October 19, 2011

The Skunk


Every angler experiences it from time to time, the dreaded skunk. In my case, it was literal as I came upon a dead one lying in the water on the lower Conneaut. It was waterlogged and ripening, and the smell was overwhelming. Which made me think, was he responsible for the all of the non-action downstream. It was morning and early in the steelhead season. I had pounded several holes and pools downstream without much success. The dead skunk should have been taken as an ominous sign that things might not be fine and dandy today. But, I'm a half glass full kind of angler. I looked at him one last time and wondered if any of the critters in the woods or water would have to the courage to feast on his filthy rotting corpse. 

It was unseasonably warm and the creek was running low and clear. Deep water was few and far between. The only action I was getting was fighting off the repeated hit and run attacks of the resident creek chubs. I would watch with great disdain as the float popped up and down. It was wasn't that violent take that is often associated with steelhead. I would flick the float as if they were that annoying fly bothering me. When I reeled in the line, I would see the sac nibbled down to the last few eggs. By now that glass that was starting to get a little more empty. 

But that's early fall on the Alley as fishing can be either hit or miss. In Ohio, it's more of a case of misses and frustration. I finish up at the last spot and the riffle above is barely registering a gurgle. I stand on one of the train trestle supports and look over at the shale ledge. It relatively dark and could possibly hide a pod of fish. I work the spot and my gut tells me there probably isn't any fish. I half ass it and I quickly start to get bored. I use my growling stomach as an excuse to call it a day.

We've all had our fair share of the skunk. Lucky for me, my skunks are few and far between. On the way back, I see my old friend baking in the sun and not a single fly is hovering around, go figure. 

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