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................................