Monday, February 20, 2012

A tale of two trips

Last Monday, the emails came out that there was no hockey or indoor soccer for the coming weekend. Over much discussion, the kids began to organize sleepovers with friends. The next day was to follow that up with a trip to Michigan to do some spending…… I mean shopping. I had fishing dancing like sugar plums in my head. Just when I was to put this into action, the plans changed. Well now. This would require more thinking. I could not let an opportunity like this slip by.  It was decided.  A spontaneous day off from work Wednesday to get in what I was to consider, to be the last ice fishing trip of this season for me. This would allow me to fish soon after, on one of the three days of the long weekend.
With that in mind, Brad and I headed up to the perch grounds so he could test out and play with some new toys Santa brought him a month previous. I would have welcomed an opportunity for some lake trout or whitefish however  this would be his only trip this season so we opted for a “sure bet”.
Amazing the little traffic there can be on a weekday. I was sure to expect we would be parking blocks from the lake. Instead, we got a spot about as close as one can have without getting a traffic infraction. The [1.4km] walk out was uneventful. No one else was around. We fired up the auger and proceeded to make swiss cheese out of the ice. (boys and their toys). We were into fish almost immediately. Fun however we seemed to only get small fish so we moved several hundred yards further.  Setting up the second time, we thought we had hit the mother lode. The flashers were lit up so thick; it was difficult to see the jigs. The action was non-stop but it became old as we were still trying to bring up big fish. At the end of the day, we kept a few for dinner but more importantly, Brad got to test out his new pop up hut and the X67.
Saturday was a new day and there were no short rods in action. They have been retired for the season. I was quite stoked to get back into the drift. With a few exchanges through texts, Rich and I were to meet up at first light. I checked the weather before turning out for the evening. I was pleasantly surprised that there was a good blanket of snow when I awoke. Great. No doubts the drive would be slow and painful. Just how painful and trying would come 35 minutes into the day as I was reduced to a 40km crawl behind a lineup of vehicles all chasing a wall of flashing blue lights. I know; it was in everyone’s safety that they were out though I have to question the mess they made with their plows. Rich could only laugh when I told him I was late this time and not lost.
The river was in nice shape. The snowfall overnight had added to the barren zenquility that is part of winter steelheading. Most of the morning was not going all that well for me.  In haste, the container of freshly tied roe was left on the front stoop. It was to be an interesting trip to fish “sans” organics in the dead of winter. Rich had offered some to me but I stubbornly refused. This was to be a challenge to see what I could do with artificial presentations. It has been a long time since I last fished in the winter with only fur and feathers. I did recant and agreed to take him up on his offer if he was to hook one more fish.
I did end up taking a fish on a white jig with orange krystal flash tied into it. A dark male fish that went ballistic off the surface a few times before straightening out the hook. The next few hours, neither of us saw any action. We took a long walk and ventured upon a few others, of which one prominently hooked and lost a nice fish.
We agreed to retreat to where we started the day and give the slow section another look. The sun broke through and a wave of warmth draped over the area. This would be the ringing of the dinner bell. For as long as the sun stayed out, the fish turned on, and tuned into the artificials leaving the organics aside.
It was comical to hear Rich ever so gingerly whisper to the hook not to break or bend as he was unhooking the fish. It was his only black fly left. I, of course, had enough for the both of us but the offer was declined. Gee, that sounded awfully familiar.
Bright, energetic and fast to snap at the fly. A final fish from Rich ……

Sunday, February 12, 2012


So, is it worth it?
Not fishing as much these days ……….
Time has become almost as precious as our incomes. This past fall, our son (Brandon) decided that the” Red Circle Timbits ” hockey program was not enough of a challenge for him. He’s only 9 (going on 10 this summer) and it is great to see such drive and determination in his character. I was informed by others, that entering into competitive hockey would be a four day per week commitment. That sent shivers through us as he is already enrolled in a competitive soccer club that demands three days a week. We decided to make the jump for his “development” though let’s face it; he has a hope in hell of making something out of hockey. Soccer, being less discriminative of size and power, could lead to many possibilities down the road.
Less is more ……….
After learning the tryout process, fees and required time commitments, the family decision was to drop to “competitive house league”. Better. Two days a week and a few tournaments thrown in, was much more manageable.  It still meant that between our daughters’ competitive soccer and school sports schedules, we would be six days a week, having to be somewhere with one (sometimes both) of them. Well, we did not expect this to be so competitive, at the house league level. Parents, grandparents, family friends all cheering one team and bashing the other.  Not to the players directly, more to each other but I paid close attention to this. I have a habit of watching games in the opposing team’s end.
Needless to say, for a bunch of nine year olds, the team showed incredible focus and composure.  There were a few close games and two come-from-behind victories. They recently finished the regular season undefeated at 16-0 with the best defensive record in their division. (Note that Brandon plays D).
To answer the original query ……….
YES. The absence away from angling was all worth it. They are in playoff rounds now. It’s not as long as the regular season, I hope.