Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Boys' Day Out

There was a time when the father and son fishing trip was ubiquitous, a right of passage that every young boy looked forward to with hopeful anticipation and quiet speculation. How many of us remember that first serious trip; the first time Dad took us along not out of a sense of paternal obligation, but rather because we were the old-man's favorite fishing partner? I do, and I bet you do too.

And I remember my father's beaming smile as I played my first fly caught trout at least as vividly as I remember my own son's barbaric yawp when he hooked his very first fish, a six inch pumpkinseed.

Fishing - fly fishing in particular I think - is tailor made for fathers and their sons. There's a learning curve: different ways to cast, knots to tie, rivers to wade, currents to master. Fathers are the teachers, sons are the students, and the outdoors is their classroom.

And all of this is mentioned by way of introduction.

Two weeks ago, Shawn took his son RJ to the Salmon River in western New York. Along for the ride was Tim Daughton and his son Holden. Two fathers - both Orvis employees - and their adolescent sons sharing the water, sharing their passion. Good to see ... really good to see.

Wading into the river, Shawn asked his son if he felt ready to do battle. RJ's Reply ... I feel like a warrior. Warrior indeed ... that switch rod is nearly three times the size of the boy.
Tim and Holden bonding over a rapidly decomposing mud shark. Watching a hundred or so of those things beat the gravel with their tails, and get their collective groove on is something to see. Well done fellas ...

One of too many smallish browns. They caught a bunch of these things, a few five or six pound Atlantics, a couple kings, and hooked one monster brown and a couple other fish that were just too fast to identify - probably steelhead. Just the kind of fishing a young man needs: fast, furious, diverse and the potential for a hog.

Who is holding who? Looks like the fish is smiling, and RJ is just wishing the photographer would do his job already. Good stuff regardless.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day Trip

Today, Ben and I made the run out to the Salmon River. The trip was a bit impromptu; about halfway through the 2.5 hour drive I began to wonder if we had made a bad decision. The kings and cohos are still working their way up the river after all, and with those fish come the crowds. And yes ... the river was crowded, ridiculously crowded actually. Still, we managed to find some water for ourselves. We kept it to ourselves throughout most of the day, and the river gods were kind.

Hard not to appreciate autumn's colors.
Ben was the first to hook up.
This fish took Bennie about 50 feet into his backing, and it jumped eight or nine times. Something to see indeed.
My fish couldn't make up its mind about what it wanted to do ... that is, until Ben suggested it fought like a brown. At that point she decided to show us who was boss.
This trail isn't nearly so nice when there's two feet of snow on the ground.
Sometimes it's easy to forget to look up.
I don't know who Dave was, but apparently he was a bit of a d-bag, and clearly he wanted the whole world to know it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Season's Close

Well ... the general fishing season is about to come to a close here in New York. Aside from special regulation watersheds such as the Salmon River or the trophy section of the Battenkill, the rivers and lakes I frequent are about to begin six months of hibernation.

With that in mind, Shawn and I thought to hit the river just one more time before the government shuts us down for the year. We hoped to find a few autumn bruisers, but this was not to be. Instead, our efforts were rewarded by eight or ten smallish rainbows. They were fun to catch, but they weren't the grand send-off for which we were hoping.

Regardless, it was a good day to be on the water. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and neither air nor water were uncomfortable.

All things considered, I guess the day was just about right.

I secretly chuckled at the blaze orange underwear until some duck hunters fired their twelve-gauge shotguns over our heads. The pellets sliced through nearby trees. I then realized that Shawn is at least as smart as I am dumb.

Remember that movie Tommy Boy? "Richard look ... Fat guy in a little boat ... Fat guy in a little boat." I really shouldn't give my man too much grief. I weigh 30 pounds more than Shawn, and my Waterskeeter cries for its mother whenever I come near.

As some of you know, Shawn is one of the fly fishing product developers for the Orvis company. The boat pictured here is likely going to be a new addition to their product line. It is simply incredible. Frameless ... lighter than my boat ... ridiculously maneuverable.

I've really no idea just what a GigBob is ... but I want one. Do you hear me Santa Claus?

I'm yet to meet a dead merganser that I do not like. This one was likely the victim of a local bald eagle, as the carcass was perched atop a stump in the middle of the river, could not have been reached by any land-based predator, and was picked clean of every bit of flesh. Raptors 1 - Fish Gobbling River Chickens 0.