Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thanksgiving Day

In between visiting dealers, reading reviews, and calling insurance companies about a new vehicle, I was able to escape yesterday to resume my quest for that first steelhead of the season (although some of my fellow Ontario bloggers have already beaten me to it).

The destination was the Nottawasaga River. The "Notty" is a beautiful river most notably during this time of year when the colours of autumn complement her from all angles. It is a relatively large system with its headwaters starting in the Niagara Escarpment and Oak Ridges Moraine. 122 or so kilometres and 4 tributaries (Boyne, Pine, Mad, Bear) later, it will take you to the mouth where it flows into Georgian Bay (Lake Huron) in the town of Wasaga Beach. Jeff and I were on the road by 5:00am to arrive at the river just before first light.

After 6 hours of fishing and a few missed hits by weary passerbys, we were ready to go home with our tails between our legs. It wasn't until the last 10 minutes of fishing that I finally connected to something. That something turned out to be an angry dime bright Steelhead in the 7-8lb range. At this point in the day, I was trying to cover as much water as possible by making 50 metre drifts (not recommended). It just so happened that the fish took my offering at the very end of one of them. I lazily lifted my rod and it immediately began to bounce as the Steelhead shook its head in disbelief (I was also in disbelief). Before I had time to deliberately set the hook, the fish took a determined run, rolled on the surface, performed a series of tailslaps as if to say, "thanks for trying", and threw the hook back at me. That was the only encounter I would have with this magnificent creature this day. All that time and effort invested for that one moment, and to loose it on a poor hookset has made me even more determined and "mad" ( read "insane") than before. But that's fishing for you.

I'm consistently being told that a fail-proof method of alleviating this condition is to visit a Western New York tributary where common side effects are sore arms, silly grins and feelings of euphoria. I may just have to try it as I'm all for naturopathic alternatives.


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