May 20, 2013

Sports Injury Part 2

I tried to finish up this epic tale months ago, but fishing got in the way.
Read the first episode: I'm Calling it a Sports Injury.

Sunset view from camp

My New Quest

Black was the color of the sky as we pushed our way back towards Hood River. An extremely long day capped off with a lengthy four hour drive through the night had turned into a challenge just to keep the eyes open. Our neck of the woods was still ninety minutes away when we were both forced to pull over our rigs for a power nap, caution won out over the thoughts of sleeping in our own bed.

Getting home at four AM, was it worth it I wondered as Mike’s rig turned off towards his street and I finished the drive back to my house. A cooler with a seven pounder and two five plus pounders, battled on a fly rod, sitting on a bed of crushed ice was the answer to that question.   I counted the days; no make it the hours until I could point my truck south to be out on the waters of Davis Lake again. It was my new quest...

Back again

Four long nights and five longer days but before the sun set on day five my pontoon boat was once again plying the waters of this bass filled gem. The bite wasn't working in my favor that evening as I had tossed that green foam plug over and over until it was lost in the darkness and all I could do was hear it splash. Two full days lay ahead so I paced myself and got out on the water well after 5am waiting until at least 5:30 before tossing that first of a thousand casts that would fill the rest of my day. Fishing was slow with only one seven pounder on the stringer at evenings end but one seven pound largemouth is more than enough thrill to make my day.

Waiting with patience that every good fishermen possesses I waited the next morning until daylight before jumping out of my tent grabbing a quick coffee and heading out. I would give the southern hole one more try before moving to a new area in the hopes that another big lunker has taken over the territory that my stringer buddy has vacated. Before lunch two more fatties had joined with their cousin and I was a happy smiling fisherman.   Three is a good number, enough to make a good meal with friends without having to worry if someone wants seconds. I can go home with three, so I pulled up the tent pegs and broke camp this time enjoying the drive long before the sun faded.

Chris... Hello?

The voices in my head

But then it happened that powerful urge overcame me two days into my work week. It wasn't the “should I go back” voice inside my head arguing with the rational voice side. It was the two of them in cahoots planning and deciding on my departure time. I couldn't tell you what happened those next three days at work before I left as in reality they went extremely fast.  Tent up, boat launched, two days and another thousand cast using the Redington 11’8 Switch rod and once again three large fat boys were chilling in the cooler. Okay I told myself on the drive back, there are plenty of fish waiting around the Gorge to be caught, no need to come all this way when the home waters are full of fish, this is the last time for Davis this year or well maybe in the fall, but for now I am done.

And back again

Wow I am at Davis, how did I get here? This must be a dream. Well since I am here I might as well get in a little fishing. That is what I told myself five days later as my truck nosed its way down the dirt road leading to the lake. The routine camp set up now done using auto pilot allowed my first cast to plop the large foam frog just as the sun started to dip below the western ridge. By now I was looking for that WOW factor fish. That big monster bass who had been hiding from my switch rod as he told his little friends I didn’t get this way by being a sucker for cheap perfume and flowers or was that the ex-wife challenge. I had seen him swimming with a few friends in a small narrow curving pool no more than 15 feet wide, rocks on one side and tall reeds on the other.  This was a tricky cast that I was failing to master. If you get too close you spook the fish into hiding back in the weeds. Too far away and you lose another foam frog to the tangle of the cattails. Nothing worse than seeing the fish scatter knowing you have blown it once again.  Both mishaps result in spooked fish that then steer clear of this little hole for twenty to thirty minutes before their noses ease out of their hiding spots.

Touchdown Bass

What a Fatty
Drifting out 100 yards from shore and away from the little pool I tried to solve this fishing riddle, my mind occupied with how to MacGyver a massive net out of dental floss and chewing gum. Wham! Fish on! That drifting frog three feet from the deep water reeds had through no skills of this fisherman attracted a large mouth.  Before I could pull the mass of drifting line tight he had made a run deep into the reeds their tops vibrating as he ran for the goal posts. Touchdown bass! He even got to keep the foam frog as a trophy.  But as bad as that was it was the bright light bulb glowing over my head, the riddle solving solution to Mr. spooky bass and friends.

Rowing back into the close edge of the pool I tossed my last foam frog to the far corner near the rocks. With flippers propelling the boat slowly backwards I let out gobs of line until frog was just a tiny speck floating on the water. And I waited and waited and wait for it, waited some more. What felt like an hour wasn't more than twenty minutes as I eased the line tight then twitched the frog. OH F#%@! Massive take, the water had exploded. There was no time to think of anything but kick with all you got, to yank this fish out of that pool and into the open water. Yeah that was me yelling, okay I may not be smarter than a fifth grader but I am one step above a bass, as big daddy bass been outsmarted. This approach worked two more times over the next few hours each time bringing that fish catching grin we all own to my face.

Ouch, ouch, ouch...

Sports Injury?

But why is this called a sports injury? Davis Lake, switch rod, eight full days of single hand casting, somehow I had torn something in my shoulder (let’s not dig into the technical of what it was) to the degree that I couldn't hold anything over a pound in my hand. Sleeping on my side was way too painful and raising my arm above my head was impossible. This was an injury that tennis players, baseball pitchers, football quarterbacks and fly fishing bass fishermen all share in common. Was my career over, was I destined to sit on the banks or get traded to the dreadful bait casters team. Months went by before I slowly started to recover some strength back in that shoulder. The summer of fishing was more camping and book reading with only short periods of actual tossing the fly. Christmas came before I was able to declare that I had mended and by this May I was back on the waters of Davis pulling another three fat largemouth from the bottom of the lake.

Christian Elison,

Learn more about Chris.
Today is a good day to Ride  - Chile   - Greece

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