A semi-coherant collection of ramblings,misdealings, and Tom Foolery experienced in pursuit of Great Lakes Steelhead.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Back to the West Side
With Christmas nicely out of the way and some mutual time off my wife and I decided to slip over to the cabin for a pre-New Years escape. It had been about three weeks since I had last floated the big river and I was eager to see if things had changed for the better. My last visit proved to be a few days of frustration and head scratching. Friday morning came early and I was hesitant to leave the warmth of the bed. The fire had long died off and the cabin was somewhat cool. The appeal of the warm flannel sheets won hands down over the arduous task of donning multiple layers and heading out into the brisk morning cold.
By the time I got myself out of bed and my morning chores completed it was just shy of 10 am. I geared up and made my way to the river. The early morning winter fish at the cabin has pretty much lost all of its appeal to me these days. Late nights, bitter cold and age have consumed all of my ambitions of chasing first light opportunities on the West Side. It doesn't seem to matter as much over here as back home on the Huron flows and I don't mind it one bit. Arriving to the river I was shocked to see 6 other vehicles at the access. The water I wanted to fish was being worked by two other gentlemen and they reported little to no success for their early arrival efforts.
I dropped in and started to work my usual haunts. I worked very productive water from top to bottom with Waxies, Jigs, and Spawn to no avail. I dropped down river to my other $$ water and worked the middle of the river hard again to no avail. I then remembered the beads that were deep into my waist pack. I had just broken off so I retied a fresh tippet, slid on a washed Salmon egg bead and a new hook. I cast just proud of a sunken long running parallel to the bank and mended my offering into the current seam and watched it work it's way down into the run. At the end of the run my float dropped and I set up to a large fish.
The rod loaded up hard and the surface erupted with a large tail slap. My heart stopped for a second as I was certain it was a very big Brown. I stood my ground and after a few strong runs I began to work the fish back in my direction. The head shakes were violent and I knew this would be my largest Manistee Brown to date. I was eager to at least get a glimpse of this fish to confirm it's size. I was literally a foot or so from getting a look when the rod unloaded and the hook flew over my left shoulder. The fish was gone and my head slumped forward. It was a tough loss and I took it hard.
Anyone that knows this river will attest to the fact that she can be giving or she can be a stingy bitch. There are days that you certainly do not want to blow opportunities and this season she has pretty much fished that way every day I have been within her banks. I was disappointed but at the same time impressed. The first drift with a bead and I hooked up with a decent fish. I revisited the middle of the river with the bead and found no takers. After a while I lost faith in the token trinket and went back to my beloved single waxie and #10. I found a few trout and a shaker steelie but no real takers. I started to walk back up to the coffer and towards my exit when I thought about the bead and that big brown once again.
I figured I better fish my other $$ water with the trinket just to be certain. I now owed it to myself and this jewelry to take another run on the tough water. I walked past a few fishermen up to the base of the coffer and settled in. I picked my line and made my throw. I mended the slack and watched the 8 gram Drennan work its way no more than 10 feet along the seam before disappearing into the depths. Instinctively I reacted and the rod loaded up proud. There was no mistaking the infamous thumping and I knew instantly it was a nice fish. I had lots of room to do battle so I took my time and stood my ground. Before I knew it there was a brand new dime bright Manistee lady at my feet nicely hooked on the inside edge of her bottom jaw.
It was a very defining moment for me. It shattered any and all doubt I had on fishing beads. I do not understand it, I can't make sense of it, but I believe it and now have full confidence in them. Today on two first drifts in two different locations on a river fishing shy I hit large fish after previously flogging the water with other offerings. They work and they work well. I'm sold! I surrender! I'm in! No more doubts! First at home in Ontario and now here at my second home in MI LOL! It's a funny thing because I should know better. A few years ago it was the pink worm, then came the marabou jigs, last year was the waxie and now the beads. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. Even stubborn old alarmingly handsome dogs. :0.
This afternoon I stopped off at the local tackle shop. I left with the biggest and fattest Wax worms on the planet, large #8 bead hooks, and some fancy bead peggz...who would have thought?