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11-29-03 - I guess I'm just "bad luck"!

Waters Fished: Little Calumet River
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 11-29-03
Weather: Overcast and Cold
Air Temp: somewhere in the 30's!
Water Temp: didn't take it
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Jade
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Spawn and Waxworms
Pattern Color: n/a
Fishing Quality: Lots of "fishing"; no "catching"!

After the very difficult drive back from OH, Chromeseeker and I opted to sleep in. Meanwhile, Dave @ Creekside was holding a centerpin clave, and in the spirit of the day I would be trying the pin for the first time. We finally got on our way around 11:15 AM.

The drive went quick, and in no time we were on the river. I purposely neglected to bring my camera; not because I'm worried about causing another outrage by posting more Indiana Trib Photos as happened last year, but rather because I now know the terrain, have a less rugged camera, and wasn't about to risk it.

The hours went by slowly as we drifted spawn and waxworms in every fish-holding hole. I managed a SMOLT early on (and from what I understand those shouldn't be "out" yet?!). I slowly worked my way following CS downstream from hole to hole, batting cleanup.

So I might as well give you my take on the Centrepin (or spelled Centerpin, whichever you prefer I think). What a WHACKED OUT REEL?! OK, I get the concept of drift fishing with an indicator, that makes a lot of sense. On the upside, I do see how the pin helps to get a good LONG drift from the standpoint of line control; simply sit there and let the spool spin freely on the ball bearings, pulling out line as needed, always maintaining the slightest bit of tension on the line that creates a great connection to the float and bait (and thus any striking fish). Sure, OK, fine...

On the flipside forget about good line control should you want to bring line in. I know, lift the bait out and give the reel a slap and it spools it right up, right? Well, it also creates backlash, just like a baitcasting reel. Not to mention the strange open-faced reel of sorts where there is no line guard...I had limp line constantly coming off the spool and tangling or even more annoying, wrapping around the foot of the reel.

Want to cast? Bart showed me "the insane cast" (I think he called it a Norwegian Cast?). Man, screw that. I could see myself lodging a hook deep in my hand or worse, breaking a float rod! So I worked with an easier cast; strip out some line, hold it kinda like you're holding spinning line, gently arc and toss. OK, that works reasonably well. But wait, no drag?!?! Well, actually there is a clicker that I guess can be used as a drag....a CLICKER...for Steelhead? My understanding is that the drag is all applied by palming the rim. OK, I CAN do that, but do I want to?

Ok, well the actual drifting part; this is were I personally feel I could do better with a fly rod (granted, keep in mind now, I have been fly fishing for almost 17 years now, this was my FIRST time ever with a pin and I'm almost back to a total newb at a spinning rod too!). I can drift, I can mend, I can take many trout subsurface (wait a sec, almost ALL my fish are taken subsurface...) I can fish structure like logs and boulders with a fly very effectively. I can fish deeper bends and pockets. I can dap, high-stick, dead-drift, you name it.

From my standpoint, I know the pin is effective when you're drifting and when you're unsure of where the fish are holding, especially if it's not structure oriented; I must also then disclaim that the pin is an excellent way to fish in front of and directly underneath structure such as log jams. I also know the pin becomes more effective than the fly when fishing LONG drifts that are hard to maintain with a fly rod (although not impossible).

So where does this all come in? Well, Indiana is NOT fly water. Dave @ Creekside keeps telling me this LOL! Sure, there are a couple spots I know of where you can fly fish it appropriate. But think overall; consider the steep mud banks, limited access points to the actual stream, the mud bottom and often deep/steep dropoffs. Indiana Tribs are not tribs that you WADE. Indiana Tribs are not places where you can make your way through a run, hopping from pocket to pocket and log to log. They are tribs where you must find a safe way down to streamside and then fish as much water as you can from that one position. This is where the Centerpin truly becomes more effective when combined with the "science" of indicator fishing.

Thus, the Centerpin becomes a more effective way to fish the Indiana Tribs, not to mention that bait will consistently outperform the flies come winter. You can't fly fish bait well (ya tend to throw it off the hook from what I've heard), and you can't easily cast a good leaded-up indie rig too easily with a fly rod either.

So I sit here thinking about Indiana. Honestly, I look forward to each outing there like a root canal. Partially for lake of fly water. Partially for lack of easy access. Partially for my very poor record. However, now that I'm thinking about it, I have some ideas....it's called nymphing with a SPEY ROD!!! Well, whenever I finally get that spey rod (with those LONG casts that require no backcasting) you bet I'll be giving the deeper, longer and wider portions of the tribs a renewed effort. Granted, cleats and some rappelling rope will be helpful too. Maybe, just maybe, I will tame Indiana and do it MY way?

Well, back to the outing. We ended our day just about at the right time (3:00 PM); ran into the Centrepin Clave guys including Dave@Creekside and Speyday (wait, Speyday fishing a PIN? I thought "Speyday"...oh forget it). Nice bunch of guys; one of them had managed to hook into steel in a hole that I had drifted for at least 45 minutes (go figure). Dave says I'm just bad luck (consider what you've read from yesterday and today and then consider that before we showed up at either location the fishing was GREAT, and also consider that whenever he's on the river at the same time he is he only catches weird things like bullheads and slab bluegills). Maybe Dave has something.....hey Dave, care to catch some more Pike? If so, give me a call and I'll be happy to sit on the bank and bring you strange luck!

  MP 

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