At the very least, the 2007 opener was better numbers-wise for me than 2006. A late spring and water temperatures that are still relatively low for this time of year, coupled with a decent rain the day before, made for very good opening day festivities.
I was lucky at every turn, where fish are concerned, as I had enough rain and room when I needed them. I fished four tributaries, and only one was low and clear when I fished it. Otherwise, the conditions that greeted me were always good.
I got to fish with my father again this opener, as well as my good friend Khalid for at least one day. We all caught fish and are very satisfied with our opener.
The only one that is not satisfied is my camera. My camera did not enjoy this opener as much as it normally would have, nor did my blood pressure or my centrepin reel for that matter. What? you say... Let me explain.
First, on day two, fishing the upper reaches of one of my favourite Lake Ontario tributaries, my reel began to feel as though something were grinding inside. As any good fool would do, I proceeded to remove the screw that keeps the assembly together, dipping the reel in the water to remove whatever grime was causing the problem, and dropping the screw into about 3 feet of fast moving water.
I can't see down there because the water is still somewhat murky from Friday's rain. I move away a little and begin to peer into the water. I look and look and look - there it is! Excited, shocked out of the grief that had so tightly gripped me a moment before, I reached down into the freezing cold water and came up with the screw; got it!; and a pantfull of water. You see, I usually sling my camera around my neck & tuck it in my waders for safe keeping. But it's not that safe when the waders get water in them. Wet camera. Oh &*^%&^! The camera is still sitting on top of my fridge, all compartments open, in the vain hope that it will dry up and retain some of its functionality... more updates to come on that one!
This was not the end of my keystone routine. On Wednesday, the final day of my Mykissian odyssey, I had turned from the upper reaches of a Georgian Bay tributary and was headed home. I needed to make it to the car before 3pm, so I could make it back in time to pick up my boys at daycare. I was in a hurry and got careless, which is not a good thing to do on a river with a clay bottom, and a good, steep gradient.
SPLASH! CRASH! I find myself on all fours, covered in clay, with my face nearly plastered against my reel. I sigh. Nothing seems broken. I feel around with my nerves. Toes: ok. Knees: good. Arms: yep. Hands: uh oh. Uh oh is right. My left hand is having a problem. The palm of my left hand, in particular, looks to have a hook embedded in it. Yes. The hook is in there. Right. That would explain
THE SEARING PAIN! OOOWWWW!!!!!
...Which was being exacerbated by the fact that the hook had been holding onto the wire hook rest, near the rod's handle, but had been pulled through it during my fall; and it was now being pulled back hard by the tension in the rod. Talk about being shackled! I was covered with clay and very goofily caught in my own trap. Ugh.
It took a few moments to calm down, but I finally did. Then, I slowly unwound the reel to give myself some slack, cut the line with my pliers and rinsed off both clay-caked hands. It's a good thing that the water was cold, because it helped numb the area from which I had to - with a very quick movement - rip out the hook. It was just a small hook, with a small barb. Two days later, the barest little pinprick remains to tell the story.
There's always so much more to tell, such as the immense male from a very small eastern Ontario tributary, who jumped twice at least 4 feet in the air before prying himself free; a new spot to fish, nestled in high cliffs and adorned with cedar, pine and birch; my father's amazing addiction to Tim Horton's blueberry fritters and of course, as always, Laura's immense generosity for giving up her favourite helper for such long periods of time.
This season's done for me, except for perhaps one last trip. The next rain may find me bidding my little friends adieu in a way which they undoubtedly feel uncomfortable, but which restores me to myself, nature and the fish's beautiful