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

Friday, December 29, 2006

'Thats a Wrap!' :o(

Today the river was on the 'stingy' side.
I had made plans to fish with 'Wallacio' and provide him with a tour of my backyard river....basically returning the favour from a previous fishing outing where he was the host.
I was glad to do it.
We caught some fish.....a few really nice ones...but it wasn't the stellar day that I had hoped for.
I spent most of the day walking Dave from pool to unproductive pool describing how wonderfully this river fished over the past two months.
"Should've been here yesterday".....ugh
Oh well,
Dave was a good sport about it and it gave me a great opportunity to think back over a season beyond compare realize just how fortunate that my friend Brian and I have been.
I will certainly cherish the memories of this Steelhead fall season for the rest of my life.
The water was low and clear....and smashed from all the holiday pressure....at least that is the excuse I am going with. :o)
The day had a nice pace and Dave was good company.
I believe I can safely add his name to the list of guys I'll fish with......its a 'very' short list! lol
Welcome aboard....we'll do it again soon.
I wish all the fish in the river well and I hope they knock boots silly this spring!
Who knows...maybe I'll see some of them again.
Time to shift gears....
BTW- Happy New Year ....nerds.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Dose of Humility

I got "tuned" yesterday.
The season is winding down and I was desperate to get out a few more times before the 31st. Looks like yesterday and Friday will be it...and that is heartbreaking.
I will still fish....I mean lets get serious....but I will miss the favoured river trips not so much for their convenience but for the intimacy. The hikes through the bush are as much a part of what I get from the river as its silver gifts.
It is very enjoyable watching the bush make its annual changes in Autumn/Winter. I have no favourite stage. Everybody digs the colours of early fall and I am no exception. I remember a moment fishing a particularly fine section of river with Brian early this season. It was unseasonably warm and the rain that had been threatening all day finally fullfilled its promise. The sky opened up and we got pounded with those big cold drops you can get in the fall. Great fishing weather! Behind us on this stretch of the river were these enormous cedar trees and when the rain drops started hitting them ,for some reason the scent that these trees are famous for became that much stronger.What a great smell and sound that created!
On the other hand, as much as I bitched and complained about the snow in a previous post ,I have to say that if I couldn't appreciate the stark beauty of the valley covered in it I would be missing something important. There is a sound right on the edge of hearing that comes with a soft snowfall along the river. I've read this described as a "hiss" as the snow touches the water and although I like the sound of that description I don't know if I can run with it comfortably. To me it is almost like an absence of sound that all that snow creates that allows you to hear something that you normally couldn't. Regardless,..chestpain and leg cramps be damned.... I wouldn't miss that for the world.
Yesterday I didn't know what to expect.
The water was on the low side and more clear than I would've liked but I am becoming spoiled. The Christmas Holidays were great for the Norlands and the festivities had left me feeling a little fuzzy. I was hoping to saunter around the river at an easy pace and use the opportunity to say goodbye until next year. Maybe I didn't bring the right mindset for fishing?.....or maybe it was exactly the right one.
I didn't have any trouble hooking fish but had a terrible time landing them.
I am as vain as the next guy....(at least! :o))....and the extra eyes the holidays had brought to the river made blowing big fish particularly annoying. I didn't feel like I was fishing wrong but who knows, maybe I was a little distracted. As I am sure all fisherman have done, I kept summoning all the 'crap cliches' that we dredge up to assuage the unique pain that accompanies a sudden slack line but I experienced too many heartbreakers in a row and suddenly I found myself in a sulk....and desperate for a 'good' fish.(Shame on me for implying that there are 'bad' fish)
It was a long time coming....and although I am not sure why, it seems fitting that it turned out to be big old wintering buck that had possibly been in the river since the first push. I have probably walked by him 20 times this year.
It was nothing compared to Brians 10+ double striper from his last blog post but it was perfect for me. I hope he lives to see the next winter....the fish I mean, and I like to think that I have educated him just to enough to maybe save his skin.
If this is my last fish of the year I would have no problem with that but this Friday has offered me one last kick at the cat and the laws of probability dictate that I should have a good to great day.
...But since when can we say that this particularly unreliable 'Law' applies to this nutty sport that consumes us Steelheaders?
Bring it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My day of rest..

Brian and I hit the river today.
He had mentioned to me earlier in the week that he was going and although I generally hate fishing weekends I decided to tag along.
Considering his recent display of piscine uselessness I thought that, in the spirit of Christmas, I could at least let him play a few of the fish that I hooked.
What are friends for?....eh Pepe?
Turns out my concern was unwarranted as Christmas came early for the both of us today.
The weather was awesome, and the crowds were 'relatively' thin combining to make a very enjoyable trip to the river.
I was glad to see Brian nail one early just to take the pressure off....but considering he outfished me again...I could've appreciated the humour in a back to back skunking!
It had been a while since the two of us fished together and quite obviously he had missed my guidance.
One thing about fishing with a partner is the ability to get some decent quick photos.
Brian and I have a kind of unspoken agreement to stop fishing when the other hooks into one and prepare for the obligatory photo op. I love my fish photo's almost as much as I love these crazy fish and it is nice to document the moment of catching one guilt free with the help of a friend. In truth it is fun to watch friends fight fish anyway.
I won't say anything as ridiculous as 'Its as fun watching as catching them yourself'.....but it is pretty close at times.
Brian had one take him into the fast deep stuff today and I remember chasing along after him, on shore with my camera, actively praying for his dunking. Now that would've made for a great photo op. :o)
No such luck. The old fella can move pretty good when he has to.
Besides the 'stunning' photos I take of my friends fish ,I also pride myself on my ability to offer advice during the tussle on how to best land them.
In Brians case, the advice is usually something to the effect of "just hand me the rod for Christ's sake" or the ever present "listen, just break it off,...you've got no chance in landing that fish."
Like I say...always helpful.
Just coming off a stint of midnights and my brain feels like mush. My body always feels funny for a few days after.
Not sure what I should be eating, when I should be sleeping and I just feel tired all the time. I love my job and the crew I work with but people just shouldn't be up in the middle of the night ...period.
Unless of course you are driving to NY to go fishing. :o)
Rounding the corner on Christmas and there is a strong possibility that I won't get out again until after the holiday. If that is the case then today could'nt have been more perfect. The fish were beautiful, the pace was good,and it felt like spring out. 'Twas' a nice treat ...and that river doesn't owe me anything.
Ho, ho, holy I am tired.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Flying solo

'Tuned 'em',
That thing has legs.It may well be my new go to descriptive phrase. I use this kind of language from time to time...crushed 'em, whacked 'em, beat 'em up....HAMMERED 'em!!
Childish ?....Maybe. However, I am hoping that fishing will keep me young at heart and it is my most sincere hope that I never start to take it too seriously. It has great value in my life and value in the lives of my friends so by that token the conservation aspect of our little 'pastime' should be taken very seriously in order to maintain the quality of the experience.
That being said I believe that it is possible to be a good hearted practicing conservationist/environmentalist/ethical sportsman and still chase down these fish with a light heart and sense of humour. Nobody loves these fish more than me or the areas in which they live,...particularly the more isolated spots....which is where I fished yesterday.
The following quote is from a short story entitled 'Unfounded Opinions' written by Thomas McGuane. It is great little read alongside numerous other little gems in the collection 'The Longest Silence'.

'"I stepped into the water" a flyfisherman was recently heard to say, "and proceeded to empty the pool." We, his listeners, were bowled over. The trout stream as a modern toilet. Now I understand that this sort of hyperbole is part of the fun, but it's humor is based on a crackpot idea.'

It should be noted that one of the other little stories in this collection bears the title " Twenty Fish Days ".....sounds like he crushed'em to me. ;O)
Bottom line for me is, avoid the 'highhorse' at all costs. It is a useless lonely perch that only serves the ridiculous. I can speak from experience that the climb up is easy and effortless but the climb down ....if possible ...is awkward and ardous. I have found that if you feel it start to pucker a good long look in the mirror and a little more bran in your diet can work wonders.
Life is heavy enough....if we can't have fun on a trout stream we are really and truly screwed.

The hike in yesterday damn nearly killed me .. but I feel good today because of it. I happened across that big Buck again that makes this place home. We have come to terms with one another obviosly because he doesn't even bolt anymore.....just snorts a bit. I love him and wish him well but I wish he would stop pissing on the ATV trail...Christ that stuff stinks. We get it big fella!! Its your world boss!!,'You the man'!!
The water was on the murky side and went out from under me at about noonish. I beat the dead horse 'til around two then made the turn back towards the car.I had a beautiful brain fart about half way out. I had removed my fogged up glasses during one of my many breathers that had to be taken, and set them on the log that my tired ass was resting on. I didn't realize that I had left them there until I was in the car backing out of the parking spot a good hour away. I almost cried. If they weren't so new I probably would've left them.
I fished alone yesterday.
I enjoy fishing alone most days but I hadn't chosen to today. I had extended an invite to all my fishy friends but no takers. Brian, who herein after shall be referred to as 'Pepe la Pew', had to work and since the law has yet to be passed that prevents people from fishing while there friends work I decided to fly solo.
That law should be passed btw.
I hooked half the fish I managed on pink worms. I know these things work but I only fish them as a last resort. Whenever I reach for them I get this unsettling feeling that if I am not careful I will soon be covered in sponsorship and towing a $75,000 Ranger with a 300hp motor on the back,... chewing tobacco and Nascar.
Understand that most of what I write is tongue in cheek. I actually have a lot of respect for the bass guys. Most of those guys can really fish and were releasing fish back when most of us were dragging limits off to the smoke house.
Thankfully I caught a few fish on roe....like a gentleman.lol
All in all it was another great winter steelhead day. It was fun to watch the river unlock and come apart.
It was a little disconcerting that even in the dead of winter I had to haul out some shitrats empty beer cans but what-are-ya-gonna-do?. The image of this jackass buzzed out on that monkey-piss huddled around a bloodied dying steelhead that is worth a hundred of him in my book makes my skin crawl.Takes a special kind of dirt bag to leave garbage in a place that beautiful.'Sigh'.
Don't worry maggot! ... I got it.
The bush can be a very dangerous place and unfortunate accidents happen all the time. Here is hoping. :o)
I left the high-end stuff at home this trip and fished with some old friends that should never be allowed to collect dust too long.
My Islander is the best runner I own, but admittedly ,I have noticed it spins way better than other Islanders I have held. It is currently paired with my 13ft Rainshadow. I love that blank. This rod was the second rod that I'd built and I spined it to the soft side to make it less nasty. I have fished this combo a lot and it brought back some very pleasant memories.
Back to work tomorrow.
I am actually looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Now that was Brutal!!!

Went fishing today and probably shouldn't have.
I read the weather reports, ...why ?..I don't know if I am not going to heed their warnings.
Ah well, I am home safe and sound after driving through the worst conditions I have ever seen in my life.White-outs the whole way back home. My eyes are still sore. That was the only time I have ever been scared in an automobile.....I mean other than when Brian is driving.
It was COLD!
I got to the river relatively late. I slept in and needed it. I am an early riser normally and I like to be on the water for first light but I was wiped out from this past week and just said to hell with it.Besides, it is the second deer season where I fish and after what I experienced the last time around I thought that walking through the bush before sun up might be bordering on a deathwish. I 'borrowed' my raincoat from work and wore a red appleton rum ball cap in the hopes of not getting my head blown off. My raincoat is a violent chartruese colour that would give even a blind person a headache. I looked like a giant tennis ball.
Turns out I didn't miss much.The river was a slush fest early on and it was impossible to get a decent drift. I wanted to fish some runs way up so I exercised some rare self discipline and walked past fishy water to get there. That is a tough thing to do but the weather was getting worse by the minute and I wasn't sure how much time I was going to have. I have been thinking of this water for weeks now and have not fished it since back before I wounded myself and I was itchin' to test out my "girly" wrist against some big fish.
It failed miserably.
Unfortunately it will be a while before I am 'back'.. :o/
Ah well,...still was a great day. I caught some fish until the pain became unbearable.... mostly the cold. The wrist doesn't really hurt ...it just doesn't have the strength it needs.
On the first fish I managed to drop the camera in the water.....nice one gimp.
Took only about two seconds for it to freeze solid. I got one decent picture of a fish and one of one of the numerous spiders I saw on the snow????????/
Very weird.
Good thing Brian wasn't with me. He would've stared at the spiders for hours.
On the way out I bumped into a local pothead fisherman with a wild 30+ incher on a stringer.I guess he gets the munchies after fishing stoned.
Might have to kill that guy.
Gotta go.
Having dinner at the Curling Club tonight...
Whooo spread out!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Frustration and the 'Noggin o' Grande'

On November 22nd I did a dumb thing.
I tried to step down off Mobile Vacis unit I am assigned to at work and forget to let go of the railing. Gave my wrist a nice tug with all 190 lbs of me hanging there and managed to break my wrist....broken in the sense that it is not working anymore.
The pain wasn't and isn't too bad for most things but I decided , particularly after being lectured by my mother hen teamates ( I love you guys) to go to the hospital.
I have no faith in our local charlatan heath care sages. The facilities in this city are third world and I figure half these nit-wits are on the run from something.
Long story short, after numerous x-rays and a bone scan I still am not sure what is wrong with my wrist but I do know for certain that it is feeling better now.
I can type .....and I can fish,...albeit with a great deal of athletic tape and a wee bit of discomfort. Season ends in about three weeks....my wrist can go to hell.
I have another visit to the 'doctor' on Wednesday morning and I can only assume that the bone scan results are negative by the way this thing feels.We'll see.
Regardless...I will fish Thursday.
Sunday was a fun day.
I needed to get away so I decided to fish.
Brian and I were forced out of our comfort zone due to dangerously high water and pointed the windshield north towards a river with an enormous cranium.
Judging by the watergraph and thanks to a friendly tip we guessed that this river would probably be fishable and might be the only fishable water in the entire province after the deluge of last week....and it was.
We certainly didn't drill them. Brian narrowly avoided a skunking.
I don't know what I am going to do with him.
The man is useless and might be the worst fisherman I have ever seen.
He is also insane.
At one point he spent the better part of an hour staring at an impaled rodent that had ben stuck to a thorn bush by some kind of a bird. Hey David Suzuki!,there are fish to be caught!True story. I wish I had made it up,....I had a 3 hr ride home with the guy.....without my pepperspray.Freak.
I love it up there, although the last time I was there the apple orchards were in full bloom....on this trip it was a blooming snowstorm.
I love fishing in that weather. The fish aren't as fiesty ...although the ones we caught fought well considering the temps and were kind enough in retrospect not to punish my wrist too much.
I got to meet a good friend for the first time on Sunday. That is a strange comment but an accurate one.
I read an article recently in MacLeans entitled "The Internet Sucks".
I agreed with most of it. The worshiping of technology is a symptom....but the complete bashing of it is just as bad if not worse.
I am a fishing nerd and up until just recently I was a regular on numerous fishing websites where fellow fish nerds got to know one another and shared ideas. Through this medium I have gotten to know quite a few people.
Some I have become familiar with and see eye to eye with and some I would like to step on their necks.
Of the former a fellow Steelheader that runs with the moniker "Wallacio" I have been trying to get together with to share a run for years (?).
I suppose the bad weather finally forced our hands and I am very glad it did.
It was great to meet finally a guy I have communicated with on a number of occasions and see what he is all about.
This class act .. a very trusting and generous soul, put us on some water that was if not overly productive, lovely to fish....and I will return the favour.It takes a special type of person ,particularly a sportsman, to trust 'strangers' to some of his
favourite fishing holes. I look forward to fishing with him again. This time the tours on us.:o)
This aspect of the net certainly doesn't 'suck'.
Very good to meet you and fish with you Wallacio!
Unfortunately just when I was starting to like him he managed to catch the nicest fish of the day and quite possibly the coolest looking buck I have seen this season.
I hope they don't find the body.
Nice fish though.
Good day fellas......thx ...I needed it.