December 26, 2011

Ho Ho Ho!

Christmas Day Hog
Merry Christmas from the Alley. We were very thankful for the warmer than usual weather as this time last year, all of the streams were locked up tighter than a nun's asshole. We were house bound and cranky as fishing opportunities were very limited and in those places the fishing was terrible. Many are hoping that the warmer weather extends well into the new year. But, I would rather have rain than looking at a stream covered in ice and waiting months for the thaw.

Before the next outing, the first thing I did was purchased a pair of new waders. My Orvis waders were finally kaput. Tube after tube after tube of aquaseal couldn't stop the deluge that plagued me this season. Once the water dipped into the 30s and using grocery bags to cover my feet, I knew I couldn't wait anymore. The Simms G3s were the most expensive waders I've purchased and I had to shell out the big bucks because the hardcore steelheader demands the best. No more cheap made in China crap. The clerk handed me the large sized ones and they were very light. Everybody I know that has the G3s raved about their durability and comfort. After walking around the store in them, I was sold and walked out the door and thankfully my Christmas bonus paid for them.

Another trip to the Grand was thwarted by guess what? More rain. It rained pretty hard late Wednesday and many feared that the streams would be unfishable during the holiday weekend. On Christmas Eve, I watched the flow gauges like a kid looking out of the window for Santa. The only rivers that might fish would be the Chagrin and the "gulp" Rocky. The flows were still a tad high and that meant dirty water.

Thumbs up from the shadowy steelheader because nobody is here
Christmas morning, I drove down to the Rock in the dark and looked at the water. It was running dirty and the visibility was barely a foot. I rolled the dice and drove out east to a smaller stream and it turned out to be snake eyes. If there were any fish, they were the ultimate grinches as I couldn't buy a hit. After a couple of hours, I knew I would be wasting time here so I headed back west to fish the Rock. During the morning, Bubba called on his way back from Dayton, curious to see what the fishing was like. I groused about the lousy fishing and was getting ready to head back. Since it was Christmas, the number of people would be almost nil, which is unheard of for a Sunday. I arrived at the lower section and the water was still dirty. There wasn't a soul in sight and I could pick and choose where to fish without somebody irritating me. I fished a popular spot and the first fish of the day was a decent sized hen. Usually this time of the year, I like to keep a couple of hens for eggs. Unfortunately I have a bad habit of throwing back hens in the hopes I catch a bigger and fatter one. I decided to throw it back knowing I might screw myself. But that was the only fish and knew of a better spot upstream.

During the past couple of outings we landed some big fish in this spot. It was the typical winter holding spot - wide and flat and the fish parked themselves right near where the river bends. The first fish out of this spot was chrome skipper that despised the cold water, leaped out of the water and fought furiously. The next fish was another hen and she shredded my tippet on the rocks. I continued to work the bend and the float shot under and it felt like a big fish. Whenever the rod "thuds" I know it's a biggie. I watched it come to the surface it was a huge male. Over the past couple of weeks, the Rock has been coughing up some large fish. It was battle of tug of war and I desperately tried to keep it from running into the jagged pieces of shale. Finally, I beached it and the first thing I noticed was it's large head. It almost looked like a gator as its lower jaw was very kyped. At the time I was still waiting for Bubba to show up and I wanted a money shot of this beastie, so I put him on the stringer and waited. 

When he showed up he was impressed with the size of it and took a couple of shots. I released him back into the murky depths and wondered how far he would journey upstream. For once it was nice to stand in the water and not have to worry about my feet getting wet. We pulled some nice fish out that spot and we ventured back to the place I first fished. It was late afternoon and the wind was blowing hard out of the west as it made fishing difficult. The uncured eggs I had were not up to par and started using my purple nurple and orange eggs cured in BorXofire. These sacs were tied a lot bigger and gave off a wicked scent. Well, the fish enjoyed the festive colored sacs as I started tearing them up in the last hour. We enjoyed having the river to ourselves as we knew tomorrow it would be the opposite. 

Monday morning the herd migrated to the Rock. I arrived tardy around 8 and I shuffled in where the guys were fishing. Once again the uncured eggs were suspect and the fish were begging for the cured eggs ( note to newbies carry both cured and uncured ). Unlike yesterday, the majority of fish caught were skippers, but there was a lot of fish to be had. After cleaning out a couple of holes, I drove along the metropark and every lot was packed. I'm sure the joggers, elderly, people walking the dog cursed under their breath as the anglers took up all of the spots. I kept driving and I could see people at every popular spot. This is the Rock that I've grown to hate over the years - wasting time looking for a spot. It almost noon and my stomach talked me into heading home for lunch. After a hearty meal and a long snooze, I figured the crowds would be gone home - wrong. There were plenty of people out but I had the ace in the hole and the brief time fishing I landed two large fish. The Rock is having an outstanding season so far, a lot better than the streams farther east. Unfortunately we might have to wait again as there is a 100% chance of rain tomorrow. As I remarked last time fishing all I want for Christmas is the Grand to fish for one week. 

2 comments:

Trotsky said...

Nice fish.
Merry Christmas and all that ..
I just tossed my waders in the garbage as well...grocery bags and aquaseal indeed. LOL
Don't think it will be Simms for me though... I am way too cheap for that madness!

Greg Lum said...

Merry Christmas to you and Brian. I see he loves Michigan a lot.