Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oncorhynchus mykiss- the Sequel

During the week following the previous incident I pondered the situation over and over. The three times it came to mind, I still was not able to find an alternative explanation. I hadn't seen or heard from Murph the entire day, so I cautiously ruled him out.

A few days later I made another excursion to the creek. Lessons had been learned from the previous trip and since the creek was empty when I arrived, I started casting like crazy at the dam. I was using the same set up as before, the fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs.

I found the fast and furious approach at the dam interesting. The water was flowing so fast at the base of the dam, by the time I had the bail on my reel closed, the hook and bait were already flying by me in the water. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to notice a fishing hitting the hook, let alone set the hook if it all occurred before I could close the bail. Nonetheless I kept the pace up, hoping I would learn by fire.

In the middle of the fast and furious session I made a cast somewhat across the current of the creek, just to try something different. As I released the line on the cast the pole felt like it was cast something much heavier than just a simple fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs. I wondered what had happened. I started to wonder if I had hooked into a small steelie and never noticed and had cast it back out into the water.

As I retrieved the line I watched the rod tip for an indication the monster steelie had taken the ruse of my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs as something it wanted to eat. After reeling approximately half the line back in, I noticed the rod tip wasn't where the rod tip was supposed to be. In fact the upper half of my rod was completely missing in action. I wondered where it could have gone, without me noticing. Odd. Again something must be afoot.

Once I had reeled in nearly all the line, part of the question was answered. The top half of my rod was hanging out with my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs. Why I am not sure, but it proved again something was afoot... but just what it was remained a mystery. They had spent most of the week hooked together in the back of the sled, so maybe the upper half of the rod missed the fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs. One thing for certain, I very rarely cast half my rod into the water. Only half dozen, or so, times a season.

After reassembling my rod and doing the fast and furious for a bit longer, I decided to move on to something a little bit slower paced. Time was slowly ticking off the clock of when I needed to pickup Monkey from the institute of higher education, and it was obvious no self respecting steelie was going to be found at the base of the dam, in the strongest current on the creek. I don't blame them, why fight to stay in place when you can lounge in a slow moving hole and chill out for a bit?

The weather on this day was very mild, warm and the sun was shining bright over head. Since steelies are known to have sharp eyes and spook at the slightest hint of danger, from in the water or above, I sneaked around the banks with the highly lacking skills I use to stalk deer.

I carefully approached the hole where the guy “caught” the steelie after I had thoroughly fished the area a week earlier. Looking toward the center of the creek I was surprised by a steelie that was chillin' in the shallow water right near the bank. Our eyes meet at nearly the same time, well actually my eyes met the fishes tail and it burned rubber to get out of dodge.

How had I failed to see the fish before it saw me? My not finely tuned stalking skills should have given me first sight of the fish, not vice versa. What the heck was going on?

I still tossed my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs into the creek, thinking maybe his buddy was hungover after a long night at the bar or wasn't quite as astute as Mr. Steelie. It didn't work out. I fished for a while longer, never hooking into, or even seeing another steelie.

As I worked my way back out to the sled, I come across another guy fishing on the opposite side of the bank where I had spooked Mr. Steelie. He seemed to be concentrating on something in the water. I offered the obligatory wave and moved on. I checked the area around where Mr. Steelie had been hanging out and noticed a second set of footprints, aside from mine. The print looked familiar. I made a mental note of the print and went on my way.

After returning to Nimrod Ranch, I noticed boot prints in the dirt of the drive. I checked them against the mental picture I had taken at the creek. Sure enough they matched and no they weren't mine. Being the creek is only about a mile from Nimrod Ranch, I bet Murph got off his lazy behind and walked over there to try and cover his tracks. The finger prints from the upper half of my fishing rod are still being analyzed but I don't think there is any secret of what the results will be.

The spring run of Oncorhynchus mykiss is about to peak and you can bet Nimrod will keep at 'er. One of these years I may just luck into one and be able to share a picture.

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Ahhh... nothing like the smell of fish as Winter snows melt and Spring rains come. The mix offers an interesting sort of fishy lake or river smell. I love it and just goes to show spring is for fishing and turkey hunting, but that's a story for later.

With the melting snow and spring rain, the famous Oncorhynchus mykiss returns from Lake Michigan to their original hatching ground to spawn... ya know make little Oncorhynchus mykiss's.

Since a large majority of the fish are hatched at hatcheries, I often wonder how they get back to the rearing ponds when they aren't connected to any rivers or such that meet with Lake Michigan. Maybe the Oncorhynchus mykiss are smart enough to know what river the DNRE dumps them into out of the truck? Only the Oncorhynchus mykiss really know.

Either way Oncorhynchus mykiss are not only a lot of fun to catch or at least trying to catch them, but offer some of the best table fare you will find at the end of your line.

Huh? Whats a Oncorhynchus mykiss? Really? Don't you have google, too? That's where I found the scientific name for the steelhead.

After dropping Monkey off at his institute of higher education, I talked Yoop into letting me stop at the local bait and ammo shop. I ran in grab some eggs and ran out. Munda didn't even miss me. Of course she was out cold in a midday nap, but still didn't miss me.

We slid home in the sled and I dropped of Yoop and Munda to continue the midday nap and off I went to the local steelhead honey hole. Not exactly a honey hole, but a creek that runs off the main river in the area.. and a place the steelies are known to come up during Spring.

There were a group of guys right at the bottom of the damn. They were casting over and over and over again. My arms were getting tired watching them for 15 seconds. It looked like a lot of work and was already a bit crowded so I moved to a place further downstream. I would have this spot all to myself and would not require as much casting.

I loaded up my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a mesh knit bag of eggs and sent it on its way to the creek. I kept a watchful eye on it as it float with the current, bobbing in and out of view. I waited eagerly for the fish I knew were nearby to swim out and snatch the offering but to no avail. Odd. Seems like any fish in the creek would come swimming to a bait that resembled the eggs laid by the female of their species tied in a small mesh bag.

The bait floated its way into a nearby bush in the water and got hung up on one of the branches

Realizing this wasn't the way things were supposed to go I got suspicious instantly. Something was afoot. I wasn't sure exactly what it was but I knew something was.

I gave my pole a quick jerk and the mystery got more confusing. At the point in the jerk where all my strength was put on the line the hook didn't come free. The twig didn't snap. The hook didn't straighten. For what was at the time an unknown reason the line snapped at the eyelet of the hook. After I reeled in the line, I carefully examined the broken end to find the knot I carefully tied had come undone. Weird. In all my too many years of tying knots in fishing line this had only happened a few dozen times a year. So this occurrence was certainly a rarity and again I could tell something wasn't right.

I tied another hook on the line and placed a bag of eggs on the new hook and again tossed it into the current. This time I was careful to keep the hook away from the shore bushes, at least until I could figure out what had happened before.

After awhile of trying different parts of the current I decided to move a little further downstream. Maybe the Oncorhynchus mykiss hadn't made it all the way up to the dam yet. While I worked a spot about 75 yards downstream I saw another guy walk up to where I was previously at. I tried to tell him there weren't any fish there but he couldn't hear me.

As time wound down on my excursion, and the need to pick up Monkey on time out weighing the desire to catch a fine Oncorhynchus mykiss, I wrapped everything up. I reeled in my line and picked up my net. As I set off for the sled the guy who was fishing where there wasn't any fish began to yell.

At first I thought he had fallen into the creek or had snagged himself with his hook. I quick stepped to him and as I got closer he said he needed a net. Odd I thought for someone who had fallen into the creek or snagged himself with a hook. Then I realized he must have dropped something in the water.

As I reached the man in distress he said its right there, pointing to the water. I looked down expecting to see a cell phone or wallet at the bottom. Instead I saw a nice sized male Oncorhynchus mykiss. Instinctively I scooped the net into the water and got the fish. I carried it to where the man was standing and set it into the grass.

“He asked is that big enough?”

Since the only need to be 10 inches to keep, and this one was about 20 inches or more. I replied “Yes.”

“Ok, I have only been here 10 minutes and this is more than enough for me.”

I forced a smile and told him congrats, I have to go.

As I finished my walk to the sled I pondered how he caught a fish in a spot I knew there were none. My mind wandered but I knew one thing for sure. That fish could not have been there 10 minutes before hand or else he would have snatched up my offering way before that of this other guy.

I think Murph had put him up to hooking a Oncorhynchus mykiss to his bait before he put it in the water; its the only conceivable way he would have “caught” anything out of that hole

I met the luck fisherman in the parking area. I offered him more false congratulations for the second time, started the sled and left to get Monkey.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mid Winter Blahs

Ahhh. Hope y'all didn't think Ole Nimrod fell of the face of the earth. I am sure you have been thinking of me. I've had all the readers on my mind too.. wondering why in the heck they come back and read my ramblings. But hey I won't complain about a symbiotic relationship. You get to feel better about yourself and I get to ramble and think people care... its win-win!

Anywho, the past month has been a rough one around the Nimrod house. Munda was sick with a double ear infection (think that girl prolly would have had a quadruple one if she had 4 ears). Yoop and Monkey has had a few bouts with sickness too. Ole Nimrod fought off the dreaded coughing monster and saved my voice from destruction. Came on nearly the exact same time as last year but I went and the doc gave me everything she had and knocked it out of the park.

Besides whining about being sick not much else has been happening.

Grey Beard and I took Monkey on his first ice fishing trip. Kid did well. Better than his dad did at his age. We all caught a few fish but had a bunch of fun. Good thing Murph is scared of frozen water. He stayed at baseops while the men went out on the hard water. I think I need to start ice fishing more.. sure keeps Murph outta by business. Too bad the season is so short.

Besides that I have spent one afternoon in the woods or on the hard water. Gotta love life when your sick and busy. That afternoon was eventful though. I have been trying to get a picture of some turkeys in the snow but failed. Got some over exposed pictures of some tracks but the maker of the track remained elusive. A beautiful female Pileated woodpecker gave me a show, all with in camera range for a change. I have been trying to get some shots of one for well over a year... patience does pay off, on occasion.

While I was out, trudging through knee deep snow with a nice ice layer on top, watching the Pileated, trying to see turkeys, Yoop went to get Monkey from his institute of higher education. Traveling the same road she does everyday. This time however Murph decided to play a trick on her instead of me.

Not being one to agree with picking on girls, I found it some what funny. Yoop had her own joy in the situation given no damage was done to the sled and no one was injured. Murph was hiding on the side of the road, near where a rafter of thunder chickens were waiting to cross the road. As Yoop approached Murph must have goosed the bird and it took flight.

Yoop described what followed as happening in slow motion. She said she say the thunder chicken approaching the shoulder of the road. As it neared the pavement, something caused the beast to take flight in a perfect trajectory for the sleds grill.

As ya know Yoop is a country girl from way back. She has driven a few miles along country roads in her short time on Gods wonderful earth. Instead of swerving like some crazy city girl, she calmly depressed the brake pedal to change the bearing from the grill to a bearing where the beast would just skim the top of the windshield and slide along the roof. Now that's talent my friends. Not only did she prevent the sled from sustaining any damage, she did so in style. That's my girl!

I have not heard the end of how I labored through a mile walk in knee deep snow with a layer of ice and not seeing a turkey to how she turned missing roadkill into an event with much Olympic potential. Blah blah blah.. but she didn't get to see the pecker up close.

Winter is almost over around us. Sun is starting to show itself more and more. Snow is slowly but surely melting into puddles stuck on the frozen ground. With approaching spring Yoop and Monkey have started their annual pre-spring flower seed planting. But this year is different. In addition to planting the seeds I let the crazies (Yoop and Monkey if your not following me) talk me into making another spring like purchase.

Yoop is well aware of my inability to build anything that will stand long than a few weeks. I can draw things out, I understand how it will work once together but give me the wood, nails, screws, etc and I will turn a perfect drawing into an object Picasso would be proud of. So when the crazies approached me about buying the other sign of spring I thought it was a joke.

“You want me to build what for what??” I asked.

“It won't be that hard. Its just a box and some fencing around it” she replied.

Knowing better I said “Yeah I guess your right, sure we can.”

So we made a special journey into town and Monkey picked out a couple little feathered friends.

The crazies are looking forward to fresh supply of eggs. I am looking forward to building a coop for them like I am looking forward to prostate exams when I turn 40.

Monkey is not only looking forward to the eggs but he told me “Daddy when we get ready to cook them they won't be chirping anymore.”

“Buddy, your right.”

“They only thing the will be doing then is soaking up the BBQ sauce" he replied.

The apple sure doesn't fall fair from the tree.