It was warm, probably somewhere in the high 50s or low 60s, with heavy cloud cover, and a slight foggy haze enveloped everything.
Smelled like steelhead, indeed.
And while I could not make it to the river today, I know there were probably a few hundred bug chuckers who did. Some of those long rodders were running Estaz eggs off an indicator; others were swinging Akroyds on a 500 grain Skagit and six feet of T-14. Some were probably hooking up, especially early in the morning, and again in the afternoon. A select few were likely hooking up all day. Some of those fellas - the boys hooking fish throughout the day - are tormented by a disease euphemistically dubbed Pulaski Palsy.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Volume IV classifies Pulaski Palsy as an offshoot of Tourette's Syndrome, although the research on a correlation is a little spotty. Pulaski Palsy - or PP as it's known amongst bug chuckers - is characterized by problems in communication between brain cells, a misfiring of the synapses that will usually manifest itself during the initial run of chinook salmon into Lake Ontario's tributaries. The resultant symptoms rarely subsist until the last of the following year's summer run steelhead have dropped back into the lake.
The real danger of PP, the reason we desperately need to find a cure, is the tics often associated with the disease. Initially presenting as excessive, inane speech, these involuntary movements often progress to a violent flailing or jerking of the limbs.
The men and women featured in the following video clearly suffer from Pulaski Palsy, and seem to indicate the spread of the disease beyond the northeastern United States.
As the video demonstrates, the earliest research into the affliction suggested that PP was limited to bait chucking fishermen and lead slinging snaggers. Later studies indicate, however, that Pulaski Palsy is not species-specific; an increasing number of cases amongst bug chuckers has been reported in the area in and around the Lower Fly Fishing Zone of New York's, Salmon River. Standing on the bridge in Altmar and looking upstream, one may see any number of fly fishermen - and the disease does seem to effect men more so than women - who set the hook with ever increasing frequency and rapidity. Every twitch of a bobber or stoppage of the line causes the victim's arms to jerk up and to the side, up and to the side, up and to the side.
Currently, there exists only one known treatment for Pulaski Palsy. This remedy demonstrates 100% efficacy, although multiple applications may be necessary.