Salmon fishing & fly tying on the Miramichi...

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The blast 'n cast salmon season ender extravaganza!

I looked up the word, 'Extravaganza' and although it's a seldom used word, it fits the last few weeks leading up to the end of my salmon fishing season:


"a very large and exciting show or event"

Starting the sprint to the end was a whirlwind daytrip to the river in the Boisetown area for a lunch/picnic/bbq/social hosted by Gary, Vin and Renate. I had a chance to meet up with some old friends and make a few new ones as well - it was a heckuva spread and thanks all for the great hospitality!

(hopefully this'll be an annual deal)

The next item on the agenda before reaching the last week of salmon fishing was my annual pilgrimage high atop moose mountain for the first couple days of the NB moose season. Our core group didn't have a tag this year but Dad and I were still invited along to help. We had a brief, yet pleasant stay and I look forward to 2014 when I KNOW our group will score a tag! *rolls eyes* (sorry for the sarcasm)
A few pictures:

A Storm rolls in....


Dad and I had to leave Friday AM as we had a load of material to take up to the Den and seeing as it wasn't our tag and we had to return a borrowed trailer by Sunday, we hit the road. As it turns out, the guys were skunked which is unfortunate as a moose tag is a tough thing to come by in NB.

Onto the next weekend - Sunday, 8:00 AM, on the road to the Den and I spied a wild turkey in Quspamsis! I just can't wait until there are enough of those critters around to start a hunt in NB! The biologist at the kids' Firearm/Hunter safety course in spring said 'about 10 years or so' before there'll be a season. Pretty darned cool!

A picture of pumpkins because turkeys are too quick - oh and this is Millstream, not Quispamsis :)

I finally arrived at the Den with time enough to tidy up a bit and relax before my good pal, Gary Tanner, was to arrive for a few days of blasting and casting! I'd been pretty excited since this plan hatched a month or so prior. The plan was to stay a couple nights at the Den, then head up to the 'Lizzard Lounge' owned by my dear friends, Paul & Steph Elson. Brad was to join us on Monday afternoon, Bill on Wednesday evening and finally Dad and Joe on Thursday. We had a busy few days ahead of us!

The river:

Beneath the Fall coloured canopy at the Den:

The best time of year!

Warm enough for a caddis hatch :D

You'll have to forgive me on the exact order of events for the next few days -  we were busy but had a blast!

Gary arrived that afternoon and we were joined later in the evening by Derek Martin who was guiding his buddy, Matthías Þór Hákonarsson, from Iceland. We had a few sodas and a great chat by the campfire. Salmon huggers always have the best conversations.

Time flies when you're having fun and before I knew it was the next morning and we were on the Cains... a wee hurtin', I might add! We met up with Matti & Derek and fished with them for a bit. Good times, gents! Always great to see Derek "the machine" hook up and land a fish - people who respect and handle salmon like he does deserve every single hookup - C&R all the way, lads!

Over the next few days we had a great time doing a LOT of this:

But some of us, had more fun than OTHERS while doing the above .... that Tanner fella... what a show off! :)

And to top it off, he's got a 'Babe Ruth' complex ... he twice called the cast that would hook and land a fish -- he got into 3 fish on this particular outing!

Yeah, yeah - whatever, pal!

Time out of the water, about 2 seconds....

Sometime during the 'Gary' show I managed to hook and land a nice brookie, Yaaaaay!

The show continues... *sheesh!*

With the monotony of it all I didn't manage pictures of number 3 ... which by the way, Gary stated on the walk to the pool that he'd never caught more than 2 fish in one pool.... well I guess you can tick that one off the list, bud! :)

Oh and I should add that we were now staying with Paul --- thanks again for the great hospitality bud, we really appreciate it!

We got back to the river the next day which would prove to be a bit different... it was WINDY as hell! The lads, Gary, Brad and I started through pool A and Paul skipped down to pool B. I made a very quick pass down through A and started down the path to B when I faintly heard a yell ... it was Paul and he was hooked up and had been for about 15 minutes! The fish he had on was running the show and wouldn't move at all holding in the fast part of the pool. Once Paul knew I was there he gave it the business and started moving the fish and we had her in the net a minute later:

Beautiful fish, bud - it was a pleasure to help you with her!

A short time later and I was able to get into a fish. No love on any of the big fall patterns, had to go back to the trusty standby - a shady lady - buck bug version.

Navigating the rock garden:

Haulin' him in:

No, that's not the Unabomber.... it was cold, alright? (screw you, Brandon! =P)

So the fishing continued along with the good times, everyone got into fish which was absolutely awesome!

A pic of Brad after just having lost a fish --- still smiling!

Paul with a fish:
(a pretty common sight, really)

Heading down to another pool...

Hanging out on the "Little" Southwest:

Again, I apologize about the order of things, one day ran into the next and at some point we went for a grouse hunt -- a lot of the pics in this blog entry (I.E. the good ones) were taken by Brad. He really has a talent for photography and his pictures are a pleasure to view - at least in my opinion!

Our quarry:

We checked out a few places I had in mind but it was my first outing for grouse in the area. I'm more of a southern NB hunter and I have a few honey holes I score at each year. We stumbled across a bird or 2 and had enough for supper by Friday. But we had a great time just the same. The next trip, we're going to hire a guide with a dog ;) Here's a few pics from our outing:

Our big score! These babies are going on the wall at the Den ;)

The great hunters après safari:

We'll get 'er dun next trip, Gary - I have a plan A and a plan B ;-) 

On Thursday AM, Gary had to head up river to Vin's place - It was a damned fine pleasure to have you to the Den, man and I look forward to your next trip up! Good food, good friends, good times on the river(s) in Fall... what more can a fella ask for?

After Gary left, Paul and Brad headed to Debbie's to take John (93 years old!) out for a fish.

Bill and I headed back to the Den for a blast 'n cast on the Cains. Dad and Joe were to arrive later that afternoon. We had some fantastic success on the Cains --- or at least Bill did... he hooked and landed a beautiful fall buck in the 38" range. I managed a picture of him with the rod bent but we'll have to wait for the fish porn to arrive via a kind soul who will be emailing the pics he took as soon as he's back from fishing. I'll post pics as soon as I have them. This fish was one of the biggest I've tailed in a long time and could be classed as the fish of a lifetime for many people - way to go, Bill!!

(I'll finish this story after the pics arrive)

Meanwhile, back on the NW, Paul, Brad & John got into some fish and Brad took some more kick ass pictures of the events. Paul acted as guide and allowed John and Brad to get into some fish - he's a good fella, eh?

Here's a nice grilse that Brad landed and safely released:

Getting ready to release:

Here's John's story:

A fun loving gentleman of 93 years with a love for the river and the fish that swim therein.

Paul getting John squared away:

John getting ready to hook and land a nice salmon:

Hooked up!

Airborne!! (great pic Brad!!)

Paul getting ready to land John's salmon:

Nicely done, John!

The released fish:

It was a great day on the river but it was nice to get back to the Den to have some supper and sodas. Dad & Joe arrived and we decided to have a campfire. Derek and Jeff showed up later on and we had a great evening by the river. Good times, gents!

The next day (Friday) we headed back north but nothing much to report other than a good day on the river. The core builders of the Den got to share a pool until mid afternoon and we had a real good time. Seeing a bunch of fish always makes for a good day :)

Saturday was to be my last day to fish for the 2013 season. We decided to pack up and fish a pool on the way home. We didn't get into any fish other than a few pulls and a couple trout but what beautiful scenery to take in..

I didn't realize Brad captured this picture of me pondering which fly to tie on for my last pass of 2013... as it turned out, it was an RBM but I was torn between that and a #12 undertaker... shoulda tied on the undertaker as the muddler only fooled a trout :)

Thanks to all my friends and family who made my 2013 salmon fishing season one I'll never forget! It was a big year with many milestones. I got to share water with old friends and made many new ones. Here's looking to 2014!

There'll be a supplemental entry soon about Bill's fish --- as soon as I have pics i'll get them posted!