Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So it Begins...

Summer, though it's only just starting to feel like it, is coming to an end, but one might have problems convincing the Chinook salmon of this. A couple of cold nights in early August seem to have been enough to call them up from the deeps, into the little hot-tub creeks of our little stretch of the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. But this was followed by only very few nights with temperatures less than 18 degrees Celsius, and many days exceeding 30C.

The salmon did not fare well. I fished a local tributary, just as a veritable monsoon rolled in, causing the river to swell up and vomit its ghastly flotsam of white, stinking, bloated salmon corpses. Most of them showed no signs of having spawned or even having fought with an angler. They were mostly casualties of the ungodly heat that has descended over our area since early May, and which seriously ramped up in the weeks after the first cool nights of August. Still, good numbers of them are in our rivers, now, and they provide an opportunity for all kinds of different anglers to catch something big.

For myself, after a couple of eventless outings... Well, not entirely "eventless." On Labour Day, I was fortunate to be able to spend the morning on one of my favourite rivermouths and - though the fishing was quite slow - I managed to hook into one fish. I was toting the thickset 3-piece XST, strung up with 12lb nanofil; and the force in this blank, in concert with the bony mouth of the salmon which took my offering, equated a flat tip on a hook that appears to have been far too soft. It pulled out quickly, and I had no more takes after that.

Later, while attempting to cross a deeper section, I slipped and fell and took a refreshing bath. Only last night, I found out that the only thing I lost was among the most precious: the cigar cutter that Ed gave me so long ago, for being the M.C. at his wedding. I still have hope that I somehow forgot where I put it, after pulling it from my sodden waders, but a couple of hours of scouring the car and the house have so far failed to reveal its whereabouts. Most likely, it's with the ashes: at the bottom of our little river.

Anyway, on the morning of the 6th, I had no real plans to fish - except that Oliver and his friend, Kevin, were going to pass through, and I couldn't resist the temptation to wet a line with them even if only for an hour before heading into work. Oliver was very keen, as he's mostly fished for Steelhead and had never really targeted Salmon.

Oliver's morning started a little slowly. Although he had a couple of hookups, he didn't manage anything solid. He tried a few different things, but none of them succeeded to ignite the fish. I managed to land one myself and, having to leave almost as soon as I released the fish, I discussed rigging and presentation with Oliver while he walked me back to my car. As I left, I could see the positive energy in his step: so long as the fish kept coming - and they were coming in droves - I felt that he would have a good day.

So then, my day descended into the doldrums that are so ubiquitously imposed on adult life, through the daily processing of the routine of basic subsistence: to eat, you must work. And while I worked, Oliver was also working; his biceps mostly. 

Back at the river, he had adjusted his rig and was hammering fish in earnest. He and his buddy cleared a swath in the river, fighting fish up river, down river and across. When I was in a meeting discussing the administration and implementation of measures toward mitigation of impact on shareholders of various cost saving initiatives - Oliver and Co. were wrestling large, swarthy, brawny Chinooks onto the riverside, hauling them up for pictures.

Between them, their conquests exceeded forty fish, by day's end - and somehow fresh skein found its way to my doorstep - imagine that!

I would be way more jealous if I didn't know how much fun was had, and I didn't receive almost too much thanks for it - I'm not the "Rain God," Oliver... you are!