Christmas...Almost upon us. A time of the year when young and old start to get overwhelmed with anticipation and frustration. Myself on the frustration side. My week was booked solid. Interviewing all day Monday and Wednesday with a Business Focus Team meeting in the middle on Tuesday. Throw in the fact that my Christmas shopping is not complete and we have the making for a very busy week. Monday comes and goes successfully. We manage to secure 4 excellent candidates to offer employment to in my group. Interviewing is never easy and can wear on all parties involved. The end of Monday finds me in my office catching upon missed emails and frantically organizing my groups work for the next day so I can get my kids picked up on time. While in the process my phone rings and it turns out to be my Mechanical counterpart. He informs me that my Tuesday meeting has been cancelled. I instantly open up my calendar in Outlook and verify his proclamation and the fact that the rest of my day is free. Could it be? Is it possible? Christmas has arrived a few days early for me! I quickly grab my phone and call our associate to inform her to book me off for Tuesday. I then instinctively open up the Water Site and verify what I already know...The river is in perfect shape still :0)
I wasn't really sure if I would get another day on her this season while she was still in all her glory.
Tuesday morning comes and I find myself on the road early as always. I have a hour and a bit to contemplate what awaits me and to ponder further on how truly lucky of a man I am. I arrive to my access point to find another vehicle in my parking spot. No worries... I assure myself there is a lot of river down there for the two of us and I gear up and make my way back thru the bush. I arrive at my starting point and meet the gentleman driving the vehicle in my usual parking spot. I great him politely and ask if he minds me slipping in and fishing the wintering hole with him. He smiles, introduces himself and says he would be happy to share the hole with me. The morning starts out slowly but we pass the time in conversation. I learn he is retired and lives near the river. His name is George and he is 69 years old. I learn that he manages to fish everyday in the fall up to the season close. I make note to myself that I truly wish to be in a physical capacity that will allow me
make the hike and river crossings necessary to pursue this great passion when I reach my 69th year. I then chuckle to myself on the thought that I hope to make my 69th year.;0)
While deep in some intellectual statement my float plummets down and I quickly proclaim "FISH". Today I chose to fish my GL3 with Black IS combo and couldn't have been happier. The two complement each other so well and it was a refreshing change from the 15 Frontier and MykissI. This fish turns out to be a mint hen and after a quick photo op she is released unscathed. I make my way back up to the top of the hole and continue on with the mixed conversation. A few drifts later and I am into another chrome slab. This fish turns out to be a mint chrome male. I make my way back up once again the and my elderly companion asks if I mind him sliding down and fishing the top of the hole with me. I smile and assure him he is more than welcome fishing this section. We begin to talk about roe and I offer him some of my fresh hatchery roe. We talk about the hatchery roe option and the fact that it is no longer necessary to kill a genetically gifted hen for her roe when the hatchery roe works wonderfully. He could not have been better educated to this fact having watch 2 magnificent steelhead take my offerings. I slide up above him and let him fish my spot. A short while later he is into a fresh 7lb hen and is praising me like I was responsible for inventing beer.
It made me happy to see the old fella get into one. He has probably caught a million steelhead in his day but I could see the happiness in his eyes and it felt good. It also felt good to know that I educated a peer to the fact that it really isn't necessary to keep fish for roe purposes. We talked on for another 15 mins and I decided to slide up to the next run. I managed no fish there which was a bit of a surprise to me so after 30 mins I decided to slide back down and fish with George again. A few drifts in and my flow disappears. I knew this was a big fish and it was hot!!! The fish manages to take me to the end of the hole and around the corner where I barely manage to land him prior to a long series of white water. This fish turns out to be very handsome winter buck. Just a spectacular display of genetics and I felt honored to have experienced all his splendor.
I once more make my way back up to where George is fishing sporting a ear to ear grin. George must have read my face because he quickly asks how big that fish was and I show him the digital pics. He genuinely congratulates me on a spectacular fish and comments on how nice a job the "NEW" cameras do. I agree and inform George it is time for me to move down river and finish off my morning with a few different runs. We shake hands and he thanks me again for the roe and advice. I make my way down the river to a long emerald stretch that hasn't fished well this season for some unknown reason. I figure this run is due to produce and try the backside tight to some semi-hidden boulders. A few drifts later and I am into another chrome-buck of grand proportions. This is another hot fish. How fortunate we have been this season to have unparalleled conditions up to and including today. To fight a fresh hot chromer on December 19th is a treat indeed. This fish makes many long runs prior to being landed and turns out to be the chrome counterpart of the wintered buck of earlier mention. Once again I make note of the fact that I am indeed a blessed man and privileged to be on a magnificent system with such ideal cons so late in the season. I continue my journey down river to my final destination. We refer to this run as "G's Clay Banks". This particular run fished incredibly well early on in the season but has only given up the odd fish since. Today it looked spectacular and I anticipated a fish the first drift thru. I made a point of retying a new Kamasan 983 #12 and double checking my 4lb flouro leader for any damage. I didn't want to lose a fish here today knowing that it may be the only take out of this run. I gather up my best looking white bag and lob a nice cast to the far fast riffle. My float dances thru the run to the back end where it jettisons downward. Instinctively I set back on the fish and drive the 983 deep into it's mandible. "FISH" I proclaim to myself LOL! and what a fish it is. Immediately this fish starts heading upriver thru the fast water. I know this fish is big and my heart is pounding. I want this fish bad! Half way up into the whitewater the fish turns and races to the end of the run, then 90 degrees towards the bank and then back to the end of the run. It took everything I had to keep the line tight on this fish and I whispered to myself how this fish had beaten me for a split second. December...Geesh these fish are on fire!!!. I still have yet to see this fish when it decides to go down river and hard. I am on the move and this fish is not slowing down. I manage to get around a large downed tree in the river and the fish is still showing no signs of letting up. I think to my self how big is this fish? I then start thinking about the 983's and how soft they are and make sure I do not fall into my 15 Frontier mode and put too much pressure on it. We are still going down river and must be about 200 yards down. We are coming up to a section of the river that forks and on my side of the river it gets very swift with another tree overhanging. I have to make a quick decisions and decide to cross the river and try to work the fish to the other side. Once in the middle of the river my cel starts ringing. I'm thinking how appropriate. Here I am in the middle of what could be the best battle of the season and I am in the middle of the river hoping not to fall and blow this fish and my phone is ringing. LOL!!!! I ignore the phone and make it to the other side. The fish is just about to drop down another set of rapids when it makes a swing and heads to a slow slack water section. I managed to get him turned into a small reedy bay area and tail him. I drop my rod on some reeds and drop to my knees literally spent. Spent physically and mentally. Truly a spectacular epic battle that was to end in my favor. I quickly get the camera out a fire off a few pics. Yet another genetic champion pushing 10lbs and lightning hot. This fish rockets back to the river as if it were never caught. My nerves tingling I cross the river and make my way back to the run where I blow the next 3 fish in a row. No worries I tell myself as I relive the battle of the season on an outing that truly proves to be an early Christmas present for Brian.