Those of us lucky enough to guide kids on Dry Run Creek, either our own or other people’s, know its a special place. But I don’t think I’ve read a piece that encapsulates the meaning of our little creek and it’s place in the lives of father’s and their children as well as James Brandenburg’s submission to the Journal this week. Thank you to James and Austin for sharing with us
Read it and enjoy _ Steve
Wanted to send you a report on our wonderful final trip to Dry Run Creek on 7/13 with my son Austin. He turns 16 on Friday, so we were lucky to squeeze in one last trip before the big day.
As the sun drooped low on the horizon, the residents of the Quarry Park campground, and other heat asylum seekers, slowly disappeared, leaving the creek to just Austin and I. It was well past our normal supper time, and Austin was starting to realize how hungry he was, as most teenage boys will do. But the pull of the stream, and what he knew was his final trip, kept him fishing.
Having the run of the place, we worked our way well upstream, picking up fish with varying success depending on how the light hit the water and how he cast. Instruction continued to the very end, as each pool presented a chance to reinforce a past lesson learned about line control, or shadows, or presentation. We finally hit our stopping point and agreed it was time to go.
As we walked back downstream, we came back to a spot where he had hooked several nice fish after I had reminded him how to high stick. We decided to make a few last casts there, to see if we could get one last fish. First cast, he landed a small, spunky rainbow. Nice, but not exactly what we had in mind. Second cast, a much larger rainbow. It fought hard and would have made a great closing memory. However, in the process of removing the hook, the fish went wild and slipped our grasp, with nary a photo taken. Tempting fate, I said, “How about you try for one more?” We must have been thinking the same thing, though, because it took no convincing from me.
Third cast, the float paused, and Austin expertly raised the rod tip. Everything stopped for a split second, as the fish didn’t yet know he was hooked. But soon it was evident that this was the fish we were looking for. All the coaching through all the years of visiting Dry Run, was either going to pay off in spades, or Austin would get one final lesson in the will of the fish.
He fought it well, and despite a less than stellar net job, we landed Austin’s final fish at Dry Run. The measure net put him somewhere around 22 inches I think, but the value of this trophy wasn’t in the size. It was in the split second, blinding white flash where a teenage boy and his dad share a rare moment of mutual pride.
Dry Run Creek is a magical place. The stream can only be where it is, and yet it seems to rise out of its banks and seep into your soul. It has its very own Siren Song. For this father, it is a place where I have found the best of what I have to give. I’ve never caught a fish there, never even made a cast except with the hand of a youngster under my own. The sign says Dry Run is for anglers under 16 only. But I think it’s for their fathers, too, if they are willing to surrender to the song.
I’m sad to see this chapter of Austin’s life close, but I’m so glad for the lessons of this place, for him and for me. And I’m also glad that I have two younger sons who still get to fish there.
Thanks to all of you at Dally’s who nurture and nourish this great resource.