Christmas for me during the years I can't make the trip to British Columbia to see family can be a difficult one. Most of my friends have family over and are enjoying a hearty meal or going to mass. Christmas Eve at my place consists of talking to everybody on Skype. Some times it turns into a technological headache because somebody's webcam stops working or has a crappy modem. The screen becomes full of talking heads in bubbles. Because of the time difference, my family usually calls early in the evening. All eyes on the computer turned to me as I opened all of my presents. After that I sit back and drink some Great Lakes Christmas ale. I'll look at my pathetic tree and give a toast to another lame holiday. Usually there will be some irrelevant football bowl game on and I barely get pass the 2nd quarter. This year it was the Hawaii Bowl and I'm sure both Fresno and SMU players weren't bummed because nothing beats the holidays like sitting on the beach ogling scantily clad women or playing football in 80s with sunshine. It turned out to be a snorefest and I went to bed early.
Christmas morning came and instead of tearing through presents, I tore open the packet of bacon. Eggs, bacon, muffins and coffee - all wolfed down in record time because it was the Christmas outing and I was running behind. Luckily it was a quick five minute drive into the metro park where I meet up with the guys. Because all of them have adult children, they can get the precious morning pass that most steelheaders are hoping for. Those with younger kids, might have to settle for the afternoon pass. For the ones who have the grinch-in-law, they're SOL and might have to wait until the weekend.
We started off at the infamous "bunker hole". The bunker hole is the go to place for us. It a classic winter holding spot. The hole is located at the bend of the river and it tails out. This is where the fish park themselves. It's not very deep and only fishes at a certain flow. When conditions are perfect, the fishing can be fast and furious. The action was like that yesterday and of course the scrooge I work for decided to have us came in for a half a day. Five hours of bullshitting in the back, figuring out the who the Browns will hire as the next coach and picking straws to see who goes out for a pizza run. Seriously, what a waste of time. I could of been fishing. When we finally went home, I wet a line for a couple of hours, but I missed most of the action.
This morning the action was slower as we picked off fish. It seemed a lot of skippers made the trip in. The bunker hole didn't pan out so we headed downstream. The same results as we picked off fish. By then it was late morning and more people started coming out. Even though it was Christmas, some decided to leave their goodwill and common sense at home. One hillbilly decided to low hole us and crowed that they "caught them by the boatload" yesterday. From the looks of him, he couldn't catch a cold in room full of sick people. He was the typical Rocky River hillbilly - neoprene waders, 6'6" bass rod, spinning reel, monster float and a green mister twister. God, I absolute hate them because of their stupidity and poor hygiene. I sniffed bullshit and we chuckled at one another. We could throw some coal his way, but the fish had turned off. The guys morning pass had expired and we went our separate ways. I moved further down to the lake and there were people scattered about. I fished another spot that people I know did well yesterday. Just like the other spots, it didn't a lot of fish. As I was getting ready to leave, there was one guy fishing from the shore. Poor bastard, on his first drift he snagged line. It turned out to be at least 60 yards of line that he pulled out. When I left he quickly moved to my spot. Unfortunately Santa didn't bring him waders or boots. I watched him jump from rock to rock and then the inevitable happened - he slipped. Ass first into 36 degree water and chorus of curses followed. He cursed so loud that the guys down at the marina looked upstream. That was the end of his fishing outing as he huffed and puffed back to the parking lot. Nikes and wet rocks = epic dunking. It was early afternoon and more people started to show up. Screaming kids and the thought of kitchen duty was refuge for of them. Others probably were trying out their latest gifts. For me, I had enough. I was satisfied with the results and I was looking forward to the soup I had in the slow cooker. Tomorrow its back to work albeit a very short one.