I'll be honest, getting up to the camp this past weekend was a bit of a bag drive.... I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about it and the thoughts of fishing in the cold, wind and rain wasn't terribly exciting. In fact, I was more interested in birds so I made sure I picked up a hunting license and dusted off the trusty old Remington 870 Express - is there a more reliable utility grade pump gun? The plan was to duck out a wee bit early on Thursday and drive to the camp via the back roads from the 123 a.k.a. the Grandlake Road so that I could do some 'hollywood' hunting before it got too dark. About 2 kilometres on the Chipman side from the Cains river bridge there is a logging road called the Acadia Road. This road meets the South Cains road some 40-ish kilometres is the woods - great chance to drive along and scope for some birds. When I made the turn off the pavement and started seeing some of the fall colours a change began... my less than chipper mood about this endeavour began to be pushed aside as I remembered how much I love the fall and everything to do with it... This season has been so terrible fishing-wise that I became obsessed with the weather details and river levels to the point that I forgot to stop and smell the roses... I've been so worried about something I can't control ... I suspect I'm not the only NB'er or salmon fishermen to have had suffered the same affliction this 2012 season!
Inspiring Fall colours (yes, the 'U' belongs)
I made my way through the Acadia road and finally got to the South Cains road - no birds sighted. I decided to stop at Salmon Brook to check the river and boy was she high and dirty! There were a couple fellas pounding her anyways -- the lads were troopers! Please note the only patch of red in the trees on the right --- you'll be seeing that a little later in this report ;-)
So I finally made it to the camp, it took me almost 4 hours to get there - it's normally a 2.5 hour drive. I really enjoyed my tour and it certainly put me back into the right frame of mind. I lit a fire and had a couple 'sodas' while waiting for Paul to give me a ring. When he called we discussed our plans for the next day -- the plan was to do some pool hopping on the Northwest in the AM and the Renous in the PM. I was to meet him at Debbie & Dale Norton's place "Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures"
If you ever need a place to hunt or fish from I highly recommend the Oxbow. They can accommodate any type of fishing or hunting adventure available in New Brunswick!
6 AM came early and I was surprised when the alarm went off. The morning was cold and there was rain in the forecast... what would today bring?
Breakfast by flashlight:
I arrived at Debbie's place shortly after 7 in time for coffee. I chatted with some of the regulars and Paul Sr. was there as well. It's always nice to get up there and see everyone - it feels just like home!
We loaded our gear into the 'little tank' and headed north, pool hopping here we come! We saw a nice buck and doe whitetail on the drive.
We hit 3 pools by noon and pool 4 was to be a coin toss and we decided to hit one that I haven't fished in a while. As usual before we started through the pool Paul and I discussed what fly each of us would use... when we fish together we try to not fish the same pattern so that we can cover a wider spectrum of flies and presentations to increase our odds of finding what the fish will key in on during that particular day and for those conditions. Being fall, marabous were high on the rotation - it was just a matter of colour. I started each pool with my favorite fall marabou - the canary. I think it was midway through the first pass that Paul mentioned the fish are likely sick of looking at yellow and red because of all the leaves in the high water... I took his theory and decided to change up midway.. I normally like to complete a pass before changing flies but this just seemed to make so much sence that I busted out the 'showgirl'. If there are fall leaves in the river that look like a showgirl I'll eat my hat! I continued down through to the slower, bottom part of the pool and that's when the trout parade began:
I was starting to think to myself, alright - this is getting annoying! But surely these pesky critters are holding in similar places that salmon would, aren't they? Somewhere in between trout Paul stepped out to warm up and he tied on another uniquely coloured marabou pattern and stepped back in above me. He made 1 or 2 casts and came tight on a salmon! It wasn't meant to be and the hookup wasn't solid and as I was turning my head up stream to yell and beg him for a fly of the same colour I felt a BIG PULL!! No way!! Fish on!! It wasn't 30 seconds after what just happened to Paul so we almost had a double header!! Paul yells back, "take your time and enjoy!". It had been a while for me so I really did have a great time with this fish. She jumped a bunch of times and didn't just roll over and play dead. She wasn't my biggest fish ever but she was certainly my best of the season (spring fish don't count). She also bent the hell out of my hook - a number 4 mustad 3665a.
Getting ready for some tail ;-)
With Instagram filtre:
A few more pics *we finished here for the day*
Paul throwing some line:
Dave checking things out:
This is exactly how I wanted to finish my season, fishing with the Nut. I had zero expectations of fish and she was certainly a bonus. Thanks again for the great day on the river bud, I can't wait for our next trip. Good luck silver bass fishing if you manage to get out!
This pretty much wraps up Friday. I'll get Saturday's update done soon. I managed to get out with my cousin Doug on Saturday -- He's the guy who got me into all this foolishness in the first place! ;-)