December 16, 2010

Travel Day, or, Dear Joe V: OUCH

3:22 PM, Wednesday November 17, 2010

Dear Joe,

I almost died today.


First it was the suicidal doe as we were making our way to 390 this morning. I swear sparks were flying off her hooves when she realized she better get moving if she didn't wanna become a hood ornament. Seriously the closest near-miss I've had with a deer.

Made it to the Salmon OK in the end. 'Course severe winds and driving rain made the short afternoon a little less than pleasant. At least it made the dunking I received crossing back over the river a little less annoying. Tell you what though, did a number on my knee and shin. First legit fall I've had and it was a good one; if the water was a little deeper, probably wouldn't be as sore now. Camera's probably out of commission for a couple days and seriously shortened the life of my brand-new Goretex waist-highs. Rod's OK though, that's all that matters.

Did have a bump today but nobody landed anything. We're headed to You Guy's to lick our wounds, drown our sorrows and, hopefully, get back in it tomorrow. Water's low (compared to last year) so I'm not sure what the game plan is.

P.S. Any idea where I packed the aspirin?

December 13, 2010

Salvaged, or, Dear Joe IV: Free-Range Balogna

9:12 PM, Tuesday November 16, 2010

Dear Joe,

"Down at Oak Orchard Fly Shop, we don't F* around!"

Hahaha. I'll never forget those words (though that's only my best effort to reconstruct from memory what was actually said).

We stopped by the shop last night. Managed to bash my brains in on the car and prompt a laugh-fest doing so, but that's another story. Anyway, we were regaled with tips, tactics and theory in bombastic fashion and no uncertain terms. Seriously, the man was cool, helpful, and entertaining. Hooked us up with some stickers too. I grabbed some sweet speys (Gold Heron, Lady, not that C).

Anyway, the place we ended up today, he had "joked" about a placemarker-shop that sold "free-range bologne." Weren't sure we were on the right track this morning until we actually saw a sign for "All Natural Free Range Bologna." Ain't that some shi.

Long story short, we got into some decent fish. Had at least 6 grabs, landed 1 swinging and 1 nymphing. Baulsir lost a couple and Gordy landed a jack. Pretty fish. Ran into a few other guys, including some poker/bald-face lying lowholing pinners, most were OK though. Bout the only interesting thing Bmar did was walk a half mile onto the reservation before we were able to get ahold of him and turn him around.

Back at the car packing up, the guy from the shop drops by to "check up" on us. A proud papa he was too when we informed him we got into some...hence the exclamation above. Anyway, feeling much better about the trip now. Almost wish we weren't headed east tomorrow, but you know what I say...there's always money in the banana stand.


From across the river. Yup...that's an indicator. Swung up the one before it though, I swear.

Gordy's flawless skipper.

P.S. Took the hosts out for dinner tonight. Nothin special but it was fun. They sure seemed to enjoy it but in no way have we repaid their graciousness. Also...we are some ugly fools:

Not hard to define the center of hair-gravity in this photo.
Side note (12/13/2010); I'm 100% sure at least 75% of us did not shower between Tuesday night and returning home the following Sunday. Eat your heart out.

December 8, 2010

Big Water, or Dear Joe III: Long Way Down From Here

4:00 PM, Monday November 15, 2010

Dear Joe,

Saw the Niagara for the first time ever today. Stared at Kinaideeyah for a bit. Pulled a sweet steelie. Alex said it was "doable" but there's a big difference in him saying it can be done and us being able to do it. Thousands of stairs (or at least that's what it felt like); Bmar won't stop complaining and I love it. When we got near the bottom I let him know that "I didn't want to tell you guys 'till we got down here, but there are places with easier access." At least he wasn't walking in Nate's boots of last-year. He's actually been a good sport and is willing to come back tomorrow. Gordy wants to stop in Buffalo for wings but these leftover pancakes from this morning are amazing. Baulsir got a brown today too. I think the Gordy-first-fish curse was broken 'cause I needed him to take the rod so I could jump down 6' to the water and land the fish without dying.

Today was just too cool. We may be back tomorrow but gonna stop at the shop to see what they got to say. Hey, you didn't answer again this morning when Bmar called. Oh well, check the pics:

Well...that's intimidating...

...and that's not much better....

"And we're gonna fish this...?"

"I can't believe you a-holes dragged me down know we're gonna have to walk back up eventually, right?"

"If I hook something I'm screwed."

The landing area. Seriously...this was the whole landing area. Keep in mind this water is crystal clear; 6 feet from my feet I couldn't see bottom. The boulders (to my left and the one Gordy is taking the pic from) were undercut, and the fish made good use of them in trying to evade capture. Only teamwork (frantic shouting and loud noises) enabled our success.

First fish; thanks Gordy.

2nd fish...or basically simultaneous first fish, via the Brians.

The Niagara; she's actual size but she seems much bigger to me.

P.S. Screw the Falls, I'll see them when I'm too fat/old/drunk to fish.

December 3, 2010

Zoaring, or, Dear Joe II: F*** Gordy

5:22 PM, Sunday November 14, 2010

Dear Joe,

If Gordy doesn't catch a fish soon I'll murder him.

We seriously F'd with Karma when we designated first fish to him. Well no doubt she's gonna have the last laugh. Baulsir and I each lost 2 fish and had at least a couple more each toying with us. Meanwhile, FNG is joking that the first fish just might be the last of the trip. We'll see how funny he sounds with his throat slit. Bastard.

And what is with you not answering this morning when I called to let you know what the plan is? I mean, we're a team bro, I'm just trying to keep you apprised. What, Granny can get up at 4 to assemble a full meal but you cant even hit the speaker and let me hear you snore? WTF!?

Oh, and one more thing...guess who is bunking with Bmar this year. This trip is already falling apart. EFFF THESE BITCH ERIE STEEL, WE'RE PULLIN ALL THE STOPS TOMORROW!


7:42 PM - Addendum

Sorry I was so wound up earlier...Gramma's meatball-stuffed-shells and garlic bread really have a way of putting things in perspective. I mean, all in all, we were in an incredibly beautiful place today and actually connected with some fish. It's just frustrating, ya know? And it doesn't help sleeping next to Mr. Moan. You know what I'm talkin about. Earplugs only go so far. Well, we'll see how he likes the hike tomorrow...THE Ontario Trib. 300 vertical feet over a couple thousand; he's gonna love me, especially after today's hike:

December 2, 2010

Arrival, or, Dear Joe Part I: Where's the Feesh?

6:12 PM - Saturday November 13, 2010

Dear Joe,

Where'd all the fish go? I mean, seriously.

We got in late last night...well, a couple hours earlier than last year, but still. Bmar and I had the opportunity, nay, pleasure of stopping in at Hardy's in Delevan waiting for the rest of the party. Man, what an establishment. As Bmar noted, never seen people go so crazy for Great White's version of Once Bitten, Twice Shy before. Fantastic. They even have the old-school towel rolls in the bathroom. Don't think it's ever been cleaned (towel or the bathroom). And of course, Gramma G. had a spread of pizza and I cant even remember what else waiting when we arrived, then got up at 4 to make breakfast sandwiches before we made off to the dam. I would do this trip just for the food.

Nothin' doin' fishing-wise today. We hit everything we could find above the valley. Couldn't even see a single fish where there were dozens in the open a year ago. Reports haven't been great but I was a little more hopeful than this. It was funny watching the old man toolin' around trying to keep the few random squatter off "his bank". Oh well, we'll do the valley walk tomorrow. Bmar can cuss me out all he wants but a little hike will do him good.

I think Gordy will prove to be a good addition. We've decided he will catch the first fish. He and Bmar are gonna leave off at some point to go hunting, but at least he'll never abandon us for his job and his new wife.... Remember when you were cool?

Gotta go...word is we're having pulled pork for dinner. Lets hope it brings in the piggies tomorrow. Oh man I'm so pumped...the fish will show...just gotta put in the time.