Thursday, January 6, 2022

Was it Worth Enduring?

 

Was it Worth Enduring?

1/04/2022


 The truck thermometer read 12° at 5:30am when I pulled out of my driveway. If it wasn’t that the plan was to pick up Kevin and go steelhead fishing in Erie, I would have called it a ‘no go’ and headed back to bed. By the time I picked up Kevin it read 15°. When we pulled in and parked the temperature was hovering around 20°. We’re we a little crazy? Well, there was already 3 other vehicles parked when I pulled in.

  We took our time getting our waders on. We greased our leader, rod eyes and a section or fly line with lip balm to keep them from freezing too quickly. After tying on our first offering we sat in the truck for a bit to warm our hands and feet before the journey into the freezing temps to the crick.

  We walked upon the frozen path and then through the snow covered forest to the water. There was already anglers fishing the prime spots as Kevin told me. Being that I never fished this section, at least the way we entered it, I wasn’t familiar with the lay out. One fly fisherman stood on the stony shore with his hands in his pockets and hood on. He mentioned there were fish in front of him but it wasn’t easy to get a good drift do to the slush flowing down with the current. Kevin and I fished for about 15 minutes around the fellow before Kevin went upstream.

  The water before us had a good flow for drifting our offering. Kind of on the shallow side, maybe 3 feet or so. Still in the shade of much sunlight the water appeared to have a blemish in color. Small sheets of ice drifted upon the surface looking like thin sheets of broken glass. It was a challenge trying to get my offering down below the surface and drifting below without getting caught on the ice.

  Maybe after another 20 minutes Kevin headed downstream. I continued to fishing upstream from the one angler pin pointing my casts near the far bank just shy of the extending ice shelf without any takes. After a couple of other anglers met up with the one near me they fished a short bit then headed downstream. Now I had the whole section to myself and hooking up with steelhead began!!

  After a few more casts with streamers I decided to knot on a couple of sucker spawn. My fingers weren’t as nimble with the freezing temps but I managed to get them tied on.

The first steelhead I caught was a good size male that I could tell. I felt and watched him shaking his head trying to get the hook loose while his body squirmed in snake like fashion. Upon reeling him towards me ice built up so much on the fly line that it bulged to the top eye and I couldn’t reel in any more. It caught me by surprise. While I finally came to the conclusion was to back up and kind of force him into and onto the frozen ice, the steelhead was able to come loose. It didn’t take long into fair hooking another steelhead that it too managed to get free before I landed it. I unintentionally snagged 2 fish before finally landing one. 

 When I took the picture with my phone I noticed I had a text from Kevin. He said he had fish in front of him and no one else was around. I texted him back, told him I was catching fish and I wasn’t moving.

  When the sun finally shown down upon me and the water it felt a little warmer. This could of what got the steelhead a little more active and I was hooking up enough not to think about my cold hands and cold feet. The fly line and rod eyes weren’t freezing up as often though sheets of ice still floated downstream on occasion. When water did freeze on the fly line it was like trying to cast a stiffened rope.



 I decided to drift a streamer below a weighted sucker spawn. On the first drift through the line took off putting a good bend in the top two rod sections. When I saw the head of the steelhead break the surface water and aggressively shake its head like a miniature poodle swinging its stuffed toy trying to rip the stuffing out, I new I had a good hook up on it.She put on a good heavy fight not wanting to give up. I took my time and eventually got it to the surface ice.

 I was reeling in one more steelhead on a pink sucker spawn when Kevin came up to join me.

  

 I pointed out, to Kevin, where the fish were holding with the tip of my rod.

  He knotted on a couple of sucker spawns and we began to double team the steelhead. It didn’t seem the freezing water effected the long battles before getting the fish landed. Though none actually leaped out of the water there aggressive head shakes and weighty runs made for an enjoyable worthwhile fishing experience. 

  

 Though we did unintentionally snag a few trout we did manage to fool enough to fair hook them in the mouth.

 


  I was changing colors of spawn and streamers like showing a panel of judges which ones looked more enticing. Eventually I got a few curios steelhead to commit to my offerings.


 

  Though it never warmed up much we managed to stick it out till around 3:30 before calling it quits and head to the truck. On the way out snow clumped up onto our soaked felt soled wading boots. It was as if we were walking in platform shoes on our feet. Combine that with ice cold numb feet it was kind of awkward to say the least.

Back at the parking area we were the only truck left. We got our wading gear off, took time to get a bite to eat, and headed home.

Was it worth enduring the freezing weather and conditions? 


 

~doubletaper
 

 

 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Winter Solstice Steelhead

 

Winter Solstice Steelhead

2021

  

 It was 18° when I left home at 5am Tuesday morning. I picked up Kevin at the truck stop and we headed to Erie for some Winter Solstice steelhead. When we arrived at the tributary it was 34°.

  It was a brisk clear sky morning and as we stepped out of the truck the cold touched my face like a nearly-frozen leather glove. I already had my Eddie Bauer fishing jacket filled with the days offerings and cigars, so all I had to do is put my waders on and grab my 7 weight fly rod. Kevin got his stuff together and we headed to the crick.

  Walking along the path to the crick the frozen mud beneath our wading boots crackled like cheap kids building blocks when being stepped on. We followed the path and weaved our way through the woods in sparse daylight towards the crick. The water flowed at a decent level and as clear as a city square fountain. It was much lower than last time I was up so it would be hard to tell how spooky the steelhead would be. We saw a few holding in deeper pools as we walked the path along the crick and tried for them briefly on our way to where I wanted to make a stand and fish. There were a couple of other anglers along the way trying their luck. I stopped briefly to fish the first pool of fish I saw without a strike while Kevin continued on upstream. When I came to the conclusion the fish weren’t that excited to eat I continued upstream also. I passed Keven fishing another pool of steelhead. I continued along the path, crossed the crick a couple of times, till I got to the point I wanted to fish.

  I saw a deep dark pool of water beneath a tail out riffle and a few other steelhead scattered about. Across crick, every once in a while, one would break surface water like kids playing underwater tag.

  My first hookup wasn’t big by any means but it felt good and encouraging getting the first one landed so early in the morning. It was a fresh steel, that took a sucker spawn, that gave me a good frisky battle before landing it. Its sides shimmered in the morning daylight like the chrome bumper on my Dodge ram.


 

 I lost another before Kevin showed up. He said he landed one and lost one downstream.

  The second and third one I landed was keeping me from not thinking about how cold my hands and body were while I battled the fish. The third steel was a nice fat one that took one of my Triple Threat streamers. I felt a nudge when I was stripping it in and quickly jerked and angled the rod for the hook set. It took off like a swarm of bees were chasing it. It rose out of the surface water, head shaking, as if each time it got stung by a bee. The steelhead weren’t in any hurry to be landed as they fought eagerly to try and get unhooked. When they came near the shallow water they darted off from those nasty bees that returned to guard their hive.


 

 When I wasn’t battling a steelhead it was like the cold feeling came back to my senses. I could feel my aching knuckles in my arthritic fingers. My feet were cold, as well as my shins, as the cold flowing water surrounded them like a cold compress around a swollen injury. Even when I didn’t have a cigar in my mouth the warm moisture of my breath was evident by the small misty cloud that appeared with each exhale.

  Just afternoon I hooked into my lengthiest steelhead. I was drifting tandem sucker spawn when my indicator just stopped. I reared back, as if to unsnag the hooks, when the line tightened, the indicator skipped along the water briefly and popped up out of the water and then took off like a super ball after the first bounce. Out further the lengthy steelhead porpoised like a dolphin and slammed back onto the water surface like a thick fallen limb off a half dead tree spraying water in all directions. He took off up crick and porpoised once more with frantic head shakes that continued after falling back onto and under the water.

  I had the butt of the 7 weight in my gut while fighting the fish. I could feel every arm muscle tensing though my cold fingers didn’t seem to have much feeling but tightly gripped the cork handle. The rod arced deep and quivered as the steelhead swam and fought intently during our engagement. Every time I got him close to the shallows he took off like he didn’t want to deal with those imaginary swarm of bees. I kept pressure on him from the side and after a good long battle I was able to get him along the shallow bank-side rocks.

 

 Kevin and I hooked up now and then during the afternoon. Some were foul hooked that couldn’t be helped. It was most easily told by the way the fish took off and the distance as they sped upstream before our offerings came undone and whipped through the air like they got shot out of a slingshot. Sometimes the flinging offerings would end up in a hanging tree branch like one did with Kevin. Trying to get it loosened he ended up breaking the rod tip but continued on fishing the rest of the day. 

 

 When the sun finally rose above the tree line it warmed up a bit. I was able to flex my fingers a bit more and had more feeling. The water didn’t warm up any. It felt as cold as it did in the morning. The steelhead never did come to a feeding frenzy. In the afternoon I kept changing colors of sucker spawn and that usually got one to strike. Maybe not always in the mouth but close enough it may have been trying to get it out of its teeth before I yanked for a hook set. 

 

  The last steelhead I caught was a fatty. It gave me a run for my money also. I’m not sure what these fish been eating but they sure were healthy and spunky once caught.



  We called it quits and start heading to the truck around 3:30pm. I couldn’t wait to get back to the truck to thaw out. I felt chilled from the outside to my insides. If Frosty the Snowman had feelings of hot and cold I figured I felt just like him! At the truck we ate a sandwich and a few snacks after putting away our gear. I had the truck warming up as we ate. On the way back I could feel the warmth return to the outside of my body and I started to feel the bunion on my right big toe start to hurt while thawing out. I lit up a stogie when we got to the interstate and headed to the truck stop to drop off Kevin.

  From Barkeyville I headed east towards home. It was a long day as I pulled in the drive in darkness. I couldn’t wait to get something to eat and I had a bottle of wine I was dying to open. It was a bottle of home made wine that a friend of his friend gave him. I wasn’t sure what it was going to taste like but it was suppose to be a dry white wine. Written on the bottle was ‘Thomson Seedless’. It was in a yellowish bottle and it was corked. After letting it breath, in a wine glass, I took a sip and it was delicious!! I munched on some left overs while looking at the pictures of the steelhead I caught! After finishing off almost 3/4 of the bottle of wine my insides still weren’t warm. I turned on the electric blanket, changed into bedclothes, and as they say ‘that’s all she wrote!!


~doubletaper

 


 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Founders

 

Founders

11/17/2021

  

 After fishing for a week in Lake Ontario’s tributaries for brown trout I made a quick decision to fish for steelhead in the Erie tribs. There was going to be a break in the cold weather Wednesday up to 60*. I tied some sucker spawn Tuesday to fill the fly box that was vacated by lost flies in NY. I had everything I needed by the front door ready to put in the truck Wednesday morning. Waking up around 4:30am wasn’t a problem. Kind of got to be a habit from the past NY trip.

  I parked and was putting on my gear when an SUV pulled up and someone called out. A friend, Deetz, happen to be gong to fish the same area. He got his gear on and we headed to the water to find ourselves some steelhead.

  We fished a few holes on our way upstream. We couldn’t spot any steelhead in the light stained water but we did fish a couple of the deeper holes and runs without a strike. When we got to where I fished the Sunday before I headed to NY for browns we stopped and took a stand. It was a long deep stretch with wavy current as the water entered and flowed to a calmer tail out. There was one angler on our side fishing the head of the run and two guys across the crick. There was plenty of room for all of us. There were plenty of leaves to deal with as they drifted down the crick in bunches at times. It was quite challenging getting our offerings down to the fish without a leaf getting caught up on the fly, line or leader.

  Deetz hooked up first on an egg sack he ties, with a spunky steelhead just before 9am. It fought well and I was glad to see him get to tire it out and land it. 


 

  There’s a difference between hooking and playing fresh water brown trout and steelhead that runs the tributaries from the lakes. Heavy browns bully their way usually deep with head shakes and heavy tugs. If they do rise just under the surface they may alligator roll wrapping the leader around them like a roped calf at the rodeo. This sometimes causes an unorthodox fight that also may cause breakage and a loss fish. In my opinion it takes longer to tire out a brown than a steelhead most of the time.

  Fresh heavy steelhead are like a wild and energetic horse of a fish. They’re speedy and can make a 10 yard dash, if there’s room, in a fraction of a second. They’ll turn quickly underwater like a quarter horse barrel racing. The more anxious and determined ones will shoot upward out of the surface water at a moments notice and show off their aerobatic skills twisting and sometimes somersaulting trying to unleash themselves before reentering the water. You better have the drag set on the lighter side on the take or you’ll lose the fish on their first sprint.

  A little after 11 he hooked up again. This time the bigger steelhead gave him a lasting battle. It was fun watching him calmly playing the frisky steelhead to the bank.


 

 Just after he landed that and got pictures I got my first good strike of the morning. Right off I knew I had something big and was going to take a while to get the fish in.

  She took off, after I set the hook, like a race horse out of the gate. She raced across crick leaving a wake behind. She stopped short of the guy across crick and spun leaving a whirlpool of leaves on the surface. My 7 weight 9’ fly rod was arced well near the butt section and the line was as tight as the horse hair fiddlesticks used on a violin. The steelhead headed upstream so quickly I had to keep the rod high in the air to cut down on the line drag across the surface water she left behind. I felt a jolting tug into my grip just before she turned and raced downstream. I had the butt in my gut holding the cork grip with two hands waiting for her to settle down some before adjusting the drag a little tighter. Out in front of me a ways, just below the surface, she started tugging and yanking on the line as if I was some kind of a mule. The bowed rod tip section bounced and rebounded excessively with the jolting force. It felt like I was holding onto a pole with a kid bungee jumper on the other end. This is when Deetz and I were able to see how big the gal really was.

  She turned downstream after her surface antics and swam without the speed and force as before. I slowly waded downstream with her trying to keep side pressure on her to help exert more of her energy. Deetz moved downstream to help me out as neither of us had a net. Slowly but surely I got her near us but each time she had energy enough to pull away and weighty enough I couldn’t stop her from taking more line. For a while it was a give and take battle. She’d give in and come my way but near me she would dart away and take the battle out further.

  There was a shallow riffle down crick I figured I could land her safely so I asked Deetz to stand out from the bank and maybe I can land her on the shallow rock bed between him and the bank. I started to wade and guide the fish towards him. I felt the steelhead shaking the line the whole time but I also saw she was coming nearer to me once I got on the other side of the tree limbs that hung above. Deetz must have noticed she was getting closer to the bank also and came up to give me a hand. The water was still a foot or so deep along the bank so I coaxed her into shallower water where we were able to land her without much squirming and kicking like a wild child having a temper tantrum.

 She was a bigg’n. 

 

 Around noon, I would say, the sun was out and the heat was on. It wasn’t long after that Deetz fished his way down creek and then was heading to his vehicle. I stuck around and caught a few more steelhead on sucker spawn.


 

One was another fatty that gave me a good fight.


 

  Another steelhead showed me, and the other guys that stuck around also, some of her aerobatic skills. She shot up out of the water a couple times twisting and turning in mid-air. Her chrome sides glimmered like sterling silver conchos on a bridle before falling back into the water. 


 

  For some reason the water began to rise and more leaves drifted down. It was getting frustrating trying to avoid the leaves to get my offering down to the fish. I decided it wasn’t worth the aggravation and headed out.

  At the truck, since it was only around 3:00, I opened a bottle of Founders Porter, got dressed in street clothes and ate a sandwich.

  I called Deetz and told him I caught a few more and told him about the rise in water level. The only thing we could come up with was snow melt from the warmer weather. I told him I noticed on the way up, on I79, there was snow on the ground around the Saegertown and Edinboro exits.

  After sending him the pictures of his catch I grabbed a Brick House Maduro, lit it and headed for home.

Well, by days end we found some steelhead! I guess you can call us ‘founders!’


 

~doubletaper

 

 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

New York Browns

 

New York Browns

11/13/2021


(No, the Browns aren’t moving to NY)

 It’s been a slow week catching brown trout in the tributaries of Lake Ontario. What I’ve heard us three weren’t the only ones and those who fished the other tributaries hadn’t had many hook ups either. This was our last day before heading home so I had one more chance of having a better day than the past 5 days. I did catch one nice fat brown Friday morning and I thought it was going to be a better day then but it turned out not so.


 

 We arrived at the creek before daylight like we have been all week. Waking up at 4 – 4:30am each morning and fishing all day takes a toll on the body but we were still ready for some fishing. It’s not that we think the fish are all of a sudden going to feed at daybreak as if some hunger strikes them at that time but the real reason is to get a spot to fish before other anglers show up. Being it was a Saturday we expected more anglers than during the week.

  This morning it was a bit colder and raining. Besides that it was a little more windy also. I had left my gloves at the cottage which wasn’t a good thing to do. It didn’t take long for my wet fingers to get so cold during the morning that made it tough to change and tie on another sucker spawn. I could squeeze the spawn between my finger and thumb but I really couldn’t feel it. Getting the tippet through the hook eye wasn’t the problem as much as trying to get the tag end through the loops when I tried tying an improved clinch knot. In other words, even though I wasn’t hooking up, I wasn’t changing patterns that often. I like using my tied sucker spawn cause when A fish mouths it the fibers get caught in their small teeth. They have a hard time shaking the spawn loose which gives me a little more time to feel the bite and set the hook. I’ve actually watched this happen on occasion.

  Bob, Gene and I got to our spots just before sunrise, though the sun was nowhere in sight. I noticed there was already a few anglers down across from Bob and Gene when it was light enough to see down their way. No one was across from me for sometime.

  During the past 5 days it was mostly like that. Anglers would drop down off the bank across from me and not fish it any longer than an hour or so I’d say. A few would hook up on occasion with a brown trout or a King but most of the time no one was hooking up and was snagging the creek bed most of the time.

  Around 8:30am I finally got my first hook up. I could tell it wasn’t a big fish but it was a brown. When I hooked up I whistled down creek until Bob heard me and looked my way. He brought the net up and we netted the smaller brown trout pretty easily. It wasn’t big at all but I wanted to get a picture with it anyway being I didn’t know how the day was going to go. Through the days past it seamed we were hooking up to less fish each day.


 

  Well seconds turned to minutes and minutes turned to hours without any hook ups as the morning turned into afternoon. I think Bob may have hooked up a couple of times and so might have Gene. I was concentrating more on my fishing then watching what was going on downstream. The guys across from Bob were having a beach party drinking and carrying on like a group of guys on a sports team. Every once in a while one would wade out and fish but wasn’t out too long before joining his buddies again.

  Around noon the sun finally poked itself out between the gray clouds and warmed the day up a bit. My fingers had a little more feeling in them though it felt like I was gripping sand paper over the cork handle cause my hands were so dry. I did have a couple of quick hits but the hook popped off as quick as the second sneeze. Since we weren’t catching anything for some time after that we decided to go down creek a bit and try another spot.

  The row of people that were fishing that area earlier in the morning had vacated and evidently went elsewhere. Except for a few stragglers on the other side of the creek we had the water to ourselves. We weren’t doing much better with hook ups and we took turns sitting along the bank enjoying some relaxation and the little warmth from the sun. Gene finally spoke up and was going up to fish the area I’ve been fishing the past 5 days. That ended up being the best idea he had all week. (Sorry Gene)

  Gene headed up that way by himself while Bob and I stuck around where we were at. By the time we caught up with Gene he had said he caught one brown trout and landed it himself. We’ve been teasing each other all week so I still don’t know if he really did catch a brown or not before we arrived but I wasn’t doubting his word. Bob waded out up above Gene and didn’t take too long to hook up with a brown also. Bob noticed that most of the brown trout we were catching and being caught were females. He commented because of the shiny types of flies we were using and of course females loves beads which Bob and Gene were also using. ‘Good point’ I thought!

  During the week I saw a few anglers stop across creek from me and caught a few browns or kings on occasion. I decided to cross the creek and fish from the other side. As they say “the grass always looks greener on the other side”. The water was flowing with good current in some areas but nothing too strong as I crossed the creek. Where I did cross the water never came up to my waist so I felt safe. I got myself situated and started fishing across from Gene but there was plenty of water between us that we didn’t hamper each other in our casts. I think Bob hooked up one more time before it was my turn.

  Most of the time I was casting just out in front of me 15 feet or so and letting my sucker spawn drift with the current. Every once in awhile I noticed an old king salmon swim by right in front of me. Every once in a while one would splash water up from me before an uprooted stump and also there were splashes down creek from me just out from a downed tree trunk that laid just out from the bank. It was getting near 3pm by then and I was getting desperate. So desperate I started drifting my offerings where I figured the kings were hanging out or moving through. I wanted to battle a fish and I didn’t care at the time what it was. I’d cast upstream and let the imitation sucker spawn drift in front of me and down creek a bit. At times I would pull up on the indicator, after it drifted down from me, and let my offering flow with the slower current just out from the down tree trunk. On one occasion, down creek out from the down trunk, my line started to move towards the middle of the creek. I tugged a little harder to make sure I had a good hook set and the fish surfaced briefly in the middle of the creek just downstream from me. I was able to see it looked like a brown trout before it went deep. I called out “fish on” to let Bob know I had a hook up. He waded out from upstream, grabbed the net, and walked along the path along the bank downstream. I was on the opposite bank without a net so I knew I’d have to either cross the creek or Bob would have to. The bank on the other side wasn’t as steep so my intentions were to cross the creek. While all this thinking was going on I was fighting this brown trout which more than not battled with me in the middle of the creek, rising at times and tail splashing water. Bob was on his way across the creek towards my side. Since the trout was fighting me in the middle of the creek I told Bob let’s see if you can net him within the middle of the creek. I angled and maneuvered the fly rod as to force the trout towards Bob who stood in the middle of the creek. I figured the brown trout had no idea what we were up too and didn’t realize Bob was where he was. When the trout was just upstream from Bob I let some looser line slip through the guides and the trout swam right into the waiting net. We both headed to Bobs side of the creek so I could get a good look at my catch and get a picture with her. 


 

 Well, that one made me feel much better. I lit up my last cigar for the day in celebration. I crossed the creek again and fished across from Gene once more in the same fashion as before. I happen to look at my watch and it was around 3pm. We had maybe another hour or so of fishing before taking the long trek back up to the truck and heading back too the cottage.

  It wasn’t long after I hooked up again. In the same manner. My fly line moved towards the middle on the creek. I again wristed a heavier hook set and this time the fish got really pissed and shot towards the far bank, down from Gene, Under a hanging tree branch. I angled the rod near the surface water trying to keep from getting caught up in the low overhanging branches. Under the tree the fish rose just below the surface and audibly splashed water everywhere. Feeling the weight and strain in the arced rod I figured it was probably a king salmon. I figured I’d play it out and hoped my sucker spawn comes out cause I really wanted my fly back. The fish raced towards my side of the bank towards where I hooked it. I took in line hurriedly back onto the large arbor reel but not fast enough to keep a tighter line. I thought I lost it but when I caught up with the slack in the line the rod tip bowed again and the fish was still hooked in front of me somewhere. I couldn’t see through the dark water but it stayed deep. Feeling the tension again it turned downstream and took off just out from the bank. Line shot through the guides and the spool spun as fast as a loose spool of tying thread on a wooden floor. I took a few steps out towards the middle of the stream trying to keep the fish from going under the trunks and debris along the bank. There just so happen to be an angler along the bank fishing. The fish splashed just in front of him and continued down creek like a fleeing wounded ringneck. I asked the guy if it looked like a king salmon knowing he had a good look at it. He said it definitely wasn’t a king. Immediately I figured it just had to be a big ole brown. Maybe halfway between me and the beach front anglers down creek the fish decided to test my fishing ability and started to aggravate me with head shaking and underwater shenanigans. I wasn’t fallen for it and kept my wits not forcing the issue. I started wading the creek down stream heading towards the other bank so Bob wouldn’t have to cross the creek should I get to tame the fish. About when I got into the middle of the creek the fish turned and raced downstream once again like a base runner getting the sign for a hit and run. I had the rod arced and more line peeled off the reel. I felt like Brad Pitt in the movie ‘A River Runs Through It’ as I kept wading downstream with my hooked fish though the water never did reach over my chest waders. When I got near the other side of the creek there was an overhanging bush and other branched debris along the bank which wasn’t a place to land him. While the fish was putting on a show in the middle of the water for the guys across the creek I looked downstream to where I might have Bob room to net it. That’s when I noticed a guy fishing just on the other side of the outward bush. I called out “fish on” and he flipped his line out of the water just in time as my fish decided to swim towards him as if the fish thought he was giving out free doggy treats. The brown trout turned downstream and maybe not as quick as earlier. I waded myself around the bush into slower current. Bob was already down from me with the net on the bank. The fish shot out and kind of held up with a few head shakes. It felt like I had a hooked log with enough twigs attached to sway with the undercurrent. By now I could feel the strain in my extensor muscle and extensor tendon in my forearm from fighting the fish. Bob mentioned I couldn’t let the fish swim down much further as the water shallows over a rocky bed just down creek. After Bob stepped into the water I told him to move a little further down and I’ll try to get the fish in front of him like I had before. With the rod butt in my gut for leverage I pulled back on the rod. My two handed grip around the cork handle was as tight as holding a thin handled bat waiting for a fast ball. The fish slowly and reluctantly came towards us with a couple more light head shakes. From all the fighting we had done I could tell the fish was tiring out. Slowly but surely he entered the slower current out from Bob and I backed up as close to the bank a possible with the rod angled high in the air. The front, of the 8 weight, rod section was arced into the butt section pretty much. Since the fish was slowly getting closer to Bob I didn’t have any reason to put any more pressure or undo stress on the rod. Bob was behind the fish as we had done before and as I raised the rod the fish rose to the surface. Bob scooped her up like he’s been doing it all his life. He held onto the net with both hands as the weighty fish swatted and wriggled in the webbing. He got it near the bank and I waded over to finally get a good look at my catch that I battled for what seamed like an hour.

  She was a big brute of a brown trout. The biggest I figured I caught all week.

 


 I looked at my watch and it was 3:35pm. I told Bob that if I was back home trout fishing and caught a trout I thought was one of the biggest in the creek I’d call it a day and head back to my camper. We still had another hour or so, so we headed back upstream and continued fishing till around 4:30.

  We headed back to the cottage and finally got to sleep in before cleaning up, packing and heading to Erie Sunday morning.

 

~doubletaper

 

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Oak Brown Buck

 

The Oak Brown Buck

11/10/2021


 

 It was early Wednesday morning and we were fishing Oak Orchard Creek. We got our spot along the creek just before daybreak. Bob was down to his usual spot and Gene was downstream from him about 30 yards or so. I was upstream from both of them about 100 yard or more. We have been fishing for the brown trout that follow the King Salmon in to eat the eggs as I’m told. Some years I’ve been told when the browns come in you can hook up with them pretty often. Since Monday this hasn’t been the case. Though we could see the King Salmon in the water not that many browns have been following them or they just aren’t eating what us anglers have to offer. There hasn’t been much catching the past few days. Bob had hooked now and then sporadically and Gene not as many. But when they did hook up the browns were impressive.

 One of Gene’s browns


 One of Bob's browns


 

  I myself would hook up occasionally but wasn’t able to get them in the net for some reason or another.

  It didn’t appear to me that the fish were moving up creek. The fishermen and woman along the creek down and upstream weren’t hooking up very often either. I figured that the fish were just holding in one area so I decided to try and find them by working my way downstream towards Bob. I slowly fished, while casting sucker spawn, wading downstream.

  My indicator went under about 2 rod lengths out in front of me. I made a quick upward wrist hook set and the line started to move outward toward the middle of the creek with the rod bowing towards it. Once I put a little more pressure on the hooked fish he decided to counter with his own pressure and the battle was on for the moment. He came to the surface briefly during the battle and Bob evidently heard the splash and looked my way. I nodded to him and he waded out to get the net and help me net him. In the meantime I didn’t want to put too much pressure on the brown, which I was able to see him when he splashed right below the surface, until Bob showed up so I just let the brown scurry around some still keeping light pressure on the arced rod and tight line. The brown decided to hold right across from me within vision about a rod length in front of me. I had the rod facing upstream so the brown didn’t have to fight side pressure. I suppose it looked like I was holding a dog leash while the dog in front of me was taking a crap. The brown held there fine until Bob showed up and stepped in the water just downstream. The brown gave a sharp heavy head shake and took off like a scared rabbit. I put the butt of the fly rod in my gut with the rod angled upward. The 8 weight tip section was bowed well in the middle of the rod and my drag might have been set a little on the lighter side as the brown took line.

  Being I reel in right handed, even though I hold the fly rod with my right hand, I’m able to adjust the reel drag without any problem as I fight a fish. True I have to switch hands when I reel the fish in but it has become such an instinct I don’t even think about it anymore.

  I clicked the drag a notch or two tighter but I truly didn’t think the brown noticed as he still took line downstream. He finally turned upstream and I battled with his head shaking and muscle tugging trying to wear him down. The rod tip section pulsated with his head shakes and the tightened fly line and tight leader jittered like a ships guy wire in a gale wind storm.

  I had lost a couple of fish earlier before getting them to the net so I was again hoping I could land this one safely. Sure I had high hopes. I could feel my heart pounding like a jackhammer, “just one big one in the net” I thought.

  It was a struggle getting the brown towards us as Bob stayed downstream from the fish as it drew nearer. We missed him the first time as the brown took off across and downstream when Bob had the net ready. I got the brown turned back upstream for another try. I had the brown where I wanted him, just in front of Bob, and I let Bob know I was going to try and raise him to the surface so he could get the net under the fish. I raised the rod and I could feel the extreme tension I was putting on the line and fish by the arc in the rod within my gripping hands around the cork. (Afterwards I looked to see if there were finger indentations in the cork handle). The brown rose and Bob was able to finally net the big fellow. I was relieved and took a deep calming breath after that intense battle. The fish was a beautiful male brown with a nice noticeable kype and a burnt orange belly.


 

  Till afternoon it was slow. I think I might have hooked up a couple of quick times but again whatever they were weren’t on very long. They could have been kings or heavy browns but I just couldn’t get them to me.

After noon we went and fished the Burt and it was pretty slow there also. Most of the fish I did see caught were foul hooked, came in tail first or sideways. Most of them were smaller browns. I did hook up with one smaller brown on a Yellow sucker spawn before we took off to the cottage.

There were 3 more days of fishing left and I was hoping of having my turn of landing more browns.

~doubletaper

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Throw'm Back Thursday

 

TBT

(Throw’m Back Thursday)

10/07/21


  It was a beautiful Thursday morning. Blue sky and no sign of rain. The morning air was cool, cool enough that a long sleeve ‘T’ under my Columbia Bahama button down was comfortable. More leaves on more trees, that lined the banks, were just starting to turn their Autumn colors. Some leaves, that had fallen already, faintly rustled across the paved lot when a cool breeze blew by. The water level was just right as far as I was concerned. High enough the trout should be scattered throughout the stream. The water was a distinct root beer shade that was opaque enough to hide the trout as well as a distant angler. Their was only one other angler in the parking lot when I arrived so I wasn’t in a hurry to hit the stream. I took my time switching my gear from my rain jacket pockets to my vest. After I assembled my 4 weight 9’ custom fly rod I grabbed a few cigars and headed to the water.

  The morning fishing was slow at first and it took awhile before I was able to find a couple hungry trout to take a streamer.


 

  I suppose the trout had been fished over pretty much over the past week after being stocked so I wasn’t much surprised. Plus being close to the parking area gets fished over more than the rest of the stream. As noon approached more anglers entered the lot and fished and waded the stream. It got kind of crowded so I put the rod in the back of the truck and drove down stream for a more secluded area to fish. There was one other angler that was just heading down to the water. I watched as he walked up stream a ways before entering the water. I headed down stream and began casting streamers. It wasn’t long that I found these trout down here weren’t as wary as up stream.

  I was catching some nice size trout. They were frisky and gave the 4 weight a good workout. 

 

  

 I figured I netted a half dozen or so before I called it quits. It was a relaxing Thursday outing. No fuss or competitiveness with other anglers. At the truck I put my gear away and headed home.


 ~doubletaper