11-28-04 - Last day in PA and I break out the Centerpin!
Waters Fished: 12 Mile Creek
Fish Caught: 1 for 3 or so...
Outing Date: 11-18-04
Weather: Rainy in the AM
Air Temp: high 30's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: rose over 1' in just a couple hours
Water Color: went from clear to almost 0' visibility
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Dragon's Tooth, Red Eggs, Spawn Sacks (in dull orange)
Pattern Color: as per above
Fishing Quality: improving
So it's our last day in PA; Rich (FAT) arrived
in Erie late last night on their way back from Boston and had managed
to negotiate an morning on the PA tribs for him and his eldest son
Chief! Our plan, do it right, have FAT come wake us up and head
down to one of the prime locations we had selected the night before.
12 Mile ended up being our destination; we got
there well before sunrise, already legal fishin' time in PA. Despite
our early arrival, there were already 3 guys out with headlamps
camping the choicest of the spots in the river. Despite this, we
hopped in and starting fishing, and seemingly right off the bat
folks started hitting fish.
12 Mile was running clear, but quickly as the morning
grew, it started clouding up from the night's rains. More and more
leaves starting coming downriver, and in a matter of only 30 minutes
the river was up significantly and fish were no longer so "sightable".
Despite this folks continued to hammer fish. Meanwhile
I started getting somewhat discouraged and by the time the river
had turned to chocolate, I made a change in my battle plan. Chocolate
water - I'm gonna fish the PIN!
After a drive to Poor Richard's and back, I rigged
up the centerpin and opted to drive spawn in white mesh for the
rest of the day. My hip waders had developed a strong leak over
the last couple days, so after drying out I opted to fish 12 Mile
from a concrete wall that looks over a long run. Honestly, really,
I hadn't thought about ever actually getting a fish.
While running my spawn through the run time and
again, Randy showed up and started losing fish with his secret big
black flies. A fellow PA angler also came up and introduced himself;
I want to say his name was Andy but honestly, my apologies if I
didn't remember your name correctly!!!!! Andy was kind enough to
break out HIS centerpin - a 12' Loomis rod. WHOA was that thing
LIGHT....it balanced a heck of a lot better than mine because the
BLANK is so light! Mental note - next centerpin build a Loomis ;)
Despite my lack of confidence, Andy assured me
that I'd hook up with some patience. After an HOUR or so of drifting
spawn, it finally happened. My bright orange indicator went through
the same drift as always and yet instantly it disappeared into the
murk. Without hesitation I came up HARD with the rod and the fight
was on! "FISH ON" I shouted...and although I don't remember
it, Rich claims he heard me doing a "WHOOO HOOO YEE HAW"
so loud it was if I was standing next to him shouting into his right
At first I thought it was a smaller trout, but
the reality is that a 13' rod is quite the shock absorber, both
protecting my 8lb. leader and providing me with excellent fish controlling
ability. The Centerpin Reel itself? Actually not too hard to put
the brakes on a steelie, yet at the same time it's easy enough to
let him take line without getting you into a wicked backlash. After
a few minutes, I finally felt I might be winning this battle. About
the same time, guys starting asking me just how exactly I planned
to land the fish standing 6' above the stream, without waders...?
It took some maneuvering, at one point having to
hand the rod to Rich so I could get around a bankside tree to get
to a good landing spot. Rich, always prepared, went at my fish and
ended the battle with a superb netjob. Rich quotes me as exuberantly
shouting, "YES! FIRST CENTERPIN STEELIE BABY! YES!". More
or less, from Rich's point of view, I was a raving mad centerpin
freak/convert that day.
When it was all said and done, Rich broke out his
digital camera and snapped some photos of me with the fish. It was
then rested bankside and I again took in the vista of this beautiful
steelie, the first ever to succumb to my centerpin. Rich Benedict
was looking for Steelies and Big Browns to mold, and this 8lb PA
fish was definitely a fish I would personally consider for replica
Not too long after that Rich figured they were
running late. He pulled the "10 casts. If you Hookup you get
another 10 casts. If you don't, we leave". Let's just say that
he and Chief fished for another HOUR before finally going 10 casts
without a hookup. Well actually that's not true, it finally got
so late that they simply HAD to leave that INSTANT as they were
in BIG trouble for having stayed out fishing so much longer than
the time allotted.
After Rich headed out, I closed my day as well.
1 centerpin steelie was enough for me. The trip was an entire success.
I told Randy to just keep fishin' as long as he liked, even if that
was all day. There was definitely no hurry to get home on my part.
A couple hours later he finally showed up at the car, ready to concede
that we probably should get on the road.
I'll leave you with this - we probably should have
just stayed out there all day. On the drive home there was an accident
outside of Toledo that closed down the Ohio Turnpike for FOUR HOURS.
Randy and I literally sat in the car that long moving a total of
only 1 mile before the accident was cleared and traffic finally
started moving ;)
So the local boys tell me that Ohio has some superb