So I’m sitting at the vice this evening tying some #20 Microsofts (my name for this pattern consisting of what is essentially a soft hackle zug bug) and I begin reminiscing about past fishing trips. The thought occurs to me that I’ve only told 90% of everyone I meet about the “Cranberry Girl” and there may be the odd straggler who hasn’t heard the story. So here goes-
I can’t remember the exact year, sometime around the mid-1990’s. My friend Andy Stotts and I were on an epic fishing trip into the Cranberry River. Now if you’re not familiar with the Cranberry, it’s important that I fill you in. There is a road along the 20 mile stretch of the headwaters of this river, but it is gated and no motor vehicles allowed. We both fish very fast and were about 4 miles in and in a secluded area of the river when Andy turns to me and says “hey, I think there’s a naked girl up there on that rock”. I look, but don’t see anything. We fished on upstream and once we got within maybe 50 yards or less of this gigantic boulder this girl stands up, not a stitch of clothes. Let me tell you, not only was this the most welcomed bizarre sight in such a strange place, but she was hot. I’m talking pick this chick over Jennifer Garner. I’m trying to appear as though I’m fishing while peering at her through peripheral vision, a bashful 20 year old not realizing the moment of a lifetime. Andy, on the other hand, drops his arms to his side and stares full on and grinning from ear to ear. This chick turns and bends over giving us a nice view, dusts the sand off her feet and wraps up in a towel. Then her 400 lb. friend stands up (clothed) and they scurry off.
To this day, I remember it like it was yesterday. Andy still has reoccuring visions as well.
It wouldn’t be fair to the story to leave it at that. After we fished upstream, naturally we doubled back to see if she’d returned, but it was not to be. We continued, now with even more bounce in our step, to fish and fish we did! We fished all the way to the confluence of Dogway Creek at the beginning of the C&R section, on up the C&R section and into the South Fork of Cranberry a small piece before the sun set on our epic day. We had fished 15 miles in and now it was dark. During the day we’d consumed a grand total of about 4 granola bars and now we had to hike 15 miles back out, in the dark, in cheap wading boots. We made it to within 1-2 miles of the lower gate (where we’d parked) before our bodies shut down. I was honestly scared that we’d have to be rescued. Somehow, mind over matter and we mustered the energy to basically crawl out of that place. Never again will I fish/hike for 30 miles in a single day…unless there’s a naked girl on a rock somehow mixed in.
An old photo of me on the Cranberry, circa ~1995? I’d been fly fishing for probably a grand total of 6 months in this photo. Proud as a peacock of 7″ stockies.
Another old photo of me fishing the Cranberry. This one taken by my friend Shane Thurman. Tighten that loop up son.
Okay, a little better loop. Man those were some naive days. I was self taught at this point in time.