Beginner’s Luck

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

The term is almost cliché, in a number of different pursuits. With far more frequency than one would expect, a rookie sometimes manages to do with apparent ease what the more experienced practitioner finds to be quite challenging. This would be frustrating enough, but often the novice rubs salt into the wound by saying something like, “I don’t see why everyone thinks this is so hard to do.” Beginner’s Luck seems to affect fishing in general, and fly fishing most of all.

The legendary Letort Spring Run, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was the setting for a classic case of Beginner’s Luck. In recent years this magnificent stream has suffered a variety of negative impacts due to development in its watershed. Even so, many large trout still reside among its deep channels and lush weed beds. The stream flows through a meadow, with boggy soil along the banks in many places. Vibrations from a careless approach will alert the big, wary trout long before you ever get a cast off. You’ll see an impressive wake streak away upstream, and curse your clumsiness. Incredibly complex currents pull your leader and fly hither and fro, making a drag-free presentation maddeningly difficult. Tall weeds snatch at your backcast. Wading is all but impossible due to a silty, sucking muddy bottom, and wading would only spook the trout anyway. The difficulty level poses a formidable challenge for any fly fisher.

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