Sunday, August 1, 2010

Days 14 to 21

I haven't had much time to post, so this will cover the past week of fishing. I finished Day 21 today (Sunday), and these photos cover 14-21. I have only 9 days left (and Cheryl is counting them down with great joy!). I will almost be glad when its over too; there are a lot of things I should have been doing that I haven't. The house needs my attention...and Cheryl too.

I've been enjoying seeing waters in so many different conditions. I haven't ventured out onto new water each time, and have repeatedly gone back to the same water 2-3 days in a row, or at least again within a few days. Seeing the water in all different weather, times, temperature has been fascinating and educational. I have learned that I could fish one body of water the rest of my life and only begin to become truly familiar with it.

Day 15 was rough. I was really very sick this day and seriously considered not going. I waited until the last parts of the day to go, and dragged myself out figuring that it'd be worth the pain to keep this going. I had at least a 101 degree fever and every step was work. I went to Jefferson Lake in Forest Park because it's relatively close and I hadn't done any "urban angling" yet in these "30 days of fishing."

After catching a small bass and this small Greenie, I left and went back to bed. What a day.

Day 16 had me feeling slightly better, and since it was Cheryl's birthday we headed out together to Six Flags. Driving into the park, stressing about when I'd go fishing, I saw two small ponds that looked very fishy. We passed them by and I spent the day screaming on roller coasters...thinking about fishing.

I survived the rides and nourished myself back into enough health to make sure I could get out fishing in the evening and put Day 16 on the books. On the way home we stopped at a Conservation Area that had some good fishing. Until this day, I had caught at least a few fish each time out. Until this day. Arriving on the water, I found a young mother and her son bobber fishing. They were locals, but hadn't much fished that particular water. I pointed them to the two prime spots, mentioned that the bass are "right there" and set on my way across the pond. As I was walking, I heard splashing coming from their area, looked around and saw them pulling up a nice little bass. I was a better guide than a fisherman that day, catching nothing myself. Conditions seemed perfect; I had all the right spots, the right flies, and perfect casts. I suppose sometimes the fishing gods have to humble the keep them faithful.

Day 17 was interesting. I had my car inspections due this week that necessitated a great deal of repairs to my aging volvo. As a part of the repairs, I was instructed that I had to drive "a couple of hundred miles to reset the computer." So, figuring that I had to drive at least 250 miles in a day and a half, I concocted a fishing trip. It just so happened that Little Dixie CA is 115 miles from my house, making for an ideal automobile-diagnostic drive. After wandering in the opposite direction of the lake north of Hwy 70 and waving at and getting waved at by every local passed, I moved south and found the lake. I was a little nervous if I'd get any fishing in after that long of a drive. The fishing came, however.

I got on the water right at late-dusk, found my spot down a rocky shore and immediately started catching fish (to my delight).

I was happy to be reeling in BG after BG, none too large, but all fun to catch and even more fun to release. I started on slow-sinking flies like brim-killers, but soon moved to topwater.

All the fish were tight into structure, making for a trip that hit my flybox pretty hard. I forget now how many flies I lost, how many tippets I retied and retied, but it ended up being worth it in the end. I replenished my fly supply the next day anyway.

I started heading back to the car when the time approached 8pm, knowing that I had a 2hr drive ahead of me.

I moved over to a fishy looking cove that was pretty choked with water grass and trees. I really started catching fish here--all on hopper topwater. This was what I came for!

I caught so many fish, in fact, that I drew the attention of another local fisher. After ten or so BGs and Greens, I caught a small 5" BG that really caught the attention of this Cottonmouth. I didn't see the snake until he'd come all the way out of the weeds (about 2' from me) and started "swimming" toward my catch. I had no time to react and the fish was just far enough out that I couldn't whip it into shore out of harms way. Before I knew it, the snake struck the BG and was locked on. I panicked for a moment knowing that there was no way I could get the snake to release the fish. This was a permanent situation! I quickly ran through the grocery list of options: Leave my rod behind and leave (no), cut my flyline and leave (no), cut my leader and leave ( was my only Deercliff leader and there was no way I'd ruin that), try to tangle the snake-n-fish up in some weeds and attempt break the tippet (yes). I successfully worked the snake (which fought ridiculously well, very sporting!) into a weed stand and began carefully pulling the line back. I figured I'd either break free of the pair or I'd pull the snake free and send it catapulting toward my face. The former happened, and with my heart racing tried to catch a few photos and went my separate way. What an outing.

I can't remember what day this was, but I headed out to BWCA lake 10 for some more action. I was just ahead of yet another nasty afternoon storm. I stuck around long enough to enjoy the good fishing, and carefully watched and listened for my cue to bug out.

I caught several bass and several BG, all on topwater. This was one of those fun, but very relaxed outings that make fishing truly restorative. I moved out in time to stay dry, but I second guessed that decision the rest of the day. There were a lot more fish out there that I could have caught. I enjoyed leaving dry for a change though.

Day 20 had me on the water at 5am with a new fishing buddy. We had a good time catching some big 'gills and getting to find out what makes the other person tick (it was fishing, by the way...go figure).

The fishing was steady, and had me wishing I could stay longer. Reality intruded and I knew I had to get going to take care of a few things before I had to get myself to work.

Figuring I probably could do one or two fewer things, I stayed and wandered down to a nearby creek for some more fishing. An overnight storm had dramatically raised the water level and the runoff completely muddied the waters. This made for new fishing conditions for me on this creek, and I only caught a few Greens and a Chub. It was still nice to be back home on stream-water.

Day 21 had me out at Des Peres park catching a few dozen 'gills and blue-green hybrids. I didn't take a single photo; I don't know why. I'll take enough tomorrow to make up for that. The days are running together so much that I don't ever so much know what day of the week it is, what the date is, or what I fished yesterday...I only know what day of fishing I'm on.

Tomorrow is Day 22. Nine days to go. ...if I stop at 30.

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