Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christmas Funny....

Exhibit A: 
Me fishing the surf in Florida for Snook. 
My father-in-law likes to call my stripping basket my "laundry basket." 
Ex: "Grab your laundry basket and lets go see if the fish are biting"

Exhibit B:
My stripping basket is on the left.  My Christmas present from my father-in-law is on the right.
"Now you should be able to cast clear across the lake..."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Central Sands Rambler

My good friend JG just started adding his insights and wisdom to the blogosphere.
I suggest you take a look and plan on paying attention...


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Closing Time for Steelhead Gods

"I AM A STEELHEAD GOD!"  That's gonna be my new line.

I stood in the river at 2:30 of closing day...my confidence was shot.  I am a self proclaimed steelhead neophyte after over 30 years of chasing them.  I like to tell people that steelhead are like women...I have no idea what they are thinking, that they baffle me, that I don't understand. 

This line, I think, is getting a little old. 

Despite not understanding the fish, I continue to chase, I continue to plot. 683 miles round trip for 6.5 hours of swinging for steel.  McSteel and TP (and later LK) all showed up for the closer. A very fine November day that would have been exceptional if my confidence wasn't shot.  The thing about truly tempered steelheaders is that they accept a beatdown as a natural rhythm.  They know that they have fished well, their flies have swung true.  I feel like I've missed something.  Fell short.

I stood there at 2:30 in the 37 degree water and knew that I wasn't going to connect.  It was text book self fulfilling prophecy.  I was holding a rod that required exactly 1 too many of my hands to operate. A tool that in it's own right makes me feel small and incompetent.   I don't much like feeling this way.

I was fishing with some very fishy cats.  TP is in the confident exploratory stage of his steelhead journey.  He was throwing a 4 weight with unweighted fly and looking for the "right" fish.  And he wasn't being pretentious about it...he was seriously looking for the gamest steelhead in the river.
If his fly swung over a sulker?  Well, screw sulkers.

My "right" fish fell under the category of "any" fish.

McSteel was working hard but I could tell that he was expecting a grab on any swing.  This mindset is actually the ONLY prerequisite to successfully hooking a steelhead.  I wished I shared his conviction.

At about 3:30 I popped the anchor on a double spey and stuck my fly deep into the Primaloft of my jacket.  It was lodged in spot that made me feel like a contortionist when I was working to pull it free.
I followed up that gong show by promptly hanging 4 flies on the bottom, breaking them and retying.  By 4:30 I was done.

Back at the rig, McSteel and I found TP working a fish.  He was swinging through with the kind of intense assurance that McSteel had spent the day fishing with.  LK ambled up and though I don't know him well (in fact had just met him) he exuded a kind of relaxed comfortable demeanor.  He actually said "I knew that I wasn't going to catch a fish today...", but he said it in a way that made me believe that he was cool with it, like it was part of the deal.

I'll confess that I took solace in the small talk that follows a day of fishing.  Here I stood with guys that know how to fish for and catch steelhead and they, like me, were zero for zero on the day.    The only difference between me and them was that they didn't feel like the fishless day was their fault, their shortcoming.

I've decided that I need to change my approach.
So, the next time you see me, if I should blurt out that "I AM A STEELHEAD GOD!!", please understand that I am not a complete dick.  I just want to feel like one of those guys.

TP and McSteel - in the IC.

McSteel metal detecting with conviction

2013 closing time - That's all folks.