never happened though I was quite satisfied with what I was catching. Twenty-six trout came to hand during the sixth hour, including my 100th trout of the day. This was my 34th consecutive Century Club Day, a streak that began in mid-May.

DSC_1366 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Hour number seven gave up 25 more trout, but again none of them were big and muscular like this limestone wild brown.

DSC_1414 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

The last hour and a half yielded 30 more trout, and while she was still nicely groomed, I decided to head out since I didn’t know how difficult it would be to walk out of the narrow ravine that was choked with thickets of small dead hemlocks and rhododendron. I didn’t want to be walking across the forest floor carpeted with ferns where I couldn’t see where I was stepping due to rattlesnakes. I also had been thinking that maybe this would have been a good place to film the movie “Deliverance,” and that will wear on one’s mind when alone in a new, inaccessible place.

DSC_1374 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

As it turned out, there was a pretty good path in the hollow and walking out about 3.2 miles took just an hour and fifteen minutes.

During the hike out I thought a lot about how the date had gone. Did we have a future together?

One thing that I saw during the walk really made me wonder about her integrity.

DSC_1386 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Was she harboring a fugitive from the Pennsylvania Game Commission? If so, I’d have to be extra cautious before going out with her again.

Overall I caught 156 trout in 8.50 hours. Had I not had the long dry spell by definition I certainly would have done a lot better. One hundred and twenty-two of the trout were brookies, of which 43 were 7” long or better, while 34 were brown trout, 16 of which were legal-size. The largest trout of the day was a 12” brown trout. The water temperature was 58-degrees when I quit, and in the dark, deep, cliff-laden ravine the air temperature was a cool 66-degrees, while back at my SUV it was in the low 80’s. Clearly this stream had survived last year’s drought well.

In retrospect, it was a fun day of catching trout and exploring a new creek. The bear tracks in the mud and the rattlesnake certainly added to the mystique of the place, as well as the dense stands of hemlocks and rhododendron. My date wasn’t exactly smokin’ hot, but you can be sure I’ll return to her side to become more familiar with her in the future. One thing for sure, it was one of the most rugged and remote areas of Pennsylvania that I’ve ever experienced.

- Frank Nale –

(Full disclosure: The part about the PGC bear trap is fiction.)
bigguy54 likes this.

I can be contacted at [email protected].

Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 07-15-2017 at 01:14 PM.
FrankTroutAngler is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 01:35 PM
Hooked on HuntingPa
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: PA
Posts: 434
Back To Top
Interesting read. I can tell you had a lot of fun writing this!
troutdoorsman is offline  
post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 02:55 PM
The Man
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Bucks County, PA 2G 5D
Posts: 5,116
Back To Top
Keep it going Frank.

Potter County
Gods Country USA
Potter Co. Joe is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SE PA
Posts: 20,116
Back To Top
I'm not sure if I'm creeped out after reading that or not lol! Just kidding. Very unique write up frank! That was certainly a new one. I'm glad there was a 'happy ending' to that story. Keep after'em!

Last edited by Trout 2003; 07-16-2017 at 03:08 PM.
Trout 2003 is offline  
post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: lackawanna/wayne
Posts: 1,525
Back To Top
Great story and pics
hunter-trapper21 is offline  
post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 09:23 AM
Regular Member
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,312
Back To Top
Creative post Frank.

Excellent pictures as usual.

That looked like a big rattlesnake. You could have grabbed it and measured it against your fishing rod to see how long it was.

Hearing a rattlesnake is definitely scary. At least you saw it. It's worse when you can hear them but can't see them.
Trout Traveler is offline  
post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 02:05 PM
Regular Member
bigguy54's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Elk County, 2 H, Pa.
Posts: 1,416
Back To Top
Irregardless of the bear trap, still and excellent read and i appreciate your sharing your tale with us!!!!

Benefactor Life Member NRA
Veteran - U.S.Army
bigguy54 is offline  
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 09:16 PM
Super Moderator
Moss's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: In The Mountains
Posts: 24,031
Back To Top
Nice fish and pics!!

My name is Moss and i'm a turkey huntin' addict

I'm itchin' to see a red fox twitchin!
Moss is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2017, 08:58 AM
Regular Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,132
Back To Top
Excellent read and pics as always . Thanks Frank .
4x4dad is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Outdoor Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome