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11-06-04 - We pulled the traditional "first stop" at Trout Run before sunrise. Definitely not fishing the lake though...waves were 8-12 feet!

Most of the PA Posse from left to right; Ed Clary, Brennon Schaefer, Mike Durkalec, Steelhead Kodiak Durkalec, Tim Schulz, Gerry Greene, Randy Cochran, Matt Jennings, Leanne and Jim Kercheval. Somehow the Pryzbelski brothers managed to evade my camera ALL DAY!

ASM fires up the 'ole Centerpin.

ASM brings his first steelie from the deep hole towards shore.

11-06-04 - MP's RECORD BREAKING DAY - #131!

Waters Fished: Trout Run, Elk Creek
Fish Caught: 0/4 personally
Outing Date: 11-06-04
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: Pleasant (50-60's)
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: up after recent rains
Water Color: Muddy, visibility about 12"
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Eggs mostly
Pattern Color: Orange continued to be the color I scored with
Fishing Quality: Poorer than expected by all local accounts

It's my first trip to PA in 2004; what started out way back in the winter as a trip for me to head out and visit ASM turned into another grand plan with several guys heading out from IL and WI! I rode out with Matt Jennings, Randy Cochran and Brennon (who came all the way down from Minnesota for this); we got to ASM's house around 1:00 AM, and by 4:30 AM we were on our way to PA!

The designated meeting spot was Trout Run - simply a MUST SEE. We met up with Jim and Leanne K., Gerry Greene, as well as Matt Przybelski and his brother Mitch. Ed Clary and Tim Schulz came down, with Mike (ASM) rounding out the posse! Everyone got their gawk in at Trout Run before we headed to Elk Creek (Lake Erie was having 8-12' waves that chance of fishin' the lake!).

No one wasted any time getting on the water and fanning out. Recent rains had brought Elk up a bit, but it was on the receding side by the time we got there. The water was definitely dirty, which could prove to be a big bonus in the steelie catch.

How can I say this without sounding sucked! Everyone fanned out and starting hitting the water...we moved down quickly, seldom if ever seeing a fish. ASM hit a few bites early on, but didn't manage to follow through.

I hung out with Mike, as today would be my first day on the water with my Centerpin....the last time I gave it a shot (with Bart in Indiana) I had totally "not gotten it". I figured Mike, who's new video "Centerpin 101" was recently released, could throw me a few pointers.

Eventually we made our way downriver, much farther than I had been before, to a run that Mike knew should be holding fish. Let me tell you, Mike's experience on the PA Tribs definitely shows....

I believe it was actually Ed who hooked up first, and quickly lost a fish out of the pool. Mike soon followed suit, but managed to land his first one. Meanwhile I was busy rerigging after my first centerpin backlash birdsnest. When I was back in business, I honestly got frustrated because every time I tried to cast, the line would get stuck in my fingers and land short.

It was also about this time that I realized that the sharp, stinging cold sensation at my legs was due to LEAKY WADERS! DARNIT, I realized I had grabbed the WRONG PAIR..I had actually grabbed the pair that I knew leaked.

While I fumbled around in the deeper, cold water, my waders now full to my crotch with water, Mike continued to work his centerpin with mastery. Casting all the way across the pool into the fast deep water on the far side, he managed yet another STEELIE. Mike was officially ON FIRE! The one saving grace was that I was getting some great pictures of PA STEEL!

It's official, Arctic Snow Monkey is smelling like monkey, not skunk!

ASM battles yet another Pennsylvania Steelhead while trying to keep Kodiak at bay.

ASM admires his second steelie landed for the day.

Ed had disappeared downstream for a bit, but no sooner than he arrived back at the pool and he tied into another steelhead.

"Reel Easy" may go easy on the reel, but he definitely puts the hurt on some steel with massive side pressure.

Ed, bringin' his steelhead to shore.

SHOWOFF! Ed landed this one on a prince nymph under an indicator.

So here I am, now officially the only one "skunked" on this pool. I continued to "flog water", OK technically it's hard to flog water with a Centerpin...and yet flogging the water still applies. Yes, my casting is currently that bad. Meanwhile, ASM has to do a bit of showboating on the far side of the pool, perched on a narrow underwater ledge, just hammering the steelies!

ASM works the ledge on the far side and scores steelie after steelie!

Believe it or not this is probably a different hookup than the one above.

The same comment could apply for this steelhead as well...he literally hit 4-5 steelies in a matter of minutes!

After this display of fishin' prowess I pretty much admitted defeat on the centerpin. Thankfully I had brought a fly rod, which I had been carrying downriver all morning. Time to stuff the centerpin in the back of my vest (quite the site) and start truly working the water in a style more familiar. In no time I was wet...literally...I took a massive spill and almost went under. Yet another rush of cold water entered my waders.

As I worked my way back upstream, we had discussed possibly trying a different stream, maybe Walnut (same number of fish, smaller stream). I ran into Brennon and Tim who had actually found some fish holding in the riffles. I sat on the shore resting as Brennon hooked up.

Coming back upstream, Brennon ties into steel and the ride starts.

Um...Brennon, that fish is about to go screaming downstream...

B, aka. T-Bone, is now definitely in trouble, desperately trying to bring the steelhead to hand before it gets away!

Tim ran down to help Brennon out...B horsed the fish or something and it popped. As Tim walked past me he said, "Brennon's not a rookie, but that was a Rookie mistake". T-bone's silence was amazing. So very darn close.

While still sitting on the bank I decided to try a couple casts...only a few drifts in I hooked up with a steelie that literally charged right up to the bank where I sat. As it swam by my feet, all tension came off the line and the fish easily got away. Now THAT's a rookie mistake!

We all kinda meandered our way back, stopping here and there to fish. I managed to spot a fish holding in a narrow run, tight against a vertical shale cliff. I actually got the hookup; the fish rose to the surface immediately, thrashing it's face. It then turned and charged the CLIFF...made it 75% up and out of the water before tumbling back into the stream and breaking off. I was now 0/2.

Randy and Gerry have been slammin' the fish in the gut of this run.

Ever more determined that maybe Walnut would be a better place to try, I continued to press upstream with my extra 3 gallons of water (in my waders). I ran into Gerry and Randy who invited me to fish the run they were was "full of fish".

Indeed, there were many fish and many hookups. I managed 2 more fair hookups here, both coming loose. It was completely frustrating. Gerry, who had gone most of the morning without touching a fish as well, was finally having a bit of luck at least getting a ride, but at something like 0-8 he was admittedly frustrated too.

Randy, well Randy is arguably even more adventurous than I am. He noted that directly upstream from where he stood, several steelies were holding tight along a fallen log. He put in a few casts with a purple bunny leech (or something like it) and what happened next is best described with the photos and his own words:

Randy Cochran, as written by Rcochran on WFF. "The fish went up under the log right after I hooked it, and I had to submerge my rod tip out and to the middle of the stream to untangle the line from a few branches..."

"Then when that was done, I walked up the log while reeling to maintain some semblance of pressure, only to find that he was hanging out in a deep depression near the rootball, not quite in the 'briar patch,' so to speak, but pretty close. "

"I started to swear, but that didn't help any, so then I just gave it slack and it swam free about 5 seconds later."

"I applied pressure as it swam back into the current and that's when this pic was snapped. I had to jump down into the hole near the rootball to fight it as it headed across the river."

And now, for the "PIC" that Randy is actually talking about in the last quote above:

"The Picture". Randy Cochran fights a PA Steelhead as it goes ballistically airborne.

"After that it was pretty straightforward, but I was sure defecating bricks for a bit there." - Randy Cochran

So um yeah...that was the LAST photograph I shot on Nov. 6th, 2004. By the time we made it back up to where we had parked, it was already 3:30 PM and most folks had eaten and decided to go back down to Elk to try their chances for the remainder of the day. Personally, I "took the skunk"; ate a good 2 lbs. of food, took off my waterlogged waders, and took a well deserved nap in the back of Matt J.'s van. I remember scrolling through all my pictures from the day and then arriving at the one above. My jaw dropped in disbelief. After 20,000 some odd prior pictures I have NEVER captured an aerial battle as well as this one. I showed it to Mike the next day, while it was still in the camera, and well, he thought it was faked... ;)


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