Wednesday, December 29, 2010
"I doubt there will be anyone there" I thought to myself as I threw the gear in the back of the van. There was a damp chill in the air and I knew my time spent on the water would be no more than an hour or two. "There are always a couple chromers to be had down there" I thought as I finished packing my gear and closed the garage door while turning to assess the driveway situation. "Better get a run at her" I thought out loud as I peered past the spruce to the snow covered hill on the way out from the cottage. The hill proved to be of no significance as I made the short journey towards Tippy. Arriving at the access point I parked the van and made my way towards the river. The stairs down to the river were snow packed and mediocre at best so I took my time to avoid any sudden slips, trips, falls or sprains. The joys of life on the the other side of 40 I guess. The river was void of life except for the workers on the opposite side finishing up the final welds on the newly installed Lamprey project. If it is what I think it is the DNR will be cage trapping Lamprey in order to sterilize the Males and re-release them into the system to false spawn the females.
I opted to start above the coffer for a drift or two as the water was vacant and looked like a perfect place for a wintering steelhead to reside. After a couple of drifts I found myself hiking back up the stairs. I can't fish that water when it's stacked with fish let alone now. I picked my way along the river below the coffer meticulously searching for life. After a dozen or so drifts I managed to find a few small 8" rainbows and a brown or two. I waded out to the middle of the river on a long narrow gravel bar. The river has run low all year and made the wade very easy. There was a defined seam halfway between me and the far bank with some very nice slack water on the backside of it. A classic lie I thought to myself eagerly preparing a fresh white roe bag. The first drift through and my float drops. A nice resident brown about 13" long and a lb in stature. After a short battle the fish wins and disappears into the current.
I quickly replace the tattered bag with another fresh white offering and make the cast to the backside of the seam. Once again the float disappears and I set up on nothing. Feverishly I retrieve my float and recast to the same line and once again the float drops at the same place. Now I set up to confirmation that I have caught bottom. Most likely a clump of zebra mussels I thought. I retrieve my float and decide on a closer cast into the current for a longer drift. I know this run well and have had great success further downriver in the drift. As my float makes it way towards the limit it disappears and I set the hook. My self-tied rainshadow loads up nicely and there is that period of time that seems like an eternity waiting for some sort of confirmation as to the size of the fish. The rod unloads and then loads up suddenly. The water explodes with a giant fish that has to push 8-10 lbs. My initial thoughts are a huge COHO or perhaps a very coloured up male Steelie. A few more head shakes and I make my step backwards getting ready to head down river if need be. Then it happened...That oh so disappointing sudden deceleration.
That kick in the stones. The fish was off. Immediately I knew without a doubt what had happened and I rapidly batted the float in to inspect the leader. With little to no surprise I discovered the hook had broken off and closer inspection revealed the leader was quite frayed. I knew the leader was frayed I thought to myself. I even called it after the snag and I didn't inspect the line. Zebra Mussles!!!!! Blame it on the harsh conditions or just plain laziness but it's the little things that bring fish to hand. Success purely lies in the details. It's one thing to lose a fish or two on good days but to lose what could be the outings only opportunity on a day of extremes can sting. It can only be blamed on my inability to cover off all the details.
Fishing versus catching I guess. I didn't let it get me down and continued to fish for another hour and a half. I did manage to find a nice shaker steelie, chunky resident rainbow and a handsome Coho. By the time I wrapped things up approximately 2 hrs after it all began I could not feel my toes.
Back at the cottage I remembered just how painful it is when ones toes begin to thaw back to life. I will always remember that fish and the lesson it bestowed upon me. Although it just may gain a lb or two every time I remember it or tell the tale. ;0)
Oh ya and Norland is a POS!