September 28, 2008

Rain Dammit!


Shaping up to be another dry fall here in Steelhead Alley. It's been a couple of weeks since we last had any sufficient rainfall to get the rivers high and push in the first run of the new season. The rivers are extremely low and in most spots the flow is virtually non-existent. There are some fish that have trickled in, but in small numbers. The anglers tossing hardware have had the most success as the majority of fish have retreated into frog water. 

During this time of year, I often use these outings for scouting. Most of Ohio's streams often change due to it's flash flood nature and erosion of shale cliffs and clay banks. Nearly every year, I find one of my favorite holes or pools filled in or its course altered. I usually have to make mental notes on depth and structures. Gravel in one section gets washed away and ends up in another spot, bridge construction alters the flow and creates a deeper run or several large trees fall into the river and create a break in the current. Keeping up with all of the changes can be a daunting task.

Today was more or less a scouting trip and if I got some fish, lucky me. The water was extremely low and much more clearer than last week. I managed to catch a couple of fresh fish on King salmon eggs I recently got late last week. The fish came from a run that runs much deeper during the winter. The eggs were so good I caught several smallmouth bass on them.

The weather forecast for the upcoming week is calling for a chance of rain, but it's a small chance. A couple hours of light rain isn't going to effect the rivers much. We need a major soaker or a week's worth of it to replenish the water table and keep the levels high for several days to get some fish in. Temperature wise, it's going to get colder and will bring in more fish near the mouths. If your traveling a far distance, forgot about it........

September 20, 2008

Another Season Begins


The days are getting shorter and the nights cooler and right around the corner is steelhead season here on the north coast of Lake Erie. Last week we received enough rain to get the streams up, but due the dry conditions the ground soaked up the water and the streams quickly went back to low and clear. But that wasn't going to stop the diehards from dusting off the rods and reels and seek out some early season action. 

It was great to get back on the water after a long and uneventful summer. This is the time of the year that I've been waiting from ever since May. With all of the new gear I bought over the summer I was eager to break in the Kingpin and my G Loomis rod. I was lucky enough to get some King eggs and decided to head out east. I heard through the grapevine that some fish have been sneaking up river. 

I arrived at the lower section and as expected the river was low but somewhat stained. Many of the riffles were barely flowing and the deep pools looked stagnant. I placed my hand in the water and it felt cool probably in the range of the high 50s to low 60s. I knew of couple spots that held fish during the early fall. It was early morning and the forecast for the day was calling for sunny skies and temps in the high 70s. I figure early morning was the only time to catch fish before the sun shutdown them down. I walked along the stream and noticed a couple fish rolling in one section below a riffle. It didn't take long to hook into the first fish of the new season - a feisty skipper. Fish were in an aggressive mood and nailed any offering. The fights were fast and furious and I quickly brought them so not to exhaust them. 

I wouldn't start calling in with the 24 hour flu or blowing a personal day. The fish are few and far between and if you don't know the rivers very well you'll more than likely be disappointed. The weather for next week is sunny with temps in the 70s. Without rain, most of the fish will probably hang out close to shore and wait. 


September 5, 2008

My Insurance Settlement Gets Me This...


What I feared the worst happened - Ole Red, my 1991 Jeep Cherokee got hit with a total loss from the douchebag that hit me from behind. The frame horn on the right side had more damage and that pushed it into the "your fucked" category. I wasn't surprised considering my Jeep was pushing 18 years old and the odometer was 190,000 miles - but Red still had a lot of miles left and looked great for his age. The adjuster broke the bad news and told me he would be submitting the paperwork to the loss department. That meant I was going to be slapped with a salvage title. Once you get that, the vehicle cannot be driven until the repairs have been made. Giving up the Jeep wasn't an option as it was my only source of transportation, plus Jeep owners can't part with them. So I hoped the settlement would be enough to make the repairs.
I tried to stay upbeat and drove over to the body shop. Bill the manager showed me the damage to the right side of the frame where the trailer hitch got twisted. He told me it was a shame that my Jeep got hit with the loss, because it was in great shape. He informed me the damage to the frame wasn't that severe and it was fixable. I told him the trailer hitch didn't have a hook-up for to run lights and I never used it. As for the hatch, the crack in the fiberglass was at the bottom and so insufficient that most people wouldn't even notice it. The smudge marks could be easily buffed out and I wasn't going to make a big deal over that. We crunch some numbers and got it down to $830.00 to pull the frame back to factory specs and replace the bumper. 

The next morning I recieved a call from Safeco's loss department. They gave me the information on what I was entitled to. They claimed the Jeep was worth $1313.00 in the Cleveland and surrounding area and that's what I would get for all my troubles. These days $1300 doesn't buy you a decent beater. The other option was if I kept it, the payment would be $853.00 because they deducted the salvage loss. I told the guy that $853.00 wasn't enough to cover the repairs. I've heard all of the horror stories of insurance companies stonewalling and playing hardball. As expected he started to make excuses and I knew most of the insurance people you talk to don't have permission to wipe their asses. So I started working up the ladder and I was ready to use my trump card - call a lawyer. I explained to the manager that I wasn't responsible for the accident and I wasn't going to fork over the money to make the repairs. I wasn't asking for a lot of money, just to be fairly compensated. The guy tells me if I can prove that I took care of the vehicle, that might boost the value of it. I faxed over several repair statements of the work I got done over the year. A couple of hours later, I got a call and what he said next left me speechless - they were going to give me $970.00 and who said insurance companies are a bunch of heartless pricks.

Maybe the guy was a Jeep owner........