Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Oak At Low Flow

Friday I took the show on the road to the Oak. The weather temps were in the mid to high 30’s and I was hoping for a little mid winter action to warm my increasingly frustrated soul. This cold snap has played with my head and made a little more morose and jittery than usual. The streams have been locked up on the Southside and I find my self pacing through the house a lot with the hamster wheel in the head working overtime. My friends say I need a good night out with a mild level of inebriation to break me out of the doldrums. Today it is 11 degrees and it does not even faze me as being cold this morning. I guess the blood is thickening up.
Pretty soon I will have a dog team and eat whale blubber…………….

Anyhow we did have a mini-heat wave yesterday on the Oak. I navigated through the countless back country roads from Pembroke and through the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge to my appointed destination. I was excited only to see 5 cars in the parking lot on this warm day with hopes of not only the possibility of fish but light pressure too. I walked down the hill and across the dam to the other side and noticed the majority of the people that owned those cars were planted at the dam. Spinners, Pinners, and fly guys alike lined up side by side on each side of the out flow. There were may be 12 guys total at that location.

I decided to walk my way down the path to the point where the two creeks come together. This was a place where Big Ed and I used to have quite a lot of success back in the day. Back when we almost exclusively fished the Lake Ontario tribs. I noticed there was no one in sight other than my friend the Great Blue Heron. I thought hopefully that one of us would have success today catching a fish. While I was filled with excitement with the lack of pressure that I found; I was filled with disappointment in regard to the water levels. There was current coming from the dam but the water was very low and crystal clear. This day would be tough sledding and my only enjoyment might come from the relatively warm weather. I fished the junction area and sycamore run area and worked my way down to the Archery pool. There were no fish to be found in that area caught or sighted.

The Archery pool was in better shape than the previous areas but I caught nothing. I put my time in there as I figured this was the best water I was going to find. I tried a number of presentations to no avail. Long after I thoroughly sifted through every inch of the pool, Two fly guys splashed their way upstream to the hole and one of the guys planted himself about 5 yards below me on the opposite side of the stream. He informed me that a guy dragged two fish up from the Honey hole down stream as he started to cast in my drift. His friend was working his way up to the sycamore run when he asked his buddy where you are going. When his friend told him he was going upstream so he would have to fish in front me and screw up my drift; the other guy told him don’t worry about he can alternate casts with you. Thanks buddy I thought. Well Fly guy number two declined and went to the sycamore to fish. I became a little ornery and decided to walk back up toward the dam. I worked the shallow run areas on the way to the dam and managed to catch a male brown trout. The fish took a tiny power bait maggot and he was sitting behind a downed tree that lay across the stream. As I worked the fish closed the bank it popped off the hook. Oh well I sad to my self as least I caught one fish.

Slowly I made it back to the dam and there were only two guys working the outflow so I fished it for the last hour of my trip before I left. I had no luck there but did see one steelhead porpoise to the surface before returning to the dark water at the base of the dam.

That was it folks, a one fish day in the middle of January. From what I heard from most of the other guys that was one fish more than most.
This trib is always feast or famine for me. When it is on you are going to get into them but when it is off it is horrible and a waste of a drive.
As my friend put it on a call on the way home; Joe at least you were out there doing God’s work in the fresh air. I ended the call put his words into the proper context and made my way home.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Motivational Video Part 1

This is by far the best piece of motivational fishing porn in the free world. I found it on You Tube last January and have used it for steelhead and pinning motivation through out the year. It picks you up on an iced in cold winter day or a rain swollen rain out fishing day cancellation. I have been known to watch this while I wait for Commander Tom to show up at my house early in the morning before a fishing expedition. I hope you enjoy the video courtesy of RiptidesAK.

Pardon me while I get my towel and lotion. LOL

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who is Big Ed????????????????????????????

Well Big Ed is the man that I cut my steelheading teeth with back when we were snot nosed kids in our late teens and early twenties.
Not only did we start out steelheading together but we started our fly fishing and our pinning careers simultaneously.

I can tell you that he was one of the best people you would ever want to know and a frustratingly good fisherman. We have lost touch over the years but we both found ourselves without employment last fall. Luckily for both he and his family he is back in the working world and that is one last person I have to worry about.

Well do to our time “off’ we had the opportunity to fish together and it was one of those strange feelings in life one gets. Our ride to Chautauqua County felt like we were separated for only a couple of days. He honestly has to be one of the funniest people I know. He can make me laugh even when he is not trying. From the way he rips on people to our hike that fall day to our spot. On our fall fishing reunion tour we fished a favorite small stream of ours and found some peace and quiet away from the competition. Of course I had the smell of the skunk on me that day and was left with my feeble attempts at convincing him that I was honestly still a really good fisherman. I busted out my tales of past success on the Catt and 18 from just a few days earlier. He of course had the look on his face saying “yeah right dude… whatever...”

Of course the tool bag busted out his 27 packs of pinks worms and the mf’er went to town on the stream. I honestly just sat on the bank watching him. He just has that gift. He has had the gift since we were kids to smell fish out and catch them when no one else does. I was just laughing to myself watching this guy who is built like a brick shit house slay the fish in his hip waders. Yep that’s right hip waders. As he would say “I can’t wear chest waders dude. I overheat. I have a big furnace.” His furnace burns so hot that after he schooled me he told me to hop in a spot while he took a break. As I was focused on my drift I herd the distinct sound of the opening of an aluminum beer can. My head spun around and I found the POS SOB drinking a Bud. I also found out he brought a 6’er in his back pack.

As he noticed the shocked look on my face he commented “What Dude? I’m married and I have 2 kids and a new born, I gotta have a few when I can. I don’t get out much any more!” At this point I just started laughing. Watching this guy put them down in his Sabres hat and by the way a matching blue Sabres fishing jacket. All he needed was an “I want Tim Connolly’s wiener T-shirt” underneath his jacket!

My head recalled all the old trips fishing together especially at Burt and Oak. Recalling how we used to slay the browns with our Oregon cheese egg flies and all our Sage and Orvis bullshit.
I remember us taking one trip to Burt in late November or early December in his pimped out used silver Cadillac during an ice storm. There were cars all over the road that morning but some how we got there.
The hill at Burt that we had to descend was a sheet of ice and we just sat on our asses and slid down the hill in a fury using our corkers as brakes. We got into some fish that day as I remember. A few spawned out browns, a couple of steelies, and a lot of red blushed Coho’s. Luckily the weather warmed up later in the day to get back up the hill.

I can also remember fishing Oak with him when our stream was assaulted by those alien POS Canadians with that strange and unknown pinning technology. Boy did we hate those SOB’s who were out fishing us by a minimum of a 5 to 1 ratio. They were also chumming which pissed us off even more. Yep we were some of those guys who called them cheaters, harvesters, and A-holes among other profanity laced statements with righteous indignation.
The indignation that was natural to us self proclaimed superior fly fisherman.

Well our little fits of anger, jealousy, and pompous superiority lasted only a few months before we jumped to the dark side. In that few months we found ourselves rigging up with Islander Pacific steelheader reels and St. Croix wild river rods. We would ask and receive some kindly given lessons from some Canadian Master pinners that we encountered on the streams. And then that was the end of it for both us we were done like dinner and pinning was the only way to go.

I can go on and on with stories but if you are out there Big Ed thanks for the memories on the Burt, Oak, and the Salmon River. Dude lets get out and a put a beating on the steel sometime.

P.S. I blatantly pilfered a few photos from the big SOB’s Facebook page to add a little fish porn to this entry.

Well back to the coffee………

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ice Road Trucker ???????????

Ice road trucking’ on the coffee run today and it was not a fun drive. The wind was howling blowing the snow everywhere but a man needs his coffee and some fresh air. I had to gas up on the way and I think I developed icicles on my short hairs while standing at the pump.
Can we just have a 50 degree Great Lakes thaw already? Please!!!!!

Well I was looking at Harv’s new blog and just added it to my follows list. I think I know a few guys from Muskie’s Canada that fish up by the Saugeen from the London area. On the way up on my trips to Nippissing, I would drive by a lot of rivers flowing into Georgian Bay wondering if they hold steelhead and how the runs are. I am sure I will blog about the glory that is the Canadian Shield. I can go on forever about that subject.

Anyhow Harv’s blog reminded me to write a few words about what one of the hot baits from last fall for me was: the Gulp Minnow.

The Gulp Minnow was absolutely deadly in clear water conditions. I don’t know what that stuff is made out of but it works. It is so life like, I literally could watch in some cases the steelhead flash side ways to attack the bait. They never got spooked or bored of the bait.

I have to give credit to Commander Tom in regard to the Gulp Minnow.
We were on a weekend muskie trip on Lake Chautauqua and the Commander brought them. Not for the muskie of course but for the perch. The Commander is a multi species fisherman extraordinaire. He is never with out his ultra light set up and takes great pleasure sitting on the dock with a few beers catching some perch. Well he introduced the Gulp to me and we both agreed that they may work on the steelhead.
We were right and it became another bait to add to the pinning arsenal. I am looking for ward to getting the gulp alive juice that I saw in a spray bottle. It may be the ticket to add to some yarn flies.

Well that all for today folks. Keep safe and keep warm.

Now back to the coffee……..

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Ice Age is upon us............

The Ice Age is upon us this morning.
2 degrees eh? 2 degrees!
This is what my humble creek looks like this morning in lockup. The only life sighted at the foot bridge were me and the neighborhood dog barking his ass off at me.
I don't think he was barking to mark his territory but yelling at me saying..."what are you stupid?" "There is no fishing be done for the next 2 months!" "Your ride is is over Dumb Ass now just go home and get a cup of coffee!"
I ignored the icicle laden cur dog as I just smiled and gazed at the motionless creek. I went into a trance remembering the good season which I had and the times I spent with friends on the water. This was a good thing .. a good thing indeed.
While I will be relegated to tying flies, upgrading tackle, and dreaming of fish; I am sure there will be an odd thaw and outing to the Burt,Oak, or the Lower Niagara. At worse I can breakdown and actually go ice fishing with the Commander. I don't like the sound of cracking ice under foot or the thought of falling through the ice. I know Commander I know that I have a float suit and I have nothing to worry about. I do have a few memories of tip up fishing with friends for pike on a February day. Watching all the tip ups go off one after another and all of us being exhausted from running to each tip up to reel in a pike.
I prefer to think of spring for as every day we burn off the calender we are one more day closer to the birds chirping and the snow melting. Remembering that usually starting in February in some flows the bigger fish start moving in with every thaw. Remembering the smell of the air around Easter time, and a chance in late April and May to fish for drop backs in the area.
It is cold out but the sun shines bright today and spring is around the corner my friends...just around the corner.
Now back to the coffee........

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The gimp is still in his cage..........

Yes that’s right the gimp is still in the cage. The wounded back is still giving me problems and I had to opt out of a good days fishing today. The weather is 34 degrees Fahrenheit and drizzle right now and the water looks nice this afternoon. And Daddy is a angry man today.

This is not the deal I made with the gods. The deal was that while I wade through the uncertainty of unemployment that the gods would let me pursue the silver ghosts of the Great Lakes. They know that time well spent on the stream is the only cure for my insanity.
The gods know that with out its therapy I slowly slide down the slippery slope of selfish self pity. Laying in a fetal position on the couch self medicating with a row of beer empty beer cans lined up on top of the fireplace mantel. Self pity is a dirty little disease that infects each of us from time to time. The woe is me syndrome of plans gone awry and perceived dreams crushed.

I know, I know, I can hear the Commanders’ voice right now “Stop the self pity Joe and go fishing”. But I don’t have that drug to heal my tortured soul. I am left on the sidelines with the not so distant tease of chrome fish and green water a little over a hundred yards away from my couch. I need to go for a drive to clear my head. A drive to come in contact with the human race and to get my head on straight. A little fresh air to focus the mind and remind myself I am not dead or dying and that there are hundreds of poor bastards tied to their cubicle cages bearing the heavy load of corporate oppression whishing they had the spare time to fish that my situation has given me.

So I move forward hunched over with hobbled back knowing that life throws its adversities upon us at different times of our lives to focus our thoughts, our future goals, and desires. In the hopes that we all live the 2nd halves of our lives better than the first.

Well back to the coffee………

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Teaspoon full of Redemption

Sunday morning I got the call from Commander Tom. He stated that once he took care of some family responsibilities he would be available to fish Sunday afternoon. He suggested a trib by his house that was slush free and green. I agreed that I would be ready and waiting for his call to meet him at his house for an afternoon engagement. This was good news because I had been slumping since the flood water wreaked havoc on my stream and a change of venue was in order.

I spent the early afternoon getting ready and dressed for the elements. As I looked up from the football game I noticed it was already 2:30pm and no call from the Commander had come down the pipe. I knew that he probably got caught up with pressing family responsibilities and so I made plan B. It was 37 degrees out and I was twitching like a crack addict waiting for his fix so I jumped in the truck and hit my stream somewhere around 3pm.

There were 4 cars at the access point so I knew I was going to hit 2nd water at best but a man can’t catch fish sitting on his couch. I took a slow walk into the gorge taking my time as I slowly crossed the icy stream. I worked up stream to a slow tail out that I know holds fish. Well that is at least for competent fisherman. I was questioning my own skills after my mini dry spell. I shuffled my feet in thigh high green water to the outside of the shelf ice and look at my options.
The green water was of moderate flow and filled with floating slush but it was fishable. The rod loaded as I flung my presentation across the stream to an open spot in the flow. My Loomis was held as high as possible to help maneuver the float around the slush. I mended left and mended right and on my third drift of the afternoon I found my redemption. The fish was a nice sized female who looked relatively fresh to the creek. I screamed at the top of my lungs “Thank God!”

I played her slowly to my side and with the cold water she was more of a bulldog than a runner. I tailed her and placed her on the shelf ice to remove the hook and took a quick picture. She swam away hard and healthy. I was a happy man with a smile on my face.

Though I only caught one fish, I was still happy as I was only out for and hour and a half and had to tolerate the constant flow of slush. There would be a price to pay for my redemption. That price was my back. The sunlight was slowly waning to half light and I knew it was time to make my way downstream to cross at a shallow area and make it out of the gorge. As I waded my way past the shelf ice to the near shoreline, I walked with authority to the bank on what appeared to be a gravel covered surface. In fact it was gravel covered muck. My right leg sunk in calf high and I awkwardly fell to my knees with a giant splash.

I knew I damaged the back and slowly made my way out of the gorge and home. My self prognosis was sciatica. I had the tell tale signs of pain radiating from my lumbar region into my right calf and the buckling of the right leg from weakness with every spasm I experienced. Needless to say it was not a comfortable or solid night of sleeping. I was up every 15 or 20 minutes attempting to find a comfortable place to sleep. The couch, the bed, the living room floor. Sititng, laying standing. It all was not good.

Today I am taking a day off from attempting to fish. I don’t think dragging my self down the shore in neoprene’s and corkers would be a happy experience but I got my dam redemption and that is good enough for me.

Well back to the coffee……….

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Frozen Rope.........

Well I woke up this morning after the holiday party and all is well in the world. The party was a great time to catch up with friends.
The Leafs beat Ottawa. The Sabres beat Boston. UB lost but they are going in the right direction with a great coach.
And the Bills…… never mind.

There was centerpin talk and steelhead talk at the party. I am still working on Tom’s wife to give him that green light for a purchase of a new reel. After all he didn’t get the down rigger rod and reel for Christmas that he was expecting. I do duty as Tom’s cabin boy in the summer trolling Lake Ontario for salmon and steelhead so I am trying to help a brother out. There was a guy at the party who just started pinning and one of his buddies hooked him up with a Bob James and he got a deal on a Loomis float rod. I don’t know if it was a frontier, GLX, or IMX. But the guy is excited and had done well this fall catching fish. His hot bait was mousie grubs and he told me he was slaying the fish on the smaller Erie tribs this fall.

He suggested Tom get a Kingpin but I don’t know if that will fly with his significant other. He may need to start out with a Raven or look for a good used pin. But saying this it is probably better to get the good stuff up front so you’re not investing more in 6 months or a year.
Come to speak of it. After a Godforsaken ever life sucking 2008; I should treat myself to a new toy sometime in 2009.
I don’t need a new rod. I love my 10 yr old Loomis IMX from LG Custom. It has been a trooper and there are no complaints. The G Loomis reel has been around for along time and is a middle of the road reel. While not top of the line it has preformed without complaint for years but it may be time to upgrade. What will it be? A left handed Milner? A Kingpin? A new Stanton? MMMMMMM……………………..

I did get out yesterday for an hour and a half and encountered more slush that the day before and air was 29 degrees. I developed the frozen rope syndrome above my float. Two and ½ feet of ice encrusted line and float. Hence why I said screw it after an hour or so and went back to the couch.
The temp is in the teens this morning but it is supposed to get into the middle 30’s sometime today. That “sometime” will dictate when I get out. At this time I am disgusted with shelf ice and slush and miss my 45 degree days with green water which were always accompanied with cooperative silver fish fresh from the lake.

Before I end this entry, please say a prayer for the car I saw overturned this morning on the 90. I was on a intersecting over pass and looked down to see a car upside down on its roof in a ditch with the paramedics and fireman doing what they do best. The victim must have hit black ice and I prayer who ever it is that they are OK and have survived. They are somebody’s family somewhere.

Thank you and back to the coffee…………………….

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Yeah I used to catch these things.......

Well I rolled of the couch this morning after falling asleep at 3 AM. Sometimes the squirrels get running in my head and I can’t stop the wheels from turning. Then I know I am up for the duration pondering life’s mysteries and the why's and how's of our existence.

The weather underground informed me it was 26 degrees Fahrenheit 270 yards from the lake and 19 degrees at the airport.
The weather seemed downright balmy for 26 as there were no winds howling today. I even thought about gearing up instead for coffee as I remembered that just a few weeks ago I did know how to catch these dam fish. Honestly I am not lying guys… I really did.

I hopped in the truck and took my regular drive to the access points to check the water quality and pressure. The middle river was a nice green and fishable. There were about 4 cars each at 2 of the access points and 1 car at an area where the open water met the iced jammed portion of the creek. I drove to the mouth and it is still all locked up probably until tomorrow when we are expected to have mid 30’s weather and rain. The artificial section upstream had no cars at its access point. Are all the fly guys taking off today?

Tomorrow I will definitely be out with everybody else. I expect a lot of pressure. I may even be able to get Commander Tom out tomorrow if he survives his holiday party tonight which I will be attending. I am looking forward to tipping a few with the boys.
Today I planned a no fishing day as I planned on watching the Alma Mater, UB, play in the international bowl and then take a nap before the party. If I to much fresh air today and go fishing I will be exhausted tonight and dim witted from all of the fresh cold air.

Who knows if the slush burns off a little more than is currently snaking its way down the flow I may go for a few hours. I am putting on my calendar an ode to Ontario in the coming months. I am thinking about February 21st as it is Hockey day in Canada. Some of my friends think I was Canadian in a previous life. Not a bad thing at all. I will plan to blog on everything that is great and good about Ontario and its special place it holds in my heart in regard to hockey and fishing.

Well back to the coffee…………………..

Friday, January 2, 2009

There was no catching............

I took a kick at the can from about 11am to 3:15 today. the weather warmed to 35 from 32 this morning and the water was a nice green color today.
As I walked into the gorge I had a smile on my face. There was nothing but fresh snow in front me. We all like to hit first water for it fires up are anticipation. I walked to the bottom of the path and found a 4 ft branch that i used as a walking stick. It help me navigate my way across the stream around the shelf ice and boulders.
Once I set up thigh deep in front of the shelf ice, I attempted to work some magic to no avail. Most of the time was spent negotiating the slush and broken shelf ice that was floating down the creek here and there.I was at a spot where I have caught a number of fish through out the season but they were either not cooperating or not there.
After thoroughly working the hole I worked my way upstream to a faster area which holds a few fish in the winter as it has sufficient depth and does not freeze int he winter. The answer was Nada,zero, and Zilch.
I looked upstream as about 3 hundred yards up around the bend is a nice spot i like to fish that always holds. I did not work my way up to it as there was some tricky shelf ice and uneven stream bed to work my way through. Being alone, I didn't want to risk the odd slip and accidental injury. I though to myself there will be other days to get there and give it shot.
On the way back to my access point I ran into 3 guys going in to fish and told them about the lack of success. I don't think they believed me. I hope they turned on for them.
Into the truck I went to once of the more popular areas on the creek and the parking lot was full with 5 cars. The main pool was occupied with 4 or 5 guys. I attempted to walk upstream but half way up I could see someone in the B spot. I was relegated to fish secondary water with no luck but the sun started to pop out and 35 degrees felt like 65 degrees after the cold day before.
The clock struck 2 and I burnt the last hours of daylight on a smaller trib hoping I could run into small pod in solitude. That would not be the case. I park my vehicle to find a few guys in my a spot with 2 fish on a stringer.
I walked by them they had a look on their face. Maybe it was my Lucky Toronto Maple Leafs hat I busted out to try to change my luck. They probably thought to themselves F'ing Canadians being that they may have been locals. I used to get that all the time walking down the stream with Leafs gear and a centerpin years ago.Not so much these days.
So I bushwhacked it upstream to some decent water. Once again no fish for me but I had had the benefit of a few hours of solitude and that was good enough for me today.
Back to the coffee.....................

There will be fishing this afternoon...maybe even catching

Coffee run this morning. I surveyed the creek to find the lower ice clogged and the pools frozen over. I took a drive to the middle area of the creek and notice there were some fishable and open runs this morning.
It is 32 degrees this morning and feel wonderful in comparison to one degree yesterday. the plan is to fish this afternoon in hopes the fish will wake up a little and cooperate. I will be happy with one after my latest crisis of confidence.
As I drove up the creek and yes not with a paddle, I notice two cars at the artificial only winter holding pool. I peeked over the cliff to see three fly guys standing on shelf ice and casting. Be care full I thought if that breaks your dropping 3 ft into the water.
One of the plates was fr om Texas and no doubt someone home visiting family for the holidays.
This brings me to recalling all the out of state plates i have seen this fall on the creek. most of the pressure comes when the Catt is flooding and brown or when the Canadian streams close for the winter.
I have seen plates from:
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
West Virginia
South Carolina
North Carolina
and of course my friends in Ontario and Quebec.
It is amazing how the sport has proliferated since the early 90's.
back to the coffee.........................

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!

I woke up this morning after a subdued but entertaining New Years Eve celebration to see rays of sunlight filtering through the windows.

The weather underground informed me that it was 9 degrees Fahrenheit in my part of town and 1 degree at the airport. Guess what children? there will be no fishing for me today.

I was going stir crazy early and went for a cup of coffee. I pulled over to the side of my street and peeked over the cliff to see freshly built shelf ice and slush but it was not frozen solid. This is a good thing if we can get near the high 20's or low 30's this weekend. I will give it a shot at anything over 25 degrees. And as we all know a steelehad brings us all happiness and smiles when they are attached to the end of our lines.

Back to the New Year 's greetings to all my friends. The year formerly know as 2008 was an up and down year for me and it had tried my patience and sent my compass spinning more than a few times. From the highlight of my sister's engagement to an accidental fall by her future mother-in-law which landed her in ICU for quite some time. Thank god she recovered.

In other news I lost my job in November which was a point of some stress and anxiety. Luckily or unluckily depending on how you look at it; I do not have a wife or children to support . So there is no added stress or wworry about the well being and support of family as many other people are in this uncertain time. I can survive on almost nothing if I have to as long as I have a tank of gas on a fishing pole.

As the vibrant sun hit my face through the the truck window, I took an inventory of my life and reminded myself the folowing "Where there is hope there is light" and " There is a silver lining in every cloud".

Though I lost my job at the beginning of November , the blessing of this curse is that it occured during the apex of the steelhead season. I thus divided my days between the search for a new job and the pursuit of our esteemed fish.

There were many a morning that I would put the headlamp on and hike into the dark abyss of the gorge to get to my preferred pools and runs which i picked the day before.
There is nothing like getting to the spot you have picked to fish with no one in sight except the deer, heron, and the occasional beaver.
I can recall one crisp morning at sun up that I had one of those special mornings.
I went roughly 9 for 14 in the first 45 minutes of day. It literally felt like every third drift I had a fish on. I remember telling myself that my deceased ancestors must be with me this morning to gift me with such a wonderful, heart pounding, adrenaline rushing experience.
And to top it off it was all with artificial presentations not roe.

I must have hit a fresh pod from the lake with the fish averaging between 6 and 13lbs.
The females were dime bright and built thick with a nasty attitude. The males were most of the 6 and 7 lbers with just a hint of their kipe starting to grow.

Well I digress once again....
I am trying to convey that the experiences like this that fate has gifted upon me have healed my soul physically and spiritually. I have hiked miles and miles this fall and I am a healthier man for it.
More importantly, I have found my inner child again catching these fish.
Though I have caught many fish of many species over the years; the steelhead caught this fall have put a smile on my face and warmed my heart as they have not done since my grandfather took fishing as a 5 year old for sunfish and bass.
I honestly do think he is around me when I fish. I feel him there. Weather I am hiking through the brush for steelhead or night fishing on the Niagara for muskies. I feel him there.

I think it is time for me to shut up now.
If I don't I think I could go on for another 5 paragraphs.
I want to wish all of you a happy and blessed new year. Remember this...We can live as kings as long as we have our health, friends, family, and of course our fish.
Everything else in life is crap.
None of us will remember our jobs on our deathbeds. Only the faces of our loved ones and our victories on the water. The love of family and friends and the glorious fights with leaping fish . This is what allows all of us to feel like gods for but for the few moments we are on this earth.

Now back to the coffee................................