About a week ago Greg and I decided we needed a day off to see if the fish were still biting in the Clarks Fork River. The day we were going to skip work promised to be a gorgeous 50-60 degree day.
I had been suffering with a miserable cold that postponed the trip for awhile so I was really ready for it.
A guy has to go over his gear to make sure nothing is wrong and he has everything he will need. You don't want to get in the river and discover you brought only one boot along. Ya' get the drift here?
On the day in question, I got all my poles down, checked them for good strong line, selected the one with the best looking line and put the other poles back on the shelf. I'll re-string the other reels on a day when I have nothing better to do.
We are going to leave at noon so I start by getting my Mikes Hard lemonade, and peanuts in the shell ready. A guy really needs those peanuts, something about protein or the like. I'll make up any excuse to eat peanuts.
Couple of jackets to keep warm with and some dry socks in case mine get wet. I usually stand in the river a little to deep and the water wicks up my jackets and down into my boots. In other words I'm pretty careless as to how deep I go. Not to bad in the summer but Damn cold in the winter. Greg is ahead of schedule and off we go towards the mountains and a great day off of work.
An hour later we decide to check out under the bridge. Greg has caught fish here before but all I have caught here is a cold. There is also a giant owl that makes it's home under the bridge and I can hear it hooting almost as soon as we get out of the car.
Got those hip boots on, vest securely fastened, worms all ready to go, fishing pole and a reel that has the handle missing. WAIT A MINUTE, WHERE THE HELL IS THE HANDLE FOR MY REEL?
SHIT&$%$!^%$%##$!#$^&$^#$#%^%^&^$#% and a thousand other words fill the valley as I realize I had grabbed the pole that has the bad reel. I lost the handle in the river earlier in the year when the nut fell off the handle. Greg says we can take turns fishing but I am so pissed at myself all I want to do is drink Mikes and eat peanuts.
Having been in positions where a sharp mind is required before, I started to think of things I could make a handle out of. A twig or piece of board or maybe a piece of wire. I scanned the area and found an old piece of barbed wire that I untwisted and beat with a rock until it took the shape of a handle. I slipped the wire into the reel and just like magic I was ready to go. Not as fancy as a regular reel but good enough for today.
The day turned out to be one of those special February days that come only once so often. Fishing without a jacket in February is a special treat.
The fishing sucked under the bridge so we left after about 45 minutes of wetting our line.
About a few miles up the road is our usual spot where we both caught fish before. Greg is anxious to get to the river and gets caught up in the barbed wire fence with a couple of barbs sticking right through his waders. I know somebody who is going to get wet today and his name is Greg. After getting him untangled I get hung up in the wire and have a fish hook sticking in my left ear. It is out of my ear and flying around back there somewhere as we head down towards the river.
About an hour passes and NO fish to be had, not even a nibble. I think they are in hibernation or something so I believe I'll have another Mikes and some more peanuts. Greg now has water in one boot and I am still dry.
Fishing is not really about the fish, it's about jumping into a freezing river in February. It is also about watching nature around you and wondering what they are thinking while they watching you.
Here's few pictures I took that day.
Believe I'll have another drink!!!!