Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New friends and no salmon

Sunrise at Diversey Harbor

Last week, I put up a post on windycityfishing.com advertising I was going to try salmon fishing diversey on Frday, asking if any other WCF'ers were going to be there. I got a response from Osprey (who I later learned was also called Rob) who said he'd be there. Great! I know almost nothing about salmon fishing, maybe I could learn a thing or two... Or even more.

Walking up to the wall at the mouth around 5am, I said hello and met Rob. After our introductions, I immediately proceeded to tangle my line beyond repair. First cast.

Rob was nice enough to help me fix my line, and another fisherman came over to assist. I felt horrible to show my noob-ness so quickly and keep them from casting- but I was also thankful for their help! After a few minutes, my line was cut, we pocketed the birdsnest, and Rob tied on some terminal tackle for me.

Throughout the next few hours, Rob and I talked about fishing, and other stuff, but mostly fishing. He'd been fishing a long time, and although I was extremely new to the sport, he was nice enough to share some tidbits of information. Like that the salmon we were fishing for were put there to bring down the alewife population. I knew the salmon were stocked, but I was foggy about the specific reasons. Or why a longer flexible rod can be a good thing. Stuff like that. Rob also let me use a bunch of his lures- there were a lot of names I'm foggy on, but I think some of them were clackin' raps, and one was a J-13 (or something like that).

A great day for fall fishing
It was great- I have to admit; as much as I love the internet, and I've learned my fair share of stuff staring at my computer screen, there is no substitute for conversation with another person. Especially when the other person knows stuff you don't.

After an hour or two, a guy near us started battling a fish- I tried to hide my gaping jaw and kid-at-christmas...These were serious hardcore fishermen, they didn't necessarily need to know how giddy I was.

The fish jumped, ran, splashed, lept, ran again, but the hookset was good. Rob grabbed his (giant) net and helped the guy land the fish. It was a great looking fish, although not quite as big as the salmon last week. They said it was a 7 pound coho, which wasn't huge.

Seriously, I'm glad I didn't catch it, I would have been giggling like a school-girl amazed at its size!

I payed close attention to the lure he had caught it on- I think it was a 3/4oz silver and green Mr. Cleo spoon. I had one of those! It's so great to know I'm not too far off base- I actually had in my collection stuff that would catch these fish. Pretty soon I tied one on - to a swivel, since I recently learned why that's a good idea - and began casting.

A little while later another WCF'er, Handler (Alex) showed up, ready to catch the big one. His dad caught a MONSTER king the week before; I showed the picture he texted to me to pretty much everyone I saw that day. What a monster. So huge. That was a big part of why I hadn't stopped casting, given up, and called it a day. The idea that THOSE are right here in the lake, swimming around, and all I have to do is figure out what will annoy them... That's why I was there.

And think about the facebook profile pic. That would be some real fisherman street cred. (Or would it?)

Engaged in fishing conversation, oblivious to my lure, I suddenly get some kind of hit on my spoon. It wasn't weeds or rocks, but it wasn't like a bass or bluegill- it was different. Maybe it was a salmon! Re-energized, I continued casting, desperately trying to remember what I had been doing when I got the hit.

After a few more hours, nobody had hooked into anything, and I don't think anybody even had a bump. They were jumping (the fish) but had no interest in anything any of us were throwing.

Rob called it a day, and some others left too. Eventually Alex moved to a different spot, and I was still fishing, but with a new group of people. Some old guys gave me tips about salmon fishing, which I appreciated, but their tips were mostly about all the big fish they'd caught. Not exactly helpful in that moment.

I was casting a wildly gaudy rattling crank (or is it rat-L-trap?), which every third cast got followed by something big and brown. Again, distracted by conversation, I thought it was my imagination at first. Paying more attention, I saw the full outline of the fish. I couldn't identify it or see how big it was, but it was BIG and BROWN. Brown trout! flashed through my head. But for all I know it could have been some new kind of rock bass I don't know exists.

I stuck around another half hour, egged on by this phantom brown shadow, teasing me. Why wouldn't he take it?? Obviously it had some interest, why not just take the lure already?

And then, I was done. I had been standing, casting, and talking for many hours. My coffee was empty. I hadn't caught any fish. I had to go to work. I was frustrated. It was time.

Would I be back to catch one this year? I wanted to land one, but wasn't jumping for joy at the idea of casting for another 5 hours with no pictures of fish. On the other hand, the conversation, friendship, and of course tips from Rob and the others had been invaluable... So for that, I'd probably do it again.

But it sure would be nice to hook into a monster!

The Big Lake

1 comment:

  1. Another great post, cb-fishees! Those bumps will definitely wake you up and/or knock you out of the daze you get into after countless casts. I've been skunked every time out as well this year and only have one bump to show for it. Trust me though, when you do hook up with one of these fish it makes all the time and effort worth it. There's nothing like hooking into a Great Lakes Salmon from shore!


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