A Change of Pace

19 05 2013

Every year during the month of May my boat and Schaller reels get a break from fishing.  Not because I need a break but because I don’t like catching Silver Bass.  I love to fish but Handlining is strictly a walleye thing.  It wasn’t designed for catching Silver Bass.  They are a take a kid fishing with light tackle thing.  During this time I usually pursue other types of fishing, more recently it has been out of my kayak.  This year it would be something else.

I don’t really remember how it came about but Dave Fitch, a fellow handliner, asked me if a ever went fly fishing.  I told him it had been awhile but I learned how to cast a fly rod when I was about 10 years old and I also tied my own flies.  Next thing I knew I was invited to a weekend fly fishing trip on the AuSable river up near Grayling.  I was a little worried at first.  I hadn’t caught a trout on a fly rod in over 30 years.   I was going to be a little out of my comfort zone.  I would be trading in  my 30 pound test leaders and a 5 inch long Rapala’s for a 2 pound leader and a #16 Adams.  This could get embarrassing.

I arrived in Grayling Friday night and gave Dave a call to see where he was at.  He and his friend “Corky” had just come off the river and they would be back at the cabin shortly.  I had some time to kill so I took a walk down to the AuSable to just relax.  A few minutes later Dave’s truck was pulling in and after meeting Corky and his son Spencer we were on our way to get something to eat.  During dinner the whole conversation was about where to go tomorrow.  Apparently the local fly shop had said that the stretch of river we were supposed to fish was too high and fast.  This same topic carried over into the morning at breakfast.  Eventually it was decided to at least go see what the water was like on the lower AuSable.  Turns out it was the right decision.  The water level was up but when we arrived the fish were feeding so it didn’t take a lot of convincing to try here.  A few minutes later we were back at the truck and gearing up.  We headed upstream for a bit and then waded in.  I spotted a few trout rising not to far away and slowly worked my way to them.  I made my first cast and just like that I caught a tree.  This was going to be a long day.  I re-tied and soon I was flipping the fly in the general area of the rising trout.  I took a little practice and some patience but I was finally able to catch my first trout in over 30 years.  Granted it was only a 5 inch brook trout but it was a good start.

That is basically how the day would progress, catching a few small brook trout in between snagging the fly eating trees behind me.  I did find out one thing that really bothered me.  Apparently the tendonitis in my right wrist was worse than I thought.  The more I cast the more it hurt.  By the time evening was setting in it hurt so much I could hardly hold my fly rod.  I just gave up and waded to our walk out point.  I figured I would just sit and relax until the rest of the group had showed up.  I really wasn’t missing much, I hadn’t caught a fish in the last few hours and I didn’t even see many fish rising.  Eventually the rest of the group showed up and we stood around discussing the lack of trout and bugs.  Around 8:00 pm that all changed.  the bugs starting hatching and the fish started feeding again.  Ten minutes ago all was quiet but now their were fish rising all around us.  We all piled back into the river and started casting away.  I soon remembered something I learned about trout fishing a long time ago.  Trout can be the most finicky damn fish known to man.  The 4 of us tried just about every fly we had and I think we managed 1 fish in the next hour.  There is nothing more frustrating than watching a trout rise and grab a fly right next to mine.  You would think that even one fish would make a mistake and grab mine by accident but no……..

Around 9:00 pm the hatch started to slow down and the fish weren’t rising as much.  Time to call it a night.  We still had to put things away and get back into town before the the local eating establishments closed up for the evening.  I was tired and I’m sure the rest of the crew was as well.  All day wading fast water can really take a toll on the body.

Even though I didn’t catch any monsters, nothing new with me, it was still an enjoyable way to spend the day.  Sure beats fighting with the Silver Bass.  One final thought, it just goes to show you how helping out a fellow fisherman can be rewarding.  I have never fished with Dave but because I helped him, answered a few questions and gave him a few tips he invited me along for this trip.  If I had just ignored him none of this would have never happened.

I first Brookie in over 30 years.

My first Brookie in over 30 years.

All to myself and no fish.  Did see a river otter though.

All to myself and no fish. Did see a river otter though.

Handliners....even when trout fishing they never use a net.

Handliners….even when trout fishing they never use a net.



4 responses

20 05 2013

Mark- thanks for translating our weekend into words. It was a great weekend to be on the AuSable and Spencer and I enjoyed meeting you. Maybe we’ll see you on the river when the walleye return. Corky

20 05 2013

Yes it was a great weekend and a pleasure meeting both of you. Hopefully the fish on my river won’t be as finicky.

21 05 2013
Dave Fitch

Mark , so glad you could join us on the Ausable River this past weekend. The fish definitely were picky about what they wanted to feed on but lots of fun and a welcome change of pace every time out there. Thanks for making the trip up and maybe next time I’ll have one of my boys with me. Corky and I have been talking about a trip or two to the Huron this summer to chase Smallies, I’ll let you know when we we get something planned. In the meantime, we will see you between the Catamaran and the discharge soon.

21 05 2013
Mark Schaller

Sounds good. See you out there.

Thanks Again!!

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