Thursday, December 29, 2011

The day after...

Tuesday was a swift reminder that sometimes no matter how hard you persevere mother nature has the upper hand.  To me it was fairly obvious that the cold front that barrelled in had a significant impact on our finned adversaries.  From all decent accounts the entire system fished tough from top to bottom.  I reluctantly left the warmth of my bed this morning knowing very well the temps were well into the negatives.  Fueled with a desire for redemption and the fact that the river traffic would most likely be at a minimum I prepared to gear up and brave the frigid temps.  Arriving to the access my suspicions were confirmed with only one other person present.  The air had an crisp bite but the lack of wind made the cold bearable.  I started below the coffer and fished the next hour hard to no avail.  The guides were icing up  and frequent breaks were in order to warm my hurting hands.  With the lack of river pressure I decided to continue down river and visit the usual haunts.  Aside from a 14" resi-bow I was struggling to find that chromer I was after.  Finally at the end of my travels I dropped down to one of my go to runs for spring fish. 
After a couple of drifts my float dropped and the fight was on.  Soon redemption was realized and a long and lean dime bright chromer lay at my feet.  After a few pics the fish was released but not before a violent escape attempt that saw my reel and rod get doused with water.  I knew it was going to be trouble for me as the temps froze the reel up instantly.  I had gotten what I had came for and decided to head back to the cottage for a thaw and an afternoon run into town for supplies.  On the way back from Manistee I noted that there was still no wind as evident by the vertical plumes of smoke emulating from the chimneys.  There was still a couple of hours of daylight left so I hastily unpacked the van and geared up for an impromptu afternoon session.  Once again the river was deserted.  I was clinging to the hope that the afternoon sun would be enough to turn at least one fish on and grant me the opportunity to persuade a take.  Things were looking grim as 15 mins passed without a take.  I bounced between white and olive/brown jigs and decided to switch up one more time to a solid black with orange accents.  After a half dozen or so drifts my float disappeared and the rod loaded up well into the drift.  I could tell it was a large fish by the giant tail that appeared from the fast water.  After a strong run and thrashing on the surface the fish subsided and started to run up river towards me and into the shallows.  My suspicions were realized when the large barred pig of a Coho appeared from the depths. 
She was an amazing specimen with brilliant crimson bars adorning her sides.  By the size of her belly it was evident that she had yet to spawn and was determined to do so.  I managed to fire off two quick pics when she went ballistic, splashed me in the face, jumped over my left side and made a quick run back towards the river.  I  instinctively grabbed for the line and made a last ditch effort at bringing her back to the camera when the it went slack.  I smiled to myself as I wiped the water from my face and watched her jettison along the shore and back into the run.  I retied another black and orange jig and made my way back out toward the middle of the river.  By now a couple of guys in a small aluminum had anchored their boat directly below me about 10 yards past my drift limit. 
They were far enough as to not impede my drift but left me with an uneasy feeling as to how I would fare with a hot large fish.  A few more drifts and my fears were realized.  I set up on a giant steelhead.  After giving me a quick purple flash at the surface the fish ran hard down river.  I had no choice but to clamp down on the fish and hope for the best.  Initially I paused the beast briefly but another strong run ensued and the leader  broke midway.   I shrugged it off. An opportunity missed is always better than never having had the opportunity at all.  Once again I retied a fresh leader and grabbed black and orange jig number three from my vest.  I was now confident where to concentrate my efforts and started to pick away at the section making longer cast after cast covering every line.  Once again my float dropped and another chromer was head shaking at the end of my line.   This fish was more manageable and I quickly turned it towards the bank and away from the anchor rope threat and eventually onto the beach.  I was now an hour and a half into this session and was 2 for 3. 
I was losing daylight fast and took no time returning to the river.  Systematically I stuck to my game plan and drilled line after line waiting for that orange speck to disappear.  True to form if droped again and I set up to a couple of quick head shakes and then slack.  2 for 4 and my confidence was at it's peak.  The bite was on and I had no reason to believe I couldn't fine another before dark.  Another dozen or so drifts and the rod loads up to another giant fish.  Similar to the first big chromer this fish runs hard down stream.  The anchored boat once again is posing a huge threat to my chances of success so I had to bare down and hope for the best.  Yet agaim the line gave and the fish was on its way.  By now it was starting to get difficult to see my float and prospect of losing another hot fish was not very appealing.  I was happy with the success. The lost fish... well that's part of the game I guess.  One thing for certain...this episode definately had be thinking of stepping up approach.  Time to break out some 8lb flouro or better and take my chances with the hook strength.  Quite the difference a day can make.  I think I'll sleep in tomorrow and hit the river after lunch for the afternoon session.  I got my jigs in order for the duration of this trip but will be putting a fresh order in with Ella as soon as I get back.  Solid body black with orange and red accents feathers have been killer as well as the solid white with crystal flash bodies and solid olive.  I think I'll get Ella to give this old fella a jig tying lesson.  I haven't turned a fish on roe over here for weeks.  The jigs are on fire.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fishing versus Catching

If it was easy it would be called catching.

I was excited about the prospects today would bring.  With temps forecast in the positives and overcast skies I could only image just how promising the day would be.  I made a conscious decision to fish the Hyde at the top of the river as the weather man was threatening freezing temps for Wed.  and I didn't want to waste an easy opportunity this late in the year.  The launch was effortless but it was evident that others decided to take advantage of the temps as well.  Traffic was busy compared to the past few weeks but I guess it goes with the territory as it is the holidays. 
 With grand expectations I set adrift.  Hole after hold produced nothing.  I was half way down my intended route and losing confidence when I got slammed by a decent fish in some fast water.  Instantly I could tell it was a brown and brushed off the excessive fight as a result of the swift river currents but soon it was evident it was a large resident.  After a decent battle I managed to swing him into the new net and then into the boat.
 It was my best resident brown to date...A pristine football of a male at least 2 lbs and pushing 18-19".  At times these resi browns can be a hindrance but I have never lost appreciation for just how beautiful they are.   After a quick pic he disappeared into the magical waters of the Manistee.  I continued on down river struggling to find that big chromer when I set up on a nice resident Rainbow about 17" in a deep water hole.  These fish too are works of art and always have me reaching for the camera.
 By now the forecasted cold front was starting to encroach and the skies were darkening as the wind started to pickup.  I carried on around the bend in haste to my last hope at chrome redemption only to come up short handed.  I decided I better double back as things were looking sketchy and I was starting to worry about the ramp freezing up.  As I pulled the boat out the snow began to fall and the temps were into the negatives.  A couple of gentlemen were launching when I pulled out and I had to chuckle to myself at what this crazy obsession can persuade people to do.  With only a couple of hours of daylight left and snow flurries in the forecast these dudes where on the prowl for chrome.  LOL!  I guess we have all been there in some form or another.  Tomorrow is another day.  I will find redemption wading below the coffer.  Hopefully the colder temps will keep the traffic to a minimum.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Best Gift Ever...

I gave myself an early Christmas Gift today...With aggressive holiday plans and the ever looming end to the Ontario season I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and treat myself to some much needed solitude...A solo trip to the river is always healing and filled with gifts inside of the gift if one opens their eyes and looks beyond the obvious. 

The bite of winter was in the air and frozen guides were evidence that the lockup is around the corner.  The old girl was in her glory and marginally proud of her banks.  She was dressed in Emerald green with shore ice accents. 
 The fish were in their winter holding patterns and willing to participate. The silence and sense of isolation afforded by a lonely river in December is unparallelled.

 The opportunity to fish a river alone in this day and age is priceless. The ends do justify the means and my now tired and weary body has no regrets.

 Our little river is a special place and today I said good by to her for the remainder of this season. It was nice to share an intimate outing with her and bid my fond farewells.

May you all have a safe and wonderful holiday season.  Merry Christmas, tight lines, and best wishes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Frozen Anchors and Cracked Fingers...Winter Steelheading

Sitting in front of my computer in the comfort of my home I am contemplating just how to capture the past 48hrs of steelheading at the cottage.  I'm tired and my hands ache.  We started the trip off with an afternoon session that left me feeling quite excited about the next two days.  Monday's forecasted temps were very encouraging and I was excited arriving to the upper river with the Hyde in tow to discover that we had the river to ourselves.  The next 8 hours would prove to be a series of unfortunate events. 
The day ended on a blanco.  It wasn't like we didn't have our chances.  The ones that came across my path were poorly stuck or simply got the better of me.  Some days you can't do anything wrong and some days you can't buy any luck.  We did managed to put a multitude of very healthy resi rainbows and browns into the boat though and if it wasn't for their aggression the day would have been very dismal.  This mornings game plan was finalized over coffee. 
The decision was made to forgo the upper river and head right down to the lower.  The boat was left out overnight so all we had to do was load the motor and the rods and make our way to the launch.  This proved to be a poor call.  The night time temps had dropped well below freezing and the bottom of the boat was now full of ice.  The anchor rope was frozen solid as well as the anchor itself  in the bottom ice.  Minor details to hardcore steelheaders but a pain in the a$$ nonetheless.  Arriving to the launch we were quite surprised to see another 5 or so rigs already launched and on the water. 
The ramp was very icy where they had launched but we were lucky enough to have the far side of the ramp untouched and bone dry.   As we launched two more rigs pulled in.  I noticed it was the Hawkins guides and assumed they were starting their days later now as the bite was now into winter mode.  We made our way to the first run and crossed our fingers that the anchor would release and function with the frozen rope and mechanism.  We were to struggle with this system for the remainder of our outing and it proved to be yet another pain in the a$$ for the morning. 
The forecast was predicting a marginally positive one degree Celsius but it certainly wasn't making any attempt at breaking free from the negatives.  We struggled with icy guides, frozen anchor systems,  reels, hands, and toes.  Be bounced around for a couple of hours without so much as a sniff.  The feeling of fishing heavy pressured 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th water in the extreme cold was testing my patience.  After the 5th unsuccessful location I decided to double back, cut our losses, and head for the cabin to offload the boat and see if we could redeem ourselves wading the water below the coffer. 

This proved to be a wise decision.   The fishing was tough but I still managed to persuade a couple handsome players to come to hand.  The roe bite is definitely on hold but the bug bite seems to be the ticket.  Norland jigs once again saved the day.  Solid black and black with fire-red.  Also to note a flashy white iridescent jig put the hurt on a multitude of resident rainbows and browns.  Multiple passes of the black jigs produced nothing and when I switched over to the white I popped two fish in two drifts.  Not sure if the resi's are keying in on a minnow or waxi presentation but one thing is for certain...they are on it! 
It was nice to feel the big bend in the rod today and get some redemption for a tough day and a half.  Monday just seemed to be one of those days where a guy couldn't do anything right and this morning was a bitter cold reminder that the elements can and will have an effect on the outcome.  The poor fish don't know what the heck is happening.  Plus 8 temps one day and -3 a couple days later.  They set up for winter mode  and then mother nature throws them a curve.  It's all part of the game I guess but I know one thing for old body takes a hell of a beating on these cold outings.  The last three weeks of fishing has wrecked havoc on my hands.   They have dried out substantially and I have a multitude of cracks on my fingers and thumbs.  At one point today after dealing with one of my fish I noticed my hands were actually bleeding.   Now every time I inadvertently bump something with one of my affected fingers it sends a jolt of pain like an electrical shock through my entire body.  LOL!  I ain't getting soft!!!!  It is an unreal pain.  The joys of getting older I guess and the price to be paid for fishing like a Fiend.  A price well worth it I guess... now where is that hand lotion.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Late Afternoon Session

With a green light from both work and our wives Arn and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity for some pre-Christmas Steelheading and drove over to the West Side.
The weather this year has been kind to us steelheaders and today we arrived  at the cabin, unpacked, geared up and slid down to a river under +1 C temps and little to no wind.  With only a few hours prior to sunset we decided to wade the river below the coffer. 

Jigs and spawn proved to be the ticket accompanied with equal amounts of  confidence and determination.  The fish this year are large as are the resident rainbows and browns. 

We put in three hours and turned 3 steelhead and a multitude of browns and rainbows.  It took me a little bit to dial in on the jig colour of the day but once I landed on Olive it all came together rather quickly.

The highlights were my 8-9lb mint hen and Arn's big resi brown  Nice to get the lines wet before the main session tomorrow.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

-10 on the Jig

 It was family weekend at the cottage and I couldn't wait to spend some time with the Girls.  We arrived at a reasonable hour Friday night and quickly put flame to the new woodstove.  It certainly is nice knowing the dollar meter isn't rapidly spinning out of control every time the propane forced air furnace fires up.  And honestly...there is no comparison to wood fired heating.  We settled in for a warm night of liesure.

My wife had plans of Christmas baking with the girls on Saturday.  I was anxious to get the Hyde back out on the upper river but the biting cold evening air had me second guessing my morning plans.

The alarm came early as it usually does and I awoke to the bad breath of a 90lb Labrador retriever overly anxious for his morning meal.  The cabin was cool so I stoked the stove and let cody buddy out for his morning business.  Upon opening the front door I was overwhelmed by a stern brisk cold.  I knew it was well in to the negatives and I knew I would be in for a rough solo morning venture.  I reluctantly weighed my options and the comfort and warmth of our bed won the vote.  A few hours later I re-awoke and made the morning coffee. 
While I savoured my morning java I reformulated my day.  The new plan had me poking my way around the banks of the upper river.  The boat would best be left for more civil temps and a more acclimated self.  The weather network was bragging of -10C with the windchill and I was not prepared for an extended outing of frozen anchor ropes and slippery boat decks.  The wading initiative gave me a quick egress in the event things were unbearable.

Arriving to the access I wasn't surprised to witness a lonely river.  The mid-day sun was bright but it offered no comfort from the harsh bite in the afternoon air.  Having been graciously reminded of the winter Jig effectiveness the week prior by JB I was keen to float some Ella Norland hand crafted Canadian Jigs.  Ella loves to help her dad tie up jigs and roe and the last couple of Christmas's I was fortunate to be on the receiving end of a multitude of them.
I chose to start with a black and orange jig with a woolen body.  After getting my jig saturated with water and the marabou pulsing I chose my line and made the first cast.

I was disappointed to learn the float reel had frozen solid on the descent down the stairs to the river.  The previous weekends outings were under substantial rainfall and the gear had been soaked.  It had been quite a while since I had to contend with a frozen reel so it took me a while to rid the gear of the ice buildup.  Three or four casts later hand me shuffling down river about 10 yards and picking a line further into the river in a fast shoot coming off of the coffer.  The second pass on this line and my float dropped.  Instinct had me set up to a monster of a fish.
It was quickly apparent that the daunting cold would be both friend and foe.  The cold weather had put the fish into a manageable winter mode but the bite in the air was laying havoc on my aching hands.  With some luck I managed to beach the 30" double striper.  It was a beast of a buck and had to push the 11lb mark.  He showed no signs of shyness on his take and crushed the black maribou jig.  With hands aching I assisted him back into the majestic flow unharmed.  I couldn't have been happier.  In less than 10 mins on the river I had banked a world class winter buck and on one of the Norland's Jigs.

With plenty of water to traverse I continued to work my way down river and around the bend.  The water level of the river had dropped a good 6-8" from the previous weekend and I was struggling to find some more willing players.  I worked my way down to my lower travel limit with only a chunky brown to show for the efforts before turning around and making the hike back up. 

Arriving back to the coffer I had another hour of daylight left and decided to tie on a black body with red inner accent marabou jig.  This colour combination has been one of my goto options when running the jig back on the Ontario flows.  Today proved to be no different.  Over the course of 30 mins I hit another stellar buck, a big hen and lost another fish on a straightened hook.  The takes were ferocious and the fish were all large specimins in full winter dress.

The river was lonely and the fishing was outstanding.  The ends do justify the means and I found my once cold aching body rejuvenated and warm from the adrenaline rush of giant fish.  The quality of fish never cease to amaze me and the sense of new found appreciation I have for these MI flows every time I visit them seems to have no end.  Each and every encounter we have with these fish is a gift and I cherish each as such.  I am a blessed man.  As I made the asscent from the river basin I couldn't wait to get back and tell the girls of my outstanding afternoon.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Opportunity..noun...[op-er-too-ni-tee]... a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.

In life one has  choice...Seize the moment  and embrace the opportunity to live life to the fullest or ignore the wonderful gift and go on not knowing the grandeur of what could have been.  Today we embraced the gift and visited a Lake Huron Jewel.  It had been a while since the home waters had come into there own.  Recent times have converted these precious flows into high rising and quick falling systems.  There is no longer a fishable in between and the window is very tight.  The fish seem to have managed to adapt fine.  As a steelheader you have to seize the opportunity or roll the dice.
This time of the year can be hit or miss.  Some years have had  the rivers locked up in a frigid icy grip by now while others find the emerald gem flow open through to the season's end.  Even when the flows manage to keep open there is always the ever daunting risk of morning slush this time of the year.
The forecast was marginally mild in comparison to what we have dealt with in past December outings.  Arriving to the access site I had to question the thermometer.  It was apparent that the cold wind was definitely adding a windchill effect but still it bothered me just how much the cold was bothering me.
Arriving to the rivers edge she was exactly as predicted.  On the front end of being fishable.  Impeccable timing mid week typically equates to peace, serenity, and sore shoulders.  Today's outing was a-typical.  The fish were scattered throughout the system and nothing came easy.  The way it should be in my opinion.  Large numbers and fish in a barrel can be novel but more than not ruin a man.  The cold nights and runoff have put the fish in a pre-winter state of lethargy.  They fought hard but a few degree's warmer  would have had our asses  handed to us numerous times on this big water day. 
Big water brings inherent challenges.  The fish can scatter throughout the system and one needs to be persistent and approach the river with a plan.  Another challenge comes in the form of crossing.  One would think they know their own flows intimately but big water changes the game.  A multiplier to the dangers of crossing in December are the frigid temps.  Today I witnessed a near tragic situation get thwarted but not before humbling my peer and giving him a new found respect for our ages and   river conditions.  I gave up crossing the river without a staff a long time ago and can proudly say it has come to my aid many a time.
One over occurring theme of the day was the cold.  I has been a long time since I have had to contend with the cold on this level.  To be quite honest it was no where near the severity of typical winter outings but the effect early on was harsh.  It  was never an issue that couldn't be dealt with via a small hand warming break or walk in the bush but more a reminder of our ages and maybe we are getting softer.  The hike out to the car was certainly another indication.  Driving back we discussed the hike and weather or not we would consider it this winter under a foot of snow fall. 
The thoughts and sentiments were certainly leaning towards the softer side.  Are we at the beginning of the end...I highly doubt that but will our approach be more thought out and reasonable...I would think so but honestly who can say? 
So today we seized the opportunity...the gift of fishable high water in December and today we were rewarded for living.

Monday, December 05, 2011

December Rains...

Day 2

The rains starting falling late Friday night. Waking early Saturday morning I wasn’t much surprised to learn that it was still raining. It was forecast for the entire day. The cabin was still warm from the previous night’s fire and I was happy the wood stove's form met function. After feeding the dog and reinstating the fire we discussed the mornings options over a coffee. With Friday’s successes in our pockets there was no real urgency to hit the river. We landed on a leisurely start to the day that would start with some peppered bacon and eggs. The rains were showing no signs of reprieve so after a few hours of couch moping and WFN surfing we decided to make a break for the river.
There was a decent rain in the works accompanied by a moderate chill in the air but nothing the Goretex and proper under layering couldn’t handle. Considering the extent of the gloomy day we were quite content and dropped the drift boat in at the Tippy launch. I was eager to fish this section again after the week priors success with my daughter. By now we were pushing 11 am and  I had to chuckle at our overly late start. The idea in this section is to find and fish as much dark green water as you can located along the float down river. This typically occurs in the buckets located behind the gravel bars and ridges of the river along with the occasional trough and extended run. It wasn’t long when my float dipped and I set up on a fish only to feel the solid confirmation and textbook flash before the hook popped.
It was a terrible feeling as I wasn’t totally certain just how many opportunities we would come by having started this late in the morning. My feelings were validated as we only managed to pop a few fattie browns along the next hour and a half of drifting. This was all to change when we reached a deep water section just above Suicide. I was fairly confident we would find some luck here as I lifted a fish last Saturday with Taylor out of this section so we situated the Hyde properly to fish it hard. I was just about to give up on this run when I re-adjusted my depth and made another drift through. It was a good call on my part as the float jettisoned into the green abyss and I set up on a large hot dime.
The fish exploded and ran well down into the Suicide bend. I was in the rowing seat.  After Norland’s crash course in rowing I wasn’t prepared to turn over the oars LOL! With the anchor rope in one hand and the float rod in the other the chase was on. Norland was on the net and dialed in. It wasn’t enough just dealing with the hot fish but at times I had to correct the boat position and keep tabs on our proximity to shore and river obstructions. It must have been quite the act as we worked this fish to the net dropping and re-pulling the anchor. Finally I managed to get the chrome hen near the boat for a shot and in the blink of an eye Norland made an insane snatch and grab. It was impressive… If I had blinked my eyes I would have missed it. The fish was a strong prime specimen in the 7-8 lb range. She couldn’t have come at a better time as our damp spirits were beginning to lose confidence in the day.
After a healthy release we motored back up to the top of the  run and started our decent back down into suicide bend. After a well deserved break I decided to get back in the water. We were now a ¼ of the way into the bend and I was on my second or third drift when my float slammed down. Once again I was setting up on a fish but this time it was confirmed by an enormous leap from the depths followed by a sharp run and two more epic jumps. It was a giant double stripped buck and he was pissed off. Instantly my left arm reached for the anchor rope and I cleared it fast as the fish continued to break the surface and race down into the bend. The fish jumped a total of 7 times over the course of our battle.
Amazing for a fish setting up for a long winter. Once again the circus was in town and we fumbled our way down river in pursuit. At one moment I wanted to reach into my pocket and get the camera so I could take a picture of Gene. There he was…net in hand…one leg up on the gunnel in a focused stance ready to pounce with fury. The anticipation on his face was stellar and I knew then and there that we were going to land this fish and we indeed did just that. It was outstanding. Kind of emotional actually. My arms were aching and before me was a pristine example of the state of the West side fishery. Just a stellar double strip buck in full Winter dress. The fins were darkened to the full burgundy tint and tipped with a stark white tips. The Double stripes were vibrant and well pronounced. The checks were crimson armor plated. He was a handsome beast pushing 10lbs and proved his prowess in the water and air. It was an outstanding moment as we witnessed him jet back into the depths of suicide unscathed and no worse for wear. Our day certain had taken a turn for the better and we were now Amped. Back up river we motored and began to make the same drift. I positioned the boat just below where I hooked the buck and Gene made a few passes through some nice slower paced water. His thirds pass through I was focused on his float and it dropped quick. He set up to nothing.
We were certain that had to have been a fish and commented on the sentiments as he recast to the same line. We watched in utter anticipation as the float meandered down to the general local of it's last disappearance. Then it happened…it dropped and Gene set up on a long buck that breached the water instantly. It was a very good fish and once again the chase was on. We were now about half way down the bend and close to shore. We had some options. One was to risk my inferior netting abilities and play it out in the Hyde or row to shore and put the fish on the beach. As the battle ensued we chose option B and Gene leaped from the boat in the shallows. This still proved to be no simple task as Gene and I worked the fish down river abandoning the Hyde all together. We managed to swing him into a small cove where I scooped him up just for certainty.
It was an awesome fish. A long ruby red striped river warrior with a lime green hue. This fish was tough and his body bore the indications that he was a true river soldier. The beach landing afforded us the opportunity for a nice photo op and we took full advantage of it prior to the healthy release. We were now three stellar fish into a late start and stoked. The day took a drastic turn for the better and we couldn’t have wished for more from it. With an hour or so of fishable daylight left we reset the gear and made the row back out into the drift. Wanting to fish the back end of the bend we made our way down when my float dropped and once again we were into yet another hot fish. This time a smaller silver hen in the 5-6 lb class but nonetheless a workout.

At one time during this battle she was screaming downstream towards a large log protruding from the river. Her intentions were obvious and I had to clamp down on her and hope for the best when she turned and raced back up river toward the boat. The anchor was dropped and the boat was weaving in the current from shallow water to deeper water. We just happened to be over the shallow water when I decided to make my break for the shore. I jumped from the boat and worked the fish towards the shallow gravel bank. Norland was laughing his ass off and in hot pursuit. We managed to find success once again and put her on the beach. Here we were 4 fish into the day, water logged rats, and happier than hell. The boat was in the middle of the river and we were on the shore laughing about the entire episode. 
We marvelled at the  power of these fish and the fact that we had the river to ourselves. We made a few more attempts at the bottom end of the bend but it was apparent that we were losing daylight and had to make the slow motor back up to the launch. We arrived back to the cabin under darkness, off loaded out saturated gear and settled in for a hot meal and some cold Rolling Rocks. The discussions that evening mostly centered around how quickly our day turned around and just how enjoyable this miserable cold and rainy December day turned out to be. 
Today was testament that it truly isn't over until the fat lady sings and perseverance and confidence are the most valuable tools in ones wading jacket. These are the days that get eternally etched into our memories for these are the stories we will tell and relive for many years to come. They are the  days and experiences that money can’t buy... Days that should and will be cherished for the rest of our lives.