My Backyard

For the record - I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to fishing the Rocky River. I live right next to the Rocky River Metro park and whenever I take the garbage out, I can see the river below. It takes all but 5 minutes to get there. But most of the time especially on weekends, I avoid like the plague. Due to the close proximity to Greater Cleveland area, 13 miles of public water and parking lots galore, it's a favorite destination for many and unfortunately many of them are the bucket brigade, the Russian dimwits, hillbillies and the Orvis snobs, it's too much. I guess I don't play well with others as I've been told. But then again who likes having Joe Bunghole waddling in 20' below you, greeting you thinking you have no problem sharing the hole. Screw that - I would rather drop $50 into the Jeep and drive 80 miles east.

But during the winter months, my work slows down and some days I'm done around two in the afternoon, then I'll give the Rock a shot. Generally the morning crowd is long gone and the river can be a desolate place. Case in point this week, when a little birdie told me the Rock got a good push of fish. I got off early and I had all of the gear in the Jeep. Lucky for me, I work 10 minutes from the river. I start off low right near the lake. I wonder where the old farts are, must be bingo this afternoon or nappy time. The water is perfect as I can see those micro holes. Small depressions in the shale bottom, that have enough haze to hide a fish. Takes all but two minutes to hook into a feisty skipper. Then I hook another one and I try to yank the hook out as the fish dangles halfway out of the water. The fish twists and the line snaps. I watch him dart back into the hole with a large pink sac in his mouth. I sigh and tie on another hook. The phone rings and it's work. I don't have to come in tomorrow until noon - sweet. I cast out and the float goes under. To my surprise it's that little skipper again. I see the pink sac and I laugh out loud. Greedy little bastard. I've had it happen over the years of catching the same fish out of the same spot, but not this quickly. I yank both hooks out and he darts right back into the same spot. Obviously this little fella has some memory problems and it won't be long before he ends up somebody's stringer.

I manage a couple more fish, but the number of people coming and going gives me a reason to move. I drive a little way up the road to another pool. I peek over from the lot and I see an angler below. He has the best spot locked up. I move above and fish the faster water. On the first drift, I hook into a fish. The other angler barely acknowledges my presence. I watch him cast over and over and over. I pull my phone out to check the time and it was four o clock. I wasn't sure what he was using, but I was getting impatient. Hole beaters can test even the most patient of anglers. I was getting ready to low hole him if continued to linger. Thankfully he finally gave up and the old goat had a look of disdain as he walked out. I shuffled down and threw out the float. Halfway down it went under and I set the hook. The water surface boiled and the fight was on. Oh those magic eggs of mine. Nothing is more demoralizing then pounding a hole for hours and watching somebody quickly hook into fish. The pool had a nice of fish as I continued to hook into fish. By now it was almost dark and I wasn't going to leave.

I had my hands full until it was too dark to fish anymore. Funny thing because I almost called off work today to go to Conneaut. But I decided against it because next week was vacation week. Instead of driving 80 miles, I drove 5 miles from work and caught 15 fish. Maybe the lousy fishing over the month finally chased everybody off of it, but after this week, I'm sure a lot of people are going blabber about all of the fish. Is it great to have a river in your backyard? Yes but I still rather drive far away to get away from everybody.