I had one hour this morning in which to test out a hunch (which was also a tip) and hopefully catch a fish. And it was a near thing.
One thing about being short on time is that one has no real choice as to the destination. I knew that I had no more than an hour today, because I needed a) a haircut and b) to be home in time (9:00am) to head for Santa Claus's Bowmanville hideout to have pictures taken with the boys.
I met my curfew, but about 20 minutes late. I'll explain later. But I should tell you now that the Christmas activities of meeting up with Santa and shopping at the Pickering Town Centre are anything but normal, when your prime reason is a special needs child. Most of my hockey games require less stamina than this. We didn't get a single picture where both boys were looking at the camera or even looking semi decent. In all the pictures, either Samuel or Isaac or Santa is out of kilter. At the PTC, I was amazed at Isaac's tenacity and stamina. I spent more than half the time wrestling with him - either to keep him from ripping open every shoe box in the mall, or from running off into oblivion, in the middle of the bustling crowd, indeterminately toward wherever without any consideration of where the rest of us (Laura, Samuel and I) might be.
When we got home, Isaac woke up on cue. As usual, after a long outing, he fell asleep on the way home, and as usual he woke up as soon as we parked in the driveway. Samuel, after my own heart, had no idea and slept right through. Laura took Isaac into the house & I decided to stay in the van & nap with Samuel. Angelic son! Not only did he help corral his brother all day, but he slept like a log when we got home; I woke myself up snoring.
I thought, then, as I was waking up, that I should take my roe into the house to put it back in the fridge, and I should rinse off my waders with the hose. I should probably also upload the few pictures I took this morning to my photobucket account. This exercise also reminded me that I had been rather lucky this morning.
The water at "river X" was extremely low. I had had a description of a section of the river that had fished well a couple of days ago, and I immediately went in search of it in the morning. It should have been at least 6 feet deep, but I found no such depth anywhere in the lower section. The reason of course is that the extended drought that ended just a week ago, caused all rivers in this area to clear and drop much quicker than usual. "River X" was no exception, and I was astounded at how dismally low and clear it was, even following a 20 mm rain - less than 3 days ago. In fact, the river was lower than I've ever seen it, even in Summer and, at first, the geese were definitely more interesting (and more numerous) than the trout.
Under no circumstance would I have gone out to fish it, if I had known how low it would be. I would have stayed in bed and woken up whenever the boys did.
In any case, in spite of my quickly vanishing window of opportunity (having spent most of my hour gaging the water in the section to which I'd been directed) I fell back on my experience: steelhead, having ascended a river recently and now being faced with low water conditions will congregate where? In the deepest water available, that's where.
It took me about 7 drifts in the water described above, before I got a "tickle," that alerted me to the presence of fish; then I took one more drift, in a slightly better line, and the float shot down. This is the best part: the float didn't simply shoot down, it rocketed down. Hooking this fish was like scoring an empty net goal in hockey. No amount of inexperience would have sufficed to cause any angler to miss it. Conservatively, the white "René" jig was dragged down 10 inches when the fish struck. Within a tenth of a second, the float was nearly out of sight. One moment, it bobbed gleefully at the surface of the pool, then it was gone in a laser beam streak.
This all happened at about the time I should have been leaving the river, of course. A "good boy" might not have even gone fishing, but he surely would have been leaving at the time my float went down. So the roughly 9 lbs male steelhead was largely responsible for my fall from the status of "good boy." He fought long, despite having been in the river a while and not being as fresh as he once surely had been.
Nonetheless, my hair is now cleanly cut, and our family's day's activities are done.
And I have something to show for it, too.