Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The Plastic Monster let it's guard down late Monday afternoon and I seized the opportunity to slip through the cracks for a day on a lonely river with Norland.  The reports from the weekend were the inspiration behind the escape along with a need to laugh and share a drift with the useless one.  Morning came early and I found myself loading the gear into the truck destined for a rendezvous in the Grove. 
Shivering along the way I found myself wondering how the river would fish and how well my prized Norland Jigs would fare.  The drive up was typical and conversation hovered around the uselessness of mankind and our dislikes of modern society.  I'm certain Norland and I will be remembered as those two crusty old bastards in the balcony at the Muppet shows.
We arrived too early as per usual and took our time gearing up.  The morning air was still and surprisingly mild considering the slightly negative temps.  The river was lonely and stunning in the winter backdrop.  It had the makings of being one of those days except it just wasn't.  We fished her hard from top to bottom with everything in the kit and then all over again.  I managed to convince a sickly looking long and lean fish early on with a brown and orange special. 
It was nice to get the confirmation that the jig bite was indeed on and we still know a thing or two about this game but when redemption came a little while later in the form of violent stern head shakes I was to be reminded that we need to invest in double strong jig hooks.  After pounding every inch of that water with diligence and full confidence finally it happened. But it was short lived and I was quickly  handed back a smashed and bent jig. 
I won't lie...it stung a little... it was one of those days that you don't want to blow a fish.  My suspicions proved right as we failed to convince any others for the next two hours.  But that is fishing and that is what keeps us all coming back.  That is what fuels and rekindles the passion. 
As I type this report the rivers in the Great Lakes Basin are in a sickly state.  There is a dire need for a large snow or rain event to get things shaking.  There is a mild spell in the works and promise of some rain.  This combined with the snow base thaw may be enough to make things interesting.  Only time will tell...

I hope to fish over at the Cottage this weekend if the Plastic Monster finally gets tamed and starts up.  That mess can go either way :0/  Fingers crossed...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Beginnings

Gene and I got to be part of something pretty cool today...We both got to witness and take part in anothers downward spiral into the addictive obsession we refer to as Centerpin Steelheading.  Rob literally showed up to the bank this morning with a brand new Raven ensemble still doning the protective cork wrapping.  Having never fished or cast a centerpin reel before he was starting at ground zero.  I never had the privilege of someone giving me the centerpinning play by play and had to figure it out the hard way so I figured a 5 min verbal explanation of the physics behind the cast would cut the learning curve in half.

With some minor instruction and verbal encouragement he was set loose to his own devices.  In the mean time Norland found no issue in stirring up an early light adversary.  I turned from talking to Rob to see Gene working his way down stream in pursuit of a angry steelhead.  We managed to get the fish beached and the photo op taken care of only to see Rob mid stream tending to his first "Norland" ! 
Gene worked his way up to give him a hand and welcome him into his world of despair while I slipped into the run mid way.  Gene was quick to hand Rob his rig and tend to the entangled birds nest  so Rob could have a better crack at that first Float Rod Steelie.  After re-rigging his rod Gene gave him some more pointers on the finer aspects of floatfishing and instructed him to fish the lower section of the run where he had sniffed out his fish earlier.  We continued to work the run diligently to no avail until it happened. 
I looked down to the tail end of the run to see Rob fighting his first Centerpin Steelhead.  It was a cool moment for a couple of fish geeks like Norland and I.  After a fair and worthy battle the fish was tailed and the congratulations were doled out.  It was a great moment to watch someone take basic instruction, learn to cast,  and achieve validation.

 I failed to turn a fish today...Something I have yet to experience this season but it didn't phase me in the least.  I got to watch two fine gentlemen hook and land nice fish.  One his first on the pin and the other his vindication for the previous outing. I also got to spend another stellar fall morning on a fabled flow in solitude.  That's good living in my books.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Mid-Week Escape

As of late, making plastic has become somewhat of a burden on my old soul.  The outage at work is into it's 4th week.  The end is in sight but not without another week or two of commitment.  Since it's inception the days have turned shorter and the nights have grown colder.  Fish have entered the rivers in full force and the conditions have been somewhat favourable.  Autumn skies are starting to resemble winter and the mornings are bringing heavy frost.  Winter is nipping at our heels and I fear an early lockup for the Huron Tribs is looming on the horizon.  Perhaps as penance for last years reprieve.  The lessons of days gone by have proved these November opportunities cannot be taken for granted.
With vacation time burning a hole in my pocket and an eager fishing partner yammering in my ear it was only certain we should find ourselves travelling North in the wee hours of this mid-week November morning.  The homework was done and the destination well known.  The rest was left up to our adversaries.  The rewards proved plentiful and the gift of solitude was once again enjoyed.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Aging Steelheader Productions

O.K. first off none of what you are about to witness ever happened.  Well the Lake Run Brown did but the other episode is total fabrication.  I'm still bitter about that one... ;0)
As it turns out Old Man Maxfield is somewhat of a Techno Geek.  It amazes me actually but there are stranger things in this world that I don't dare question so I just go with it.  It has become a growing passion for him and I will give props where props are due...good for him!  It takes a conscious effort to capture, edit and put these things out there and they are quite enjoyable...even if the subject matter contains people of questionable character.  Namely me!  Anyways Red gets full credit for these bad boys.  Visit his blog "Just an Aging Steelheader" at www.steeliemax.blogspot.com  He doesn't know anything about grammer or spelling but he sure is learning how to edit some cool video.  LOL!  Thanks Red!

Lake Run Goodness


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Lake Run Goodness Part II

Today we stuck to the game plan and floated the typical November water out of Rainbow.  Red was nice enough to captain today and give me the casting platform at the bow.  The morning was your typical overcast late fall day with hints of winter in the air.  The river traffic wasn't too bad but it was Monday morning and the Rut is in full swing.  We were cautiously optimistic as we started our way down the float from the ramp. 
We fished our first spot hard and were pulling anchor when my float dropped long into the drift and I was hooked up.  The fight was a-typical of a hot November Steelhead and I was once again thinking a Coho when the flash of gold adorned in leopard spots told the tale...Lake Run Brown.  Last fall Red and I were lucky enough to boat a beauty.  Red caught that one but this time it was my turn. 
Although it was not a monster it was a beautiful specimen and my first Lake Michigan Lake Run Brown.  It was a great way to start the morning and set the pace for a nice float. 
We worked all of our usual haunts hard and were drawing blanks until late in the float a nice shaker found my offering only to be long distance released after a few acrobatic jumps.  We crossed the river to the next pileup of logs and worked it from the top down.  After about 4 drifts through my float was long into the bottom end of the run when it dropped again and I set up to a hard and deep thumping.  There was no mistaking this fish was large and proved it when it jumped from the river.  We had to pull anchor and give chase. 
The first log jam hazard was eliminated and the beast was still running for the cover of the next.  It was looking like we had things under control when the rod went dead and the line limp.  I have to say it kinda stung a little.  It was one of those fish...you know...the ones that will haunt you for a while.  I worked very hard for that opportunity and with all of the odds against me it was looking like we were going to pull it off when the rug was pulled out from under us. 
LOL!  I shook it off and carried on but not without thinking of that fish and the episode every so often.  We failed to find any more players until our way back when we stopped at a run that should have given up a fish earlier.  Red quickly hooked into a small shaker Steelhead on the first drift through and I a football sized Rainbow.  Not the giant Steelhead we had hoped to end the day but we at least we put a nice bend in the rods on the way back. 
It was not a banner November outing but certainly was another great day on the water in the Hyde.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sunday Float

With a tight and demanding schedule at work I decided to take advantage of my Sunday off and a vacation day to slide over to the cabin with Old Man Maxfield. We deviated from the logical plan of attach for an early November outing and floated the upper water. Found a few smaller players but nothing crazy. The water was magical and it was great to be back on the river over here. Tomorrow we fish the lower...

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Mark Pendlington

Back before Satellite TV and the Internet one would get their "fishin Jones" fix via magazines or cable TV.  A lazy Saturday afternoon not spent on the rivers would find me on the couch surfing for some form of fishing porn.  The shows were typically all the same.  Bass guys, Pike guys, Walleye guys and the Trolling Salmon guys.  Occassionaly there would be a glimpse into steelheading via the Canadian Sportfishing guys or Bob but for the most part there was nothing sufficient to fill the void.  It was not until a show called Sport Fishing BC came on the air that the adventures in the pursuit of Anadramous Species became properly portrayed .  In the early days Mark Pendlington represented!!!  Oh some of the places he fished were awe inspiring and left one longing to visit the West Coast or at least your local trib.  That is what a fishing show should do.  It should inspire...
 In recent times Mark seems to have strayed from his roots and taken to chasing Rainbows on the moutain lakes or some coastal boat fishing adventures but I ran across this gem on Vimeo today that gave me some hope that he will be getting back to his roots.  Fingers crossed. 

Maribou Jigs for Steelhead from Mark Pendlington on Vimeo.

Looks like Mark has another show in the works  check it out... http://www.westcoastsportingjournal.com/
Why am I not doing this for a living?  Norland...I'm starting to look for a used Helicopter!

Friday, November 02, 2012


Can't let this gem rot away in the vault...
October Chrome...unrivaled.

Norlands Chrome from Brian M on Vimeo.