Gone fishin' on Easter Sunday
ROSCOE, NY — Rick Miller, the celebrity guest caster on the opening day of the 2018 NYS trout season at Junction Pool, didn’t catch a fish.
But he had a tale to tell about the Bea-Moc, the famous two-headed trout that some say lives at the bottom of the legendary pool which marks the spot where Willowemoc Creek joins the Little Beaverkill River, as the pristine waters rush toward the Upper Delaware River just a few miles—as a fish swims or a bald eagle flies—downstream.
Although only a sparse crowd showed up for the annual rite of passage on Easter Sunday, April 1 during a cloudy and drizzly morning, Miller spoke passionately about the sport of fly fishing and the legends surrounding Junction Pool.
“This is where Catskill fly-fishing began… the waters of this region are so fruitful that the fishing has become legendary, especially at this singular place,” he said.
“Junction Pool is known around the world, people from all over the world come to this pool.” In hope of seeing a tantalizing trout, or a quick glimpse of the ever-elusive Bea-Moc.
According to local lore, a giant female trout didn’t know which way to go in search of the perfect spot to spawn, whether up the Little Beaverkill or the Willowemoc.
The soon-to-be-famous trout was a tad confused, so it hung out at Junction Pool, growing ever-larger as the seasons passed, until it finally grew two heads, one tasting the waters of the Willowwmoc, the other favoring the Little Beaverkill, until the legend of the Bea-Moc was born.
Some say that the Bea-Moc occasionally pulls anglers into the sparkling depths of the pool, while other folks recount the story of a crafty fisherman soaking some bread in scotch, thus luring the mighty fish into a net and its rightful place in history.
The area is trout-rich in local history, and Judy Smith, the daughter of Harry and Elise Darbee, among the founders of the Catskill style of fly tying, was on hand for the traditional opening day celebration.
“I come every opening day, just because,” she said, later confessing that she started fishing with worms.
Don’t worry, Judy, we won’t tell a soul.
Lori and Bill Fenner of Emerson, NJ have been making the annual pilgrimage to Junction Pool for more than a few years, and wet a line in local waters every weekend between April and June.
“We’re a fishing team,” she said of their husband-and-wife angling partnership.
Meanwhile, Todd Snyder of Roscoe and Savannah, GA reluctantly switched to a spin-casting rig after snapping the tip off his favorite fly rod.
Years ago, his parents bought a house just a few hundred yards from Junction Pool, and he was hooked.
Eyeing the house on the hill, Snyder took a brief flight of fancy as some fly-fishermen are prone to do, saying he just might be able to cast a fly into the pool from a second-floor window with “a really, really long line.”
Asked what brings him back to Junction Pool year after year, he replied, “Nature, excellent fishing, it’s just the best place to catch fish.”
After all was said and done for the morning, and the Bea-Moc was left in peace, folks gathered at a portable log cabin brought in from a local campground to warm up with hot coffee and talk trout.
Jeff Phelen pulled out his smartphone and proudly showed folks a photo of his father Francis posing with a large fish reeled in during opening day along the Esopus Creek back in 1937.
Every year, the Phelen family volunteers with the Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock (BOJC) to teach kids the art and history of fishing.
The BOJC was founded in the late 1930s by a trio of dedicated outdoorsmen: Joseph W. Brooks Jr., J. Hammond Brown and Frank Burt Smoot.
“The feathers from the jungle cock were once some of the hardest to get of all feathers,” he said, transitioning for a moment from the sport of fly fishing to the art of fly tying.
This year’s opening day event was co-sponsored by the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce and Roscoe Campsite Park.
Rick Miller, who recently retired in the wake of a 30-year career as an outdoor guide, summed up the spirit of opening day at Junction Pool.
“It’s starting the season once again; all things are brand new.”
For more photos visit www.riverreporter.com.