Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I have been debating whether to even type this post. That is how hard it has been for me to digest my latest fishing adventure. When I say adventure I mean this one I will never forget. The title says it all beginning with the GOOD. It was really good to fish with Trent my nephew and his son Will and some of their friends, and Jay and Kelly of the Naturalist's Angle Blog. We had been planning this trip for months and everyone was really looking forward to a great float trip on Bear Creek in north Alabama. There was numbers of fish that were taken from some exceptional looking places on the creek. It is one beautiful place with the high rock walls and huge beech, fur, and hardwoods tress lining the banks of the creek. This creek when the generators are running reminds one of a stream out west with its snow packs melting. That is how beautiful it is.  Fast rapids throughout the six mile stretch can make for some exceptional canoeing and kayak floating. But it can also make for some unexpected BAD experiences. Fire Station rapids started the BAD. Trent and I had already been through some fast water, but this run was a bit more challenging, because you needed to maneuver the canoe to the left of the main rapids to make the run successful. The canoe we were using was not supplied by the rental company, but one Trent had borrowed from a friend. Trent noticed when we started the float that the canoe seemed a little unsteady, so we knew we needed to be extra careful during the float. The canoe and the fast rapids was what turned the trip upside down for Trent and me as we got gobbled up my rapids next to the rock wall. In short the canoe overturned and we were in 60 degree water for at least five minutes trying to get to the bank. The current was so strong that it keep pushing us down stream, and it took a lot of effort to swim to the near by bank pulling the canoe. Luckily we both had on life jackets and we had some of the equipment was tied down in the canoe. Two items lost was one of Trent’s micro light reels and rod and my Battenkill III reel with my Redington fly rod. The over turn in water over our heads was not as bad as it seemed, because one can expect this sort of thing when canoeing, especially in fast water, but the loss of my retirement gift ( reel and rod ) will take a while to get over. We both agree we should have tie down all equipment before attempting a run that fast, but truth is we thought it was not that bad and we would make the run fine. We was proven wrong big time. Thanks to Jay and Kelly and some individuals at the bank that help us get the canoe upright. Trent suggested to his son Will that they switch canoes with us so we would be in a more stable canoe the rest of the trip, so we loaded our belonging in the narrow bottom canoe as opposed to the wide bottom canoe we was using and continue down stream. It was difficult for both of us to forget about what had just happened upstream, but as we landed a few spots it put some zip back into the trip. The zip I am talking about soon disappeared as we encountered the UGLY part of this trip. We had both just landed two nice spots when we noticed two rapids ahead separated by a huge uprooted white oak tree that was lying downstream. You could either take the left rapid or one could take the right rapid to the right of the tree stump. We choose the right, and in this case right is not always right, for us it was wrong as the canoe bounced off the tree stump and throwing both of us out and pinning the canoe against the tree stump. As for equipment on this turnover Trent’s fly rod got broken. Luckily Jay and Kelly were close by again and while Kelly picked up the micro light and my fishing vest in some of the shallow below, Jay, Trent and I unpinned the canoe in the fast current. The canoe hit the tree stump so hard on the turnover it dented in the bottom of the canoe. Lucky for Trent and I neither was hurt. We were both glad that Jay and Kelly were near by to help us out, because we would have lost more equipment. I know some you are saying why they didn’t learn from the first turnover and tie down the reels and rods; we asked ourselves the same question. So after getting all the water out of the canoe and TYING DOWN all the equipment we continued on. After landing some more spots things kind of got back to normal? As for equipment we were left with a couple of micro lights and my TFO reel and rod, which help me, land my best spot of the day at the end of the six mile stretch. Everyone else made the trip o.k. but for some reason the bad ugly stick was all over Trent and me from lunch on. But wait to add more ugly to the ugly aspect of this trip: we are unloading everything from the canoes and I notice I can’t find my fishing vest with all my flies and accessories in the canoe. We both looked throughout the canoe and in the packs, but no fishing vest. To this day I can’t figure how that vest got away from me. The last time I saw the vest was on the last turnover, when Kelly handed it to me and I put it back in the canoe, after that I don’t know.
You know there are fishing trips that bring back great memories of fish being caught and the companionship of your fellow fishermen, and this trip had all of that, but the part that I want to forget is bad, and ugly of this adventure. Just let me say in closing that the fish Trent and I caught were the most expensive fish we ever landed.
Trent, Will and his buddy getting ready for the float
Jay and Kelly at the launch area
Nice run with some ripples
Trent with one of his spots of the day, notice his shirt is still dry
Fire Station rapids, notice the drop, it looks harmless, but proved different
Below the run with swift current
Below the rapids
Good spot landed right above the take out area

  

21 comments:

Kev2380 said...

Glad you lived to write the post. That sounds like a scary day.

Bill Trussell said...

Kev
I had one lady to tell me that we should be glad we didn't get hurt really bad. Thanks for the comment

John said...

Bill
Geez...did you see a little bald kid on the riverbank picking a banjo?
I feel your loss, I had a similar experience 30 years ago and won't put anything of value in a canoe any more.

Ty said...

Good grief Bill. Hate to hear about all of that lost equipment, but I'm really glad you guys came out OK.

Sanders said...

I agree, the fact that you are here to tell the story is all that matters. Glad I got to hear it :-)

Jay said...

It was definitely a trip we will never forget. I'll get around to writing something when I get back home. Glad we all made it home safely.

THE RIVER DAMSEL said...

I don't think you had enough "good spots" Bill!... I hate to tell you this, but this trip.did make a very interesting read! So sorry for the losses, but glad everyone is safe!

Bill Trussell said...

RD
It will take some time to get over this trip and to replace the equipment I lost not to mention the fishing vest with the flies and accessories. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Jay
I am glad you and Kelly had a good trip. I think I need to stick with fishing trip where I am in more control. Once in the rapids you have little control especially out of a boat and in swift current. Looking forward to the wade trip below the dam, where we have our feet on the bottom.

Shoreman said...

I, for one, am glad you guys are OK. That was a pretty scary trip. Sorry about the lost equipment. That's a hard nut to swallow.

Mark

Bill Trussell said...

Mark
I will have to think long and hard before I make that trip again. It is difficult to fish out of a canoe with water that fast. thanks for the comment

blake said...

the loss of equipment is terrible but at least you are all safe. costs more to fix a broken limb then to replace a few fishing rods

Bill Trussell said...

Blake
I do consider both of us lucky we didn't get knock into the rock wall we avoided. thanks for the commnet

Jenny said...

Wow.....what a fishing day! I can't believe all that happened! At least you and Trent made it ok...fishing stuff can always be replaced:)

Bill Trussell said...

Jenny
I want be making another trip like that ever. See you all Tuesday.

riverwalker34 said...

It does sound exciting. At least it's something to talk about. I mean come on, you caught some fish right, he he.

Bill Trussell said...

River
We caught fish, but those fish were the most expensive fish I ever caught. I will have to think long and hard before I get back into a canoe in fast water to fly fish. thanks for thecomment

Bill Trussell said...

Sander
I told my Nephew after we got back to the truck that we were lucky neither of us got hurt. thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

John
The only way I will ever do another canor trip is without fishing equipment. thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Ty
I will never forget losing my fly rod and reel on this trip. I am looking for another one to replace it, but I don't think I will find the exact outfit. thanks for the comment

Howard said...

Bill, I don't know where I was and how I happened to miss this. It's an adventure you'll never forget that's for sure. Thanks for sending me the link!