A could of vids to help get you through the week.
“Being stupid should be painful” – Unknown
This past weekend’s trip I was reminded of a very valuable lesson that I have learned many times over throughout my years of fishing. It is a lesson that I have shared with many people, both experienced and new in relation to their level of experience. I committed a cardinal sin and didn’t have my head in the game the entire day while fishing. As a result I paid dearly for it.
We got on the river around 8:30 AM and within the first 30 minutes into the day I was into what I thought at first was a steelhead. The bobber on my indy rig dropped, I quickly set the hook and something big and heavy began to move. At that moment a familiar feeling of elation quickly overwhelmed me as line began to quickly peel out of my left hand and come tight to the reel all in the matter of about 4 tenths of a second.
The feeling of elation quickly turned into grave disappointment when I realized all that had happened is that I had inadvertendly dislodged a piece of lumber from the bottom of the river, and it immediately was caught in the current, displaying many of the same characteristics as a hooked steelhead. In my frustration I immediately started to “horse” the log in so I could unpin it and get back on with my day. The stress placed on my rod was substantial and quickly resulted in the rod snapping with a sound similar to that made by the .22 caliber gun my father used to hunt small game with in the days of my youth.
So, it wasn’t a fish, I broke a rod, and now I have to walk up 144 steep and icy steps back to the truck to re-rig another rod? Now I’m pissed, but mentally chalked it up to some sort of necessary penance required by the Fish God’s – a toll I’d gladly subject myself to if it resulted in a great day of fishing.
Only it didn’t result in that.
On a river that I know relatively well that had been holding several steelhead as of late, in several cases being the first angler through sections of particular runs, with a good selection of proven flies would usually result a decent outing. All it resulted in for me throughout the day was losing about $467 worth of flies lost and a helluva of a lot of knot tying. I’d rather have walked down to the river, opened my wallet, pulled out $467 and thrown it straight into the river (from the top, not the bottom of those damned stairs of course), and turned around and went home.
After about 7 hours of no fish encounters, Dan questioned whether or not I had the correct depth set on my indicator – stating that I might not be fishing a run not quite deep enough. At this point my head was someplace else other than focusing on what I should have been, I was more or less going through the motions. I turned to Dan and assured him that I had the correct depth and to further prove my point I said “watch, if I cast a few feet closer I’ll drag bottom”.
Upon casting in closer to me the bobber lurched towards the river bottom as I had previously, indicating that my rig was set too deep for the water I was fishing. I turned to Dan and smugly said “see, I told you”.
My confident assertion was met by him emphatically screaming “FISH!”. I quickly turned around and quickly recognized my bobber nearly a foot below the river’s surface, screaming towards the opposite bank with a large silver steelhead not far in front of it.
I lifted the rod and came tight on the fish. The physical attachment to that fish lasted about as long as my mom’s apple pie at a family dinner. All because I was being an idiot and not paying attention, it was over as quickly as it started.
Instead of having an opportunity to land a beautiful January steelhead and erase all of the hardships THAT I CAUSED myself during the day, I added to it because I committed the substantial crime of not having my head in the game at all times.
Koz at True North Trout reflects back on 2015 and looks forward to 2016in his most recent writings.
Fontinalis Rising offers a a look back at the year that was for him.
The Fiberglass Manifesto details in words and incredible photos a trip to the Pere Marquette.
Persistence pays off at Gink and Gasoline.
Nomad Anglers announces the 2016 Brews and Bugs lineup at all 3 of their locations.
If you care about our waters you should read this article by Josh Greenberg on A Tight Loop.
FrankenFly put together a rad pictorial of his 2015 – highly recommend looking through the awesome photos.
Now that the holidays are behind us, its back to our regularly scheduled programming…….who am I kidding, there’s nothing “regular” about us.
Spent some time behind the vice the past few weeks, spinning proven steelhead targeting nymphs and trying to come up with a few “new” patterns. There’s really not much new in the world of fly tying, we borrow materials, proportion templates, color schemes, and pretty much just about anything else fly construction related from others. However, that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying new things, developing new ideas and adding new bugs to their box.
Here are the “new” bugs that I put together for this year’s edition of my steelhead nymph box.
The last few years we have dealt with severe high water events that have prevented my father from being able to spend much time on the river with me in the spring chasing steelhead, this year has been a nice break from the historical high flows and has allowed us to spend much more time together.
High hopes for a huge day quickly dissipted after we walked up and down the river searching for a decent spot to begin our day, only to be met with enormous amounts of traffic from other anglers. While its great to see so many people out enjoying the resource, there are days that solitude is preferred.
We spent most of the day hanging out on the bank of the river together having great conversation, exploring topics we would never speak of in front of mom, we also formulated exact resolutions to all of Michigan footballs recent woes – in case Jim Harbaugh reads this, feel free to call us for some free advice.
Eventually, we were able to settle into a run and our patience was quickly rewarded with finding a few willing players – landing 2 solid fish in a matter of minutes.
Sure, it was nice to be able to bring a few fish to hand, as they were the reason that brought us to the river – but, the fish were just a bonus. It’s these days of being in the presence of the man that sparked my passion and constantly encourages me that make steelhead fishing and spring so special.
My brother is a very busy person with an occupation that requires a great amount of attention and effort. He also is an exceptionally devoted father and husband that spends most of his little free time with his family. He does have hobbies and passions – fishing for steelhead used to be one of them.
Nearly 7 years ago, he and I choose different passions to focus our free time energy allotment into. As young men our father had introduced us to the outdoors, and taught us many great lessons – using hunting and fishing as the text books of his classroom. My brother with limited time to enjoy outdoor activities choose to hyper-focus his attention into hunting, it’s obvious what I decided to pour my free time into.
We figured out that it had been nearly 7 years since my brother joined my father, whom still splits his time between sitting in trees and standing in rivers, and myself on a fishing excursion. This year everything finally fell into place, our schedules all synched and my brother expressed renewed interest and excepted an invitation to join us.
A few days of planning and coordination only added to my own anticipation to spending a day on the water with my father and brother as we had done so many times long ago. I was excited to have the gang back together, and it became obvious on Friday night that my brother shared the same sentiment.
We met at my house early Saturday morning and loaded my 2 man inflatable raft, and my fathers 1 man toon. After a quick double check of the gear inventory we were off.
My brother, a talented outdoorsman – actually he is talented at anything he chooses to do (don’t tell him I said that though) – jumped right back into the game, as if he hadn’t even left it.
A mere minutes into the float, my brother was able to hook and land his first steelhead in a long time. Years of memories of he and I tagging along with dad, stumbling around on creek banks in oversized waders and packs weighted down by several sandwiches and extra clothing packed by mom, came rushing back. It was again the way it always was, it was familar.
This was familar to me as well.
What was unfamilar for me was the food. As many of you have already gathered, both by my past posts and my growing waist line, I enjoy good food. On most occassions, I am the coordinator of the riverside lunches. Cooking for others is a gift given to me by my mother, a wonderful cook that always makes certain every meal is carefully prepared and can be enjoyed by everyone present. However, on this day I reluctantly relinquished my typical duty of going to great lengths to make sure that even if the fishing sucks, at least there is a great bankside meal to look forward to. My brother spent much of the day prior, when not filling his flask with scotch or looking for gear that hadn’t seen the light of day in many years, prepping a feast.
We ENJOYED pork that had been in his smoker for much of the previous day, bacon wrapped BBQ venison tenderloin bites, and homemade baked beans, (once again, please don’t tell him) a meal far better than anything I’ve put together on the river before. Unlike many days I’ve spent on the river, we didn’t need a hot meal to lift the spirits of the group.
The rest of the day featured a few more shots at fish, and of course getting back to our roots, good natured competition and ribbing ensued. As I was the only one to not be able to capitalize on an opportunity, it was a 2 horse race between my two companions. Those two would make a competition out of anything – especially when outside of the supervison of mom.
It sounds cliche’ at times, but this day truly was not about the fish – they were simply the excuse for us 3 to be back together enjoying the outdoors together as we had so many times before. It was great to be in their presence again.