Monday, April 27, 2009

The one that got away.

I left the brook feeling a bit dissappointed in myself the other day. I haven't yet prepped a stock of barbless hooks for this fishing season and so I have been fishing with a barbed hook on the end of my line. That, in itself is bad enough but it gets worse. I was fishing along a small brook and was having very little luck. It was an overcast day and rains the days before had the brook running fast and murky so I was not expecting to catch anything. I threw a half hearted cast into a pool that had a back eddy that would likely provide reprieve for a trout tired of swimming against the current. I felt a slight tug and at first thought I was just feeling the current pulling on my line. I pulled the line tight and then I felt what I knew now was a trout biting. I kept the line tight and waited a few more seconds before setting the hook. The fish fought and got itself under the undercut bank but I managed to keep the line taut and out of danger. Shortly I had the trout, a chunky 10", in my hand and worked the barbed hook out with relative ease. Then it happened. The trout flopped and I dropped it. I'm sure this has happened to every angler at some point or another and I know you can relate. I was standing on the bank and the trout lay flopping at my feet and as I moved to pick it up so I could release it I stepped on it. Now I didn't kill it when I stepped on it and I didn't step on it hard but next it flopped itself into the brook. I couldn't stop it and it had no time to revive and it started floating more than swimming downstream. My heart sank as I likely killed the trout. It was an accident but nonetheless I felt I should have been more careful. I hope that the fish survived and now I will have to release a trout I may have otherwise kept in that system.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Passing down lessons

I finally got to go fishing earlier on the weekend. I actually took my son to my parents place and we fished the small brook that I learned how to cast on. It was a thrill for me to be able to pass down to my son the lessons my father taught me while fishing almost the exact same holes I did when I was a kid. The water was still high so I was not expecting a lot of luck but I was hoping to catch at least. My biggest fear was that Seth would quickly lose interest if we weren't catching anything. As it turned out I had nothing to worry about. On the second cast I hooked a small trout and handed the pole to Seth and helped him reel in his first catch. We actually managed to hook 5 brookies in a little under an hour. We didn't actually keep any, although, atleast one of them was worth keeping for a meal. I told my son though the only way we could keep it was if he could hold it. Being only three though he was a bit apprehensive and needless to say we threw the fish back. It was fun to watch him light up though everytime we hooked a fish. He caught on to reeling the fish in real quick, but was not quite ready to hold the pole and set the hook yet. I am sure that will come in no time. After almost an hour it was time for him to go in and get ready for bed. I had to laugh when he started fussing saying "I want to catch another one. I'll hold him so we can keep him and show Grammy." I snickered as I thought to myself "Seth you're your fathers son for sure." I never wanted to go home when fishing either and I always wanted to show my mom the catch, despite the fact that she doesn't like fish. My fears ended up being unfounded and I found a new way to enjoy fishing and my fishing trips have started to take on a whole new angling.
On another note, today is earthday, so I hope everyone is able to pamper the earth a bit today. I know we all like to be pampered on our birthday so why not treat the earth the same way. Maybe you can bike to work today or walk to the corner store for milk tonight. Maybe you can sit with the lights off at work today or maybe buy some locally grown products for your lunch. If everyone makes an effort maybe the only earth we have will last a bit longer. Happy Earthday everyone.
The photo by the way is courtesy of my wife Michelle. Thanks honey. Before long I'll have you casting a line and baiting a hook too :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First Day of Fishing Season


It's here. Fishing season is upon us. Okay so maybe that was a bit of false excitement. I'm happy the season is open but right now I look out my window and still see snow sitting in the fields and the waters are still quite high. My species of choice is Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and I have found they tend to be sparse in these conditions and I usually have to wait until the first weeks of May before I have any solid outings. I can remember as a kid, not having any responsibilities such as work, getting home from school and dashing to the brook behind my parents place and casting that first line on the first day. It seemed back then I could always catch one or two trout on opening day.

Most local research will tell you fewer and fewer people are fishing and I struggle with this. Why would anyone not want to fish? Fishing can be a sport, a profession, or a past time. It can be exciting, relaxing, frustrating, and calming. Like life, fishing is what you make it so how can you not like it. You don't have to adhere to any strict schedule, you don't have a time limit, you don't have to worry about team mates or opponents. How can an activity get any simpler? I can't wait to cast my first line out into deep pool and feel that telling tug. I'll hopefully set the hook and reel in my prize, not knowing what it is until it breaks the waters surface.

Hope to see you on the water.