Chasing square tails

Notes from the North Woods

John Roggee of Pawling NY shows off a nice fall brook trout.

John Roggee of Pawling NY shows off a nice fall brook trout. Photo by Joe Hackett.

I spent last weekend chasing tails, square tails to be exact. With the end of trout season looming on the near horizon, I wanted to take a few slab sided brookies home to put on the smoker.

As luck would have it, an old friend agreed to join in the fun, and we set off early in the morning darkness.

We had kicked off this year’s trout season on the very same pond, and it treated us quite well. We probably would’ve landed quite a few more fish, if a certain member of the party of two had remembered to bring a net.

There would be no such equipment errors this time around. Net? check. Sinking fly lines and freshly tied custom flies? Check. Other flies, lies, lures and a few believable excuses just in case? Check!

We began the long walk in the morning’s darkness, as the cool air and a flowing stream of adrenaline combined to aid our pace.

We weren’t trying to run, but the urgency of our mission was palpable even though neither of us was willing to voice the thought.

We’ve been on the trail together for over a quarter of a century, words weren’t necessary. We knew what to do.

The headlight beams illuminated the steam of our breathe, in the chill morning air, as we crunched along the leaf-padded track.

For John, this was to be his last hurrah chasing Adirondack brookies, and he approached it like a man on a mission.

His skill had been thoroughly tested earlier in the season, on the same pond we were now returning to.

I knew without even having to ask, what was on his mind. He had lost a true trophy back in May, and he was vengeful, but in a good way.

Despite the fact he regularly gets to play with big bruiser browns on the Delaware, where a day in the drift boat holds the promise of 10 or 12 trophy-sized fish a day; John has a true Adirondack addiction and he can’t seem to shake it.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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