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I am just a guy who uses fishing and playing guitar to keep myself sane...or at least try to.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Break out the Neoprene...

Yesterday I fished,
Surprise surprise.
The river was on the drop and judging by the realtime waterflow graph site that all my fish-nerd friends go by it should've had optimum clarity.....and it did.
We hammered them.
Between the advent of all the information available on the internet and all the really cool gear we have to fish for Steelhead these poor little fish really don't stand a chance.I may start fishing with no hook just to even things up a bit.
It was cold yesterday.
I was on the fence about whether or not to go with my breathable waders or my neoprenes. Just as Brian pulled into the driveway to pick me up I went with the breathables.
These are way more comfortable to fish and hike in so I decided at the last minute to just toughen up.
Turns out I am not as tough as I'd thought.
I wonder if I'll die on the river?
At one point in the morning I was shivering so badly that I wasn't sure if the picture I was taking (of yet another one of Brian's trophy fish!) was going to be clear because my hands were shaking so violently.
....Or it could've been the rage.
Funny thing..
I don't envy the guy with all the dough......fast car, nice house, trips to Europe.
All that would be cool ....but no.
I don't envy the athlete's with the 40 inch verticle leap.....it would've been cool to dunk one ...but I can still shoot the lights out.
Don't envy people of 'importance'......don't want the responsibility and things are screwed up beyond repair anyway....'steer clear of the shit and stay happy' is my current philosophy. I don't suffer from ambition......just ask my Wife.
Good looks are a soul stealing curse that only the most austere temperament can survive.......God knows I don't suffer from that affliction ....and I don't care to.
My buddy Brian is a fishing machine.....and I am going to kill him.
I have no choice.
I hit the water yesterday with my 'A' game.
I was on and so was the river.
At one point I hit 5 fish in 6 drifts....STEELHEAD...not bluegill.
Point is.....there are not many things in life that I am good at.....almost nothing now that I think of it......but I can fish....particularly floatfish for Steelhead.
This Jackass that I fish with....well he has taken it to another level.
It can be fun to watch.....but I am still going to kill him.
I have no choice.
I had a banner day yesterday and that prick still doubled me up. It was like watching a fishing show without the editing. I am pretty sure he could find a Steelie in a mudpuddle.
In all seriousness,
I can't fish with most people and I choose not to fish with almost everyone. It is a pretty strong testament to what a good guy Brian is that I actually look forward to fishing with him and getting my ass kicked.
Here's to you buddy....whatever your doin' ....keep doin'er.
I got to watch him land 4 fish in the 10 pound range and one colourful male that had to be the fish of a lifetime for most....it was perfect.
31.5 inches...
That is a tank!
If that big fella hooks up with that hen I got a few weeks back.....heres hoping for some big babies.
Here is how that went down.
We were crossing the river at one point and numbnuts decides, as an after thought, to just toss his line over his shoulder at a piece of water that I have walked past no less than a thousand times because according to him "that water just looks good"....
Bang ...fish on...
I am going to kill him.
I have no choice but to.
Another awesome day on the river. I lost count for myself and I can't count high enough to record Brian's. Great pictures , great fun and frostbite.
What more could you want from a day off work.
Just nicely getting my feeling back in my toes.
I lost a beast of a fish that neither of us even got a look at....did everything right but it just wasn't meant to be. Stung for sure...I am human...but even that just added to the days perfection.
I will have to wait a week at least to see my float go under......

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I was given a wonderful gift today.
I got to the river this morning about an hour before sun up , which is my usual play, ...teetering on the brink of a psychotic episode. I had spent the entire previous day looking after both of my kids who were both sick and I had finished off a week of work that had grated on my nerves so bad that the help wanted sign at the local Tim Hortons had me raising my eyebrows. The stress was consuming me. I needed a break badly and compassion aside, nursing sick youngens isn't exactly what I would call a soothing experience. In the middle of the day yesterday I had to deal with a diaper change that quite literally challenged my domestic convictions.....I kept looking over my shoulder at the door to the outside world...it was classic fight or flight....I chose to fight...and what a fight!
How something that foul can come from something that cute I will never understand.
....we were all glad to see mommy when she got home from work
Kimi must have sensed that I was hurtin' because she gave me the green light to fish today with out even so much as a perfunctory token guilt-trip. She will never realize what fishing means to me or what a wonderful gesture that was.
By the time the sun came up on my little stretch of heaven I was already laughing inside at the things that were weighing down on me. Christ....we are all going to die some day ....shame on me for letting things that shouldn't matter at all get to me. It is very strange that it is so much easier to slide into this mindset on the river than anywhere else.
I have tried to explain to my Wife what fishing provides for me .....how it is essential to my 'sane' existence ,but even though she tolerates my passion with a mixture of amusement and fear it is doubtful that she'll ever understand truly how much I rely on it to maintain my spirit and mental health.
I can only imagine that I get from a day on the river what most people of faith get from Church.
Todays fishing was a benediction.
The river was 'Low and Clear'... two ugly words if you are a Steelheader.
This was fine by me......I have fished it this way before and can approach these conditions with some confidence.
It was a perfect November day.
Slightly overcast ...a little nippy in the morning and damp.....and the best part was I didn't see a soul the entire time I was fishing.
I did see two skunks...closer than I would've liked....a fox,hawk and another giant Buck whitetail that obviously was a little faster than the inbred militia from last week.
Lost a huge fish right off the hop but quickly made up for it by landing the next ten.
Man the fish look so healthy this year ....very encouraging.
Shut 'er down at about 3'ish and began my hike out. On the way out I realized two things,....I missed my kids and I was looking forward to work.
I was regrouped and reloaded.....
I feel bad for people who don't have this as an option.I suppose the world would be a better place if everyone fished.This is an over-simplification but it sounds good.
...just so long as they don't fish my river.
At the spot where I parked I bumped into a local ''fisherman''.....complete with beer in hand.
He was kind enough to inform me that "all the 'bows' people think they bin catchin' are actually 'Coho's'.....just look at the gums dude".
I told him that sadly,I hadn't seen a Coho for a long time and wished him luck.
I also fantasised about punching him right in the throat.
Thanks be to the river.
Off to NY tomorrow.......

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oh 'Deer'! ...My Rivers Clear!!!!

I fished today.
Wasn't to overly productive ...other than the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I did manage to tie into some world class fish.
I guess thats the whole point.
The river I fish has dropped and cleared and I knew this going in. This means that the fishing will be difficult usually ....and today was no exception. I get a particular thrill from catching fish in conditions such as the ones I faced today. I am generally not a big 'numbers' guy anyway, and when you can sneak a few out of the water when you shouldn't be able to ...well I find that kinda satisfying in a "ha!...so there!" kind of way.
These types of conditions usually means that you'll have the river to yourself......most of the time. :o(
Todays crowd however wasn't fishermen.
I learned a valuable lesson today....one that may save my life one day.
DEER SEASON....it snuck up on me this year.
I have fished this river for the past four years now and I have fished it a ton. This is the first year that I have ever run into any hunters.
So I get to the river an hour or so before sun up with the idea of fishing way up the river a daybreak. This means I'll be hiking through the bush in the dark which is no problem.....the moon is up and I kinda dig that stuff anyway. About a half hour into my walk I come around a bend in the river and spook a great big Buck whitetail and it scares me half out of my wits. We have seen a few deer on the river lately and to see a big one like that was kind of cool. At the time I thought to myself how excited my father in law would be to have a shot at one like that as he is an avid deer hunter.
I get to the spot I plan on fishing about 15 minutes before sun up and start to prepare my gear.
Thats when the shooting starts.....
I thought there was a war breaking out for Christs sake!
Now I don't know much about hunting but I was under the impression that when you are deer hunting that a shot at one is pretty rare. Well apparently there are as many deer along the river as there are fish in it.
It sounded like I was surrounded by these 'Yin Yangs', and because I didn't think that hiking through the bush in my drab brown colours seemed like a very good idea ..I did the only thing I could do....fish.
The river was stingy but I still managed a good one and lost 3 others that were on long enough to enjoy .....not bad considering.
After the gun-play started to die down I decided to begin my walk out...AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE.
5 mins in I run into the guys from deliverence who are tracking the blood trail of "one we winged".....nice. An old feller with "summer-teeth" (you know summer here-summer there) offers me a scornfull look and some advice.
"If yer gonna be in here durin deer season ya best be gettin' some colours on!"
Sound advice.
Maybe some Kevlar as well....
Here is an idea...
How about not hunting for deer on a world class steelhead river that is open to the public 300 yards down from a trailer park?
Just me?
Just to be safe I think I'll fish somewhere else next week.
South of the Border?
Stay tuned.
With any luck we'll put some fish of a different colour up next time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back to the grind....

Yesterday was yet another remarkable day on the river for me and my fishing freak companion. I don't know how lucky I can be really, but each trip just keeps getting better and better for us.
Once again, however I was a little perturbed at the amount of people that I ran across. It used to be that going fishing midweek would gaurantee solitude but this is quickly becoming a thing of the past and I suppose I might as well get used to it. I shudder to think what it would be like on the weekend. Heres hoping that the colder temps will keep these knuckleheads at home where they belong....I mean my god ...don't these people work!
I guess on a positive note I should mention that I didn't see a single fish harvested this trip. In reality I didn't see a single fish hooked ...by anyone else that is.
Toot toot....that is me tooting our own horn.
I don't want to get too cocky. I have been around this sport long enough to know that the minute you think you've got it down the fish can deal you up a day that would have the most stable of men curled up in a corner somewhere speaking in tongues....and Christ knows we are overdue!
The river we fish can be a tough old bird at the best of times and the high waters this unusually wet fall have provided have forced us to think outside the box strategically and tactically. For the most part we have been finding fish in spots that we wouldn't have even considered before ...and this is pretty cool....adds a whole new dimension to a place we thought we had nailed down. Another thing I have been finding is that landing a early fall Steelie in high water can become a hopeless endeavour in a hurry and of the few that I did manage to land yesterday I would have to say were, in all probability, more the result of devine intervention than any skill I may 'claim' to possess.
Whatever... I would rather be lucky than good any day.
The first fish of the day was a long time coming. We chose to fish a run at first light that had been white hot on our previous trip. After an hour without a touch I started to get that sinking feeling.
I have noticed that it doesn't take much to shake my confidence on a river....
I could go 50 for 50 and still start second guessing myself after an hour with no 'takes'....I am an odd duck for sure.
Good things come to those who wait and at the next run I hooked a fish that upon first breach actually scared me a little. I felt like chief Brodie in Jaws when he says "were gonna need a bigger boat".
I never really had control over this fish and after wrapping me around rocks and doing numerous cartwheels it finally headed into the fast water beneath us and back towards the Lake at about mach nine. I have learned the hard way why a centre-pin is nick-named a knucklebuster. At this point even though I had lost all hope I chased it as fast as I could into the white water I suppose in the hopes of drowning myself in despair after the inevitable snapping of my line....besides a day on the river just wouldn't be complete without me going for a 'swim'.
To make a long story short, it all gets kinda blurry buts ends beautifully with me holding a picture perfect 30 inch hen that I had no business landing.
A 30 inch fish is nothing to sneeze at on any river but on ours it is a true trophy.... and I was very fortunate. I can count on my right hand how many fish this size I have landed over the years and this one was by far the prettiest.I tried to look cool in the picture but I guess the look of shock and disbelief is appropriate.
My day could've have ended right and there and I would've been satisfied ,but it didn't....in fact in got even better. Together we beat 'em up pretty good and got some great photo's of some great fish on a great day to be away from work and on the river.
Brian outfished me once again........but I think I am getting used to it.
I can't wait to do it again.