Well the fishing opportunities have been far and few between. This certainly is proving to be a challenging year. First the rains kept us at bay for most of November and December proved to have it's own challenges with an early cold spell and lockup. I was looking forward to my Christmas holidays and an opportunity to hit the big river over at the cabin. Finally the time came and we hit the Interstate for the marginal 3.5 hr drive over to the West Side of the state. Fishing on the Big Manistee has been challenging this year with the above average water flows and the up and down weather patterns. The beads have been money for me but it can be far too easy to stray from the grass roots and what we know. Last year it was all about the wax worm and I couldn't buy a fish on a marabou jig. The year prior the jigs were on fire. Earlier on in the fall I had some good luck on the standard olive marabou so upon arrival to the cottage I decided to whip a few up for Friday's outing. Well Friday morning came and along with it 2 plus hours of shovelling. A snow blower is now on the "must have" list of cabin related items. Finally I arrived to the river shortly after 1pm. There was a boat in the middle of the drift and almost entirely blocking any fishing opportunities in my favoured section. I opted to fish above them with short drifts and wait them out. They seemed preoccupied with smoking their pot and drinking beer than trying to properly present an offering. I was certain my patience would pay off and equally certain the fish in this section were untouched. Well not more than 15 mins later they pulled anchor and as their boat started to drift down with the current. At the same time my rod loaded up nicely with the first steelhead of the day. I didn't stay more than two hours but the Marabou hooked four fish. Two Steelies, one of which exceeded 10lbs, a giant resident brown pushing 3lbs, and a surprise river Walleye.
Nothing like success on your own hand tied offerings. Just goes to prove versatility is the key to success and one should always have options. Keep true to your conviction and pound that water. Odds are if your gut tells you there are fish there then there most likely are. You just gotta put what they want in front of them with confidence.