Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Tis the Season

No I am not talking about Christmas here, I am talking about fly fishing for winter steelhead.
Yeah I bitch about winter and do it alot but since I do not have the resources to fly to Maui every winter I have come to the realization that I need to make the best of winter.
You would think I would under take a winter distraction that is maybe less masochistic than fly fishing for winter steelhead. I could maybe take up my time having my tongue pieced and then having the stud ripped out by some pissed off bait fisherman. That would probably prove to be less painful than standing waist deep in a forty degree coastal river casting a huge creation of feather and fur to a fish that is about as interested in my offering as a Pacific northwest banana slug is in crossing a salt line.
Take yesterday for instance. I was fishing a particularly treacherous piece of water that my fishing buddy assured me was wade able.
What he didn't tell me was the bank dropped off almost vertically. So in I go and was instantly up to my stomach in frigid water. Of course the shock of this sudden drop off cause me to loose my balance and my sleeve went into the cold water.
The air temperature was only a little warmer than that of the water....we fished only one other hole because I was quite wet.
Sounds like fun huh? Poke me in the eye with a hot poker? Hmmm, let me think about it while I wring out my coat sleeve.
I've done the winter steelhead insanity for over 35 years now but went fly only in just the last 5 years. Fly only means deeper wading and more interaction with the water.
When I gear fished I could stand well up on the bank with hardly ever a need to wade any deeper than my knees. I caught a lot of fish in those days too!
One might ask why in the hell would I torture myself in this way especially for so few fish. I cannot tell you why except to say I just love fly fishing so much that the thought of putting my fly gear away for the winter and picking up a casting or spinning rod was more than I could bear.
I don't need fish to eat and since I rarely bring anything home I've gotten used to not having it and really don't miss it much.
Oh I will certainly kill every hatchery fish I encounter but I usually stay away from areas where there are hatchery fish present. Staying away from areas that hatchery fish frequent will assure me of avoiding my gear fishing brethren and the lower evolved bait chuckers.
The trade off is less fish but it's worth it.
So this winter I will still whine and complain but rest assured this old goat will still be stumbling along a river near you. Look for the old guy with the white beard and corn cob pipe and offer him a cup of hot fortified coffee and perhaps the directions to your can't miss swinging water...the karma earned will pay off in great dividends.

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