OK… yes… I know this is “Adventures in Brown Lining” but when my warm water fav’s go away what’s an addicted fly fisherman to do? Yes, despite all of my bitching and griping I finally bit the bullet and made a trip up to Erie to give Steelheading a shot. And yes…. I admit it! IT WAS FUN! I was lucky enough to get some great info from a friend and avoided the majority of the crowds and for most of the day, had the river pretty much to myself! (YES… hard to believe, I know!)
So what lessons did a steelhead rookie learn today? Hmmm… let me see…
- Fishing in 35 degree weather is pretty darn cold no matter how many layers one wears
- Most people who fish for steelhead are pretty lazy and don’t walk more than 50 yards from the bridge they parked their car under
- Big trout have sharp teeth
- Putting one’s finger in big trout’s mouth not the brightest idea
- Blood does not clot well when you are freezing your ass off (see lesson number 3)
- Wading in unfamiliar murky water when you can’t feel your feet requires a bit of caution
- Buyer be ware…. this is highly addictive!
At the end of the day…. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Would I stand in a pool with 10 other guys fighting for drifts??? Negative. But a day like today? Any time!
Times are tough so I hear…. We are in a world wide economic recession. Most of us are working more hours for less pay than we are accustomed. Many of us are not working at all. Most of us are dealing with more stress, have less free time, and are even having less sex than we had 5 years ago. Amidst all of this what are we to do?
Well I surely don’t have any grand answers and if I did, I probably would not be doing what I do for a living or even living where I am living for that matter. But I do know one thing for sure…. .when life gets difficult I find great solace in the simple pleasures of life. What are those may you ask? You may…. and you are going to have to look in the mirror for your answers.
For me, they are something like this. Waking up on a rainy cold Sunday morning. I roll over and kiss my wife, pat my dog on the head and pull on the fishing clothes I had laid out the night before. I brush my teeth out of habit, but I am sure the fish really don’t care one way or another. My gear is already packed in the car. I have about a 45 minute drive to a local pond that holds some decent trout and with the weather turning cold and nasty, most of my warm water favs are a no go for a day like today. I jam to some good tunes on the way up and am smiling as I gear up in the parking lot. It is drizzling but the clouds are dark and imposing and I know I am in for a wet morning. It is 40 degrees and showing no signs of warming up.
I looked around and counted the other cars in the parking lot…. a grand total of 1…. I like this and smile. There is a mist rising off the cold water and the rain starts spit harder. The drops go from tiny to large making audible plunks as they hit the surface of the water and dance off the surface of my gore-tex jacket. I can hear my fly line rip through the crisp morning air. The water soaks my rag will gloves as the line strips through my fingers. My fly slowly fades out of my field of vision as it sinks in between strips.
Did it help that the fish were cooperative? Of course, I always enjoy it when my fishing efforts yield fish. But today was all about enjoying the little things in life. Me, outside, with a pond all to myself, in a cool fall rain. Yes my friends, Life is good.
I was going through my gear today and came upon the profound realization that I am a gear junkie…. as fly fisherman, I think most of us are. It is almost part of the fabric of the sport. I did a quick overview and I easily have a few thousand dollars invested in fishing gear and I know compared to some of you that is on the low side! So I asked myself the question…. would I enjoy the sport any less with a $150 beginners outfit and a small box of basic flies? Would a two piece rod and a click pawl reel rob me of any pleasure I derive from being on the water… hooking and fighting a fish? Do I really need 3 different pairs of Polarized glasses? Could I survive without a vest, chest pack, sling pack, and waist pack?
At the end of the day… I would love it no less… but I have to admit… I DO LOVE MY GEAR!
So where do you fall? Gear head? Purist? Minimalist?
So my buddy bob went up to Erie today to fish for some steelies. Needless to say, he had a a good day! He ended up hooking into roughly 8 fish and landed two. As a follow up to my previous post, I can honestly say that I had some pangs of jealousy as I was at work while he was on the stream! Even on a Monday, there was quite a crowd. After Bob fought and landed the fish below, he had to make his way back to the pool where he hooked the fish and wonder why some guy had conveniently jumped into his “spot”. At the end of the day, it is nothing short of combat fishing. I guess the truth of the matter is that if the fishing sucked there would be no crowd! So I ask you…. how much of a crowd would you fight for 10lbs of jumping, running, fighting, trout?
Boo! So today I snuck out for some late season action on the creek and was not disappointed. There is something about the change in season that I find near and dear to my heart. I stood out on the creek today and stopped and just looked around. The air was crisp and cool. The leaves were in their full fall glory. The water was had a chill to it but was not yet “uncomfortable”. There was not another fisherman in sight and I just took it all in and smiled.
I know that everyone and their mother are lining the shores of every major Erie trib right now fighting for their shot at chrome and I can’t say that I blame them…. If I had the weekend free, I might be up there too but those were not the cards I was dealt. Which brings me to an interesting question…. How does one weigh the quality of the fishing experience vs the quality of the quarry? In other words…. is it worth it to stand elbow to elbow with a few hundred hacks some dragging lures, bait, and everything in between through a stream for the chance too hook into a 10 plus pound trout? Now before you jump out of your recliner…. I am not saying it isn’t!
But there are moments that I wonder….. Do I want to share a pool or riffle with 8 other guys? Do I want to fight a fish through a crowd? Or do I just want to take my own little piece of solitude, crisp air, fall leaves, and fish that most other guys have no desire to chase and enjoy my own little corner of the world? Not sure I have a definitive answer, but it sure is fun to ponder.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!