Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mojo Revisited

One new voicemail…hmmmm…who would have called me so early on a workday?  It was Cope. His message said, “Dude…you don’t look so good, are you sick? You should take the day off and I have the perfect remedy.”

He was of course talking about taking the day off and fishing the Eno River again.  He was trying to find some mojo.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t fish with him that day because I had to leave for a scout camp out after work and hadn’t finished packing yet.  If I was to take any time off from work that day it was to pack my gear for the campout.

Later that day as my boys and I got ready to leave, I checked my phone. There were five missed calls from Cope and one voice mail.

“Oh no,” I thought, “was he hurt? Was there something wrong with the river? Did he need to borrow some flies that would work?”

Hurriedly, I checked my message.  Sure enough, it was Cope and he was as frantic as I had ever heard him.
“Duuuuude, where are you?!  I need…I need…to celebrate,” Cope’s message said.
There is really just one thing Cope would have called about needing to celebrate. It had to be a BIG fish story.  I dialed his number and Cope answered…he was as giddy as a school girl.  Now, before I tell you what had him so giddy…if you recall from my last blog, Cope and I had spent the day fishing the Eno and I had landed a great bass on my five weight.  Cope called it the biggest he had ever seen out of the Eno River.  I told him I had seen much bigger…heck I had caught a couple bigger.

Well if Cope doubted then, he no longer doubts now.  Cope landed a 24-inch lunker that he estimated at seven pounds.  What’s more, he caught in on a deer hair popper that he tied himself.  As a fly fisherman I can tell you there isn’t anything much better than landing a quality fish on a fly you tied.  Now that’s mojo…way to go Cope!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Got My Mojo Workin'

Will B and Tbone
Muddy Waters has always been one of my favorite blues artists, especially when Little Walter was blowin’ harp with him…but does mojo really exist?  More importantly, if you got mojo how do you keep it?  This has been a subject of many recent conversations between my fly fishing buddies. 
Some people seem to have mojo, while others seem to bring mojo to their buddies.  One of my long time fishing buddies from Texas has always seemed to catch lots more quality fish when I fish with him.  I remember one day on the Laguna Madre in Texas…I just released a nice speckled trout of about six pounds only to turn around and see John bust a 33-inch snook.  Then there was the time we were bass fishing on a well known Texas lake…he caught just a dozen that day (all on topwater) the smallest weighed in at five pounds and the biggest just over eight!  I caught two dinks.
What about my buddy Cope?  Recently on a trip to Colorado he was skunked while his fishing partner that day was tearing ‘em up.  Cope asked his buddy to come watch his technique and check his rig.  Cope was throwing the same flies, rigged the same way and was getting plenty of drag free drifts but no fish.  His buddy walked over to figure out what he was doing wrong and, WHAM!  Cope caught a trout.  He caught another while his buddy watched and as soon as he walked away?  Not even a nibble.
That seems like mojo to me…and mine was working over the Labor Day weekend.  It started out with some  good training rides for my upcoming inaugural mountain bike race.  After those rides, I think I might be able to complete this dang race.  It ended with me wailing on a few tunes with good friends, Will B and Tommy G at a local venue.
Concentrating Cope...nothing wrong with his technique
In between there was a day long trip on my home water, the Eno River…and yes my mojo was workin’ there too.  Cope joined me on this trip.  I think he is good mojo for me.  Sure, I’ve been skunked on a trip while fishing with Cope, but there was no mojo strong enough to overcome ridiculously poor fishing conditions.

Conditions weren’t a problem this day.  Sure the Eno was low, but the largemouth bass, Roanoke bass and the Redbreast sunfish were hungry.  We stuck to surface flies…I threw a stealth bomber pattern (a foam diver type fly) and Cope started out with some great dear hair poppers and sliders he tied.  Those flies looked like they had mojo…but the bomber had more.  By the end of the day, Cope was throwing a stealth bomber too…he knew they had mojo…he caught a 4-pound largemouth on one while fishing the Haw River, but alas it didn’t have enough mojo for him this day.
Cope is a Roanoke-in

I think I used up his mojo…I caught several healthy rod bending bass.  I even had one dive under a rock and wouldn’t come out until I reached down and grabbed him…leader in tact; now that’s mojo!  I caught lots of sunfish…three different species, and a nice Roanoke Bass in addition to the hungry largemouths.  Cope had some nice Roanokes too and plenty of sunfish, but busted off one bass and had another unbutton itself from his fly; that’s mojo that just ain’t workin’.
A nice Roanoke Bass on a stealth bomber
Of course I should have known my mojo was workin’ that day…while Cope caught the first fish of the day, I caught the largest on about my third or fourth cast; a hefty Eno largemouth, and while I’ve seen bigger in the river…I’ve only seen one larger than this that was also chewing on one of my flies.  Oh and don’t let me forget to once again explain that these are river bass…they are strong, jump high and fight hard…and to think this river is literally right in my back yard.
Now before I end this story, I want to apologize to Cope.  The Eno is a small river and we fished side by side frequently…I fished river right, while he fished river left.  There was more than one occasion when my five weight sent a stealth bomber on a fly by…his ear!  I also think I may have fished ahead of him a little too much (even though I did tell him to fish faster) which may explain why my mojo was out workin’ his.
This is in my backyard!
But like any good fishing buddy, I didn’t feel bad about catching more or bigger fish…instead I invited Cope and his lovely bride to dinner and a cold beer. 
So after fishing, I grilled up some awesome chicken and then we all headed to a local venue for another beer and some good music with Will B and Tommy G.  Will B was playing one of his famous “one man band” shows and allowed me to get up and wail on some tunes…and wail I did, because after all…I had my mojo workin’!

I got my mojo workin' and it's workin on you!