Saturday, July 28, 2012
Yeah, that's right...FILLER! I have all of the footage I need to compose an encapsulating video chronicle of the trip to the Golden Trout Wilderness, but I have yet to make any headway on acquiring the software required to arrange the visual repertoire that I am envisioning. But fear not, I am in the process of weaving the tale of the adventure, and it will be unleashed in the next post that draweth nigh.
Until then, I cooked up some filler. Yay! Filler!
Whilst this was by no means a haphazard project, putting together this short did take under 2 hours tops...the first time! There I am, whipping together a video, furrowed brow, drooping dark sacs filling beneath my eyes, and BING! Up pops the old "youworkin'onsomethin'?Oh!COOL!" POWERDOWN!!!............................................................................................................................dramatic pause...............................................................................................................imagine these dots are creating a little electric feedback hum.................................................SON OF A B&*%$. The computer goes FLYIN' across the room, and I'm flyin' after it to catch it. I was a wee bit steamed! But I got over it, and now, a week later, I started 'er up again and everything flowed. I gotta say, for the remaining hour and a half I spent re-making this entire video after a song just CLICKed with me today at work, I don't think it's half bad. It really paints a decent portrait of what the trip was, a dang near fishless, cold, wet, dart throwin', punchin' baggin', drunk and hollerin' in the woods, frito chili pie makin', sasquatch trappin', hell-raisin' good time.
For starters, it hadn't been that good of a steelhead year to begin with, we had one fly-fishin' greenhorn, a wanted fish and wildlife outlaw, Mainerd and me, and we figured this trip was gonna be a doosey. We had one week to get on some steelhead from just out of the valley damn near to Oregon. One week to get some of the biggest, juiciest, perfectly breaded and sauced hot wings this side of the rockies. ONE WEEK...to, party, because I hadn't been out there in quite some time, and dangit, I'm on vacation!
But we pulled 'er together and got loaded at Tips, as is the custom, and loaded up to head coastward. First day on the water and ol' Mainerd (aka Mercury Risin') latches into a steelie. Then tops it off with a beautiful brown. Everybody else, ZIP! No hookups, nada. But merriment would be had! We roll on west eventually meeting up with EGGO in Arcata. And so party night began. We were all fresh on the road, had put in a great fishing effort for the day, doused those delicious buffalo wings with ample amounts of ice-cold SN Pale Ale off the tap, and it was time for vacation...I don't know what it is about that stupid punching machine in the bar, but I look at it now and see that I OBVIOUSLY missed out on a wonderful collegiate investment. If anybody is reading this and is thinking about going to college, check out a punching machine. Tell me you can resist cramming all your hard-earned money into one of those suckers after a few pints. "Hey! Hey! Hey, hey hey, HEY! You GUYS! I'll bet you, the, the next pitcher, I can score higher than you! *HICK*"
Well, you'll see it.
Have you ever fished for steelhead? Have you ever fished for steelhead...with a haNGOVER, MAN!? Not highly advised. Oh, and garlic cream cheese and lox on an onion bagel...sounds delicious, but don't do it! Mercury takes us crashing through the quaint streets of downtown Acrata, and then into the roadside jungle down a near vertical hillside that , when you include the washed out traces of the old highway, stirs thoughts of post-apocalyptica.
At one point I wormed my way out of the rabbit path and through a slope of hobbling vines, only to plunge headfirst into an 8 foot dropoff cushioned by jurassic-sized pampas grass. That is no estimation, 15'+ clumps of pampas. RIDICULOUS! Needless to say, I think next time we'll just take the longer route. Anyway, Big Lagoon yielded nothing but relentless wind and a few agates. On down the road to the Smith River. Talk about a big, beautiful, and brutal river. The water is crystal clear, if you could see through all the white-washing rapids and plunges. I am really looking forward to giving this river a little more fishing time, as frustrating as she may be. We did hook up with a few coastal cutthroat trout, racking up heritage trout number 3 (the two prior being Steelhead and McCloud River Redband).
A few goose-egg days on the Smith got us all itching to move, so we parted ways with Eggo and headed back south. If you can't catch anything else, you can catch a buzz. Hard at it five days on the road and we headed down to Six Rivers Brewery and then the Mad River Brewery. Both are excellent haunts if you find yourself in the area.
The next day on the river would be the toughest yet. Hopes were still high on hooking up with a little steel, when Bizzuh takes a dunkin'. Let me tell ya, taking a full on, wader-fillin' dunking first thing in the morning in 30 some degree weather after a week of torture and frustration will really get to a guy. Add to that a broken rod while slip-sliding out of the river looking like a drowned rat, and well...You're gonna be one sad panda. And sad panda he looked, but by-golly he kept the ol' chin up and racked out in the car while the die-hards finished out the day with NADA!!
We ran Bizzuh back that night, licked a few wounds at Tips, slept the night indoors, and vowed to make a fresh start of it in the morning for one last over-nighter HOORAH!. And a great attempt it was, covering more water on foot than I think we've covered on that river. All for a take or two and a little half-pounder steelhead. But the night was brought to life when a small pile of scat was drunkenly discovered on the campground picnic table. After a few failed wobbly attempts, the deadfall was set, and we were ready to catch ourselves a Sasquatch! Well, maybe smash his hand a little bit when he tried to take my Fritos. I mean, come on, I made a little dead-fall using stripped bark to weave a noose for goodness sake, it was bound to work. Plus, we baited it with beer-soaked Fritos, how could it NOT work? Awake in the morning and the deadfall was tripped. No sasquatch, but we did find a coarse whitish hair, possibly Yeti, but it would only be incidental, as we are a bit west and south of their native range, and we really have no way of knowing for certain until the follicle analyses return from the lab....
Then it happened. Last day on the water, fishing the last run. I had worked the same drift over and over and over and over and over again. Mercury comes waltzin' up and BAM! the indicator takes a sharp upstream jerk and the jerk downstream ripped 'er south! I can replay the moment in my mind in slow motion. The water sprays off the line running laser-straight from her jaw and she breaches the surface like a 7-pound pissed off submarine and all in one heartbeat radiates cold, glistening beauty through an elegant dance, levitating before my eyes. Ay, she was deadly beautiful, and that image of her twisting and turning and throwing me off and sliding gracefully back through the same rippling water she'd leapt from, was enough to make the trip for me. What a way to top it off! I was just as happy to lose that one fish in less than a second as I would have been catching a hundred fish on any other trip. Too bad it didn't make it on video...Probably a good thing though.
Wow, I started this out at a one-paragraph post and it quickly got out of control. Oh well. I felt like you at least needed an explanation for the lack of fish in the Shiddeo. Sometimes it's not the fish that we are after.