Well, the snow is here for a good long while...especially where I live in the Ohio snow belt. We have had roughly four to four and a half feet....yes I said feet of snow fall in the last week and a half. This has taken it's toll on streams and most are offering very little fishable water especially with the low temps we have been having overnight. With that said, how about a story from just before the storms hit....
The day was going to be a special one for me for no other reason than the fact it was a father and his two sons who would be fishing with me. That is always special for me, because I too am a son and cherish every memory I have had the opportunity of making with my Dad! So, I went into this day wanting to make it as special as I possibly could.
The information I had been given from Dad was that neither one of his sons had caught a Steelhead in their limited number of times out on the water with him. This was an early Christmas present for the boys and he figured that bringing a guide in to help him give instruction to the boys was the ticket, and was obliged to do so.
We got to an area that I knew would hold fish even with the colder temps and we got started. Well, Phil got started that is...
Phil gets the day started with a nice hen.
The boys took quick notice of Dad's prowess and worked diligently at the task I had given them...the task of making good drifts. They both made fast improvements and soon were making acceptable fish catching drifts.
However, Will was a bit faster to put fish in the bag than his older brother Bo, but no worries there. Will stuck a nice fish and Dad decided to make it ultra memorable and put one in the bag at the same time! Talk about a first Steelhead memory! It doesn't get any better than that!!
Phil and his son Will punctuate the day with a nice
double that will be remembered for days to come.
Smiles and fish....I love shots like this!
Oh, and did I mention that the fish Will is holding in the
above photo (the double shot) was his first. What a way to
get it started....showing Dad that you can hang with him!
Sometimes you wish you could capture the pure joy that often comes in discussion following the release. Well, it just so happened that I kept shooting photos following the release this time to see what I could come up with. Here you see Will with a deep sense of joy and fulfillment all over his face. The contemplation in his countenance speaks of memories being imprinted for life!
I caught will in the seconds after the release...you can see the
gears turn as he reflects on how cool that experience was!
Well, it was back to fishing as soon as we could get back to it. We had several more hook-ups, but nothing to the bag. Bo and Dad both lost fish, and then all at once, it was the dynamic duo back at work. Can you say another father/son double? It was really cool. Will hooks up and I look up stream to see Phil raising his rod on a fish of his own....what a day!
Would you believe that they did it again...Phil's other
son Bo is in the background in disbelief as Dad
and brother put another double in the bag.
Well, before too long, Will wanted to get the feel for the other side of the experience. He was standing close to his Dad when Phil hooks up. Will looks at me with excitement and says, "Can I net him?" I hesitantly looked back and said, "Sure, if you think you can handle it!"
So, off Will races for the net on the shore. In the meantime, Phil worked the fish down and back toward shore. Will came racing in and this is where the real steelhead school took place! I was shouting out the do's and don'ts trying to help him be successful, but in the end, the inevitable happened.
Since Will was doing so well with catching fish, he
decided that he would give netting fish a try....good decision?
Well, after the attempt, Dad decides it wasn't such a good
idea and Will is left with the question, "What did I do wrong."
That was the next lesson I taught him....ha, ha.
Well, the day went on and many fish were put in the bag, but one thing was a lingering, nagging thing in my mind. Bo, Phil's older son, had not put a fish in the bag despite several hook-ups throughout the day! This was leaving my day incomplete and I know it was eating at him too!
The day was quickly coming to a close and I was fearing the worst. Not wanting to admit defeat, I resolved to fishing longer than normal in order to put that final fish in the bag. As we traversed the river heading back toward the truck, more fish were caught, but no matter how hard I tried to get Bo a fish, we just couldn't get it done. I finally parked him in the last hole and said, if there are any fish left to fish for, they will be right over there in that deep cut under the fast water seam you can see.
I finally came to the place or resolve and made the declaration, "Give it another dozen casts and let's reel it up and call it a day....so, if there was ever a time to get it done, now is it!" With that declaration, I backed off and headed back to get gear around for the walk back. Not a half dozen casts went by when I heard him say, I got one.
I scurried for the net, coaching him the entire way. I was hoping and praying that the fish would stay buttoned up and punctuate the day. Well, punctuate it did! In the words of Hannibal from the old tv show A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together!"
After a long day, Bo finally in the last five casts of the day,
finally sticks his fish and puts it in the bag. It was the last minute
shot, the 85 yard kickoff return, the game winner! Way to go Bo!!!
The days have grown much colder and shorter since this day a week or so ago, and based on conditions looks to be my final trip for 2010. 2011 looks to be a stellar year with many big plans already in the works.
Thanks to all of our clients who came and entrusted us with a day of your time! We know how valuable it is and trust that you had as good a time as we did!
Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Steelhead Alley Outfitters