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Author Topic: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over  (Read 1109 times)

Jim C.

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February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« on: Feb 27, 2022, 03:37 PM »
The outcome wasn't decided until the 11th hour and what a saga February was.  You'll see many pics of Maine "open water" scenery that show my journey through a zero for 9 trips run.  I'm not big on getting skunked, but it became routine with each passing trip and I remained focused on scraping up just 1 trout or salmon to keep my streak alive.  On the first trip of the month, I missed a single brookie that bumped my jig late in the day.  It wasn't big deal (or so I thought) until 8 trips in a row went by with absolutely no sign of fish life. 

The saga included casts in 6 counties and 12 towns, with new spots and old.  The weather and conditions were notably erratic and unstable, which upped the degree of difficulty.

Early in the month, we were in the midst of a very cold, snowy stretch that delivered a total of nearly 40" of snow, locked up a large portion of "flowing" water, and made the going difficult.  Clogged cleats did little to enhance traction, and up and down flows in more open waters left hanging ice shelves  :P





Even some dam-influenced flows locked up too much to be fishable!



The next try would be bigger water that usually remains largely open.  One local I know said he hasn't seen it locked up like this in his entire life (30 plus years).  The deep snow made getting around a real chore.  When I get winded to the point of getting a bloody taste in my throat, I know I've had a workout.  Deer tracks showed me it was tough on them, too, with break throughs in icy spots with air gaps  .





When I reached the river, some of the water was marginally fishable, but ice floes made the chances brief.



And the normally good holding water with lighter currents had shelf ice that had built out 100 plus feet from the shore. I'm not big for walking and fishing around river shelf ice, particularly for that distance.  In a move that was more stupid than anything else, I ventured out in search of fishable water.  The cracks I saw were concerning, but I was pretty comfortable pushing on to the edge.









All went well until it warmed a bit and the ice edge started to bubble.  As I headed off in the direction I came on, down I went.  The water didn't top my waders and I managed to get to a solid stretch of ice to shore.  Net result.....no fish, a lucky fisherman, and a lesson learned.



After that misadventure, I decided to head toward the coast where ice "should" be less of a problem.  Nice try, Jim.  I first tried a bit upland.



Then figured at least the tidal portion would be open and give me a remote shot at a sea run.  Curses, foiled again.



OK, it was past mid-month, and I needed divine intervention to bring on a thaw.  This ended up being one of those "be careful what you wish for" situations.  In many spots, the thaw was only partial with lots of ice floes, sunken ice, and muddy run-off.  Cold, muddy water rarely buys me much and the spots that did shed their ice flowed a bit too freely.  :P In one spot I came upon a white pigeon, but no luck did it bring. Heck, I even ran into what looked like an early mud season.











And although I remained fishless, it was was warm enough for a companion for lunch in the Subaru.  My wife thinks he hatched out of the layers of mud on my floorboards, rather than coming in from the outside ::) 



I went back inland for my next foray to see if the thaw had changed things up.  The 9th trip wasn't the charm either.  This tail water is normally good for a fish, but not at flows that have the base of these trees under water :-\



Trip #10 started out with promise.  At least shelf ice had been replaced by pancake ice.  Mucheasier to deal with.  Flows were very high, but there was enough pocket water for decent drifts.  Still no love.  I kept the "Miracle Brown of 2015" in mind, when I saved that March by enticing an 18" fish to commit to a Countdown Rapala with little daylight left on the last day.  Trip #10 for February 2022 was on the 24th, but a variety of factors made it likely to be my last trip of the Month.  I had time for one more spot before nightfall.  Flows were up, but clear.  No sign of life for 0:45.  With hopes fading, I slid back to a try a run I'd already fished before calling it a streak-ending day :-\  I thought I saw a small fish move and flash slightly while holding tight to the bottom. Maybe it was a figment of my fish-obsessed imagination?  I'll never know.  What I do know is that about 0:10 later a large fish just came of nowhere to follow my small pink jig, shortly after I'd downsized my presentation.  It stopped its pursuit in shallow water nearly at my boots.  I stopped my retrieve, allowing the lure to drop.  We were eye-to-eye, when the brown tipped slightly on its side in the skinny water and took.  With a jig that small, and a big fish in tight water, things could have ended very badly in a hurry.  He stayed pinned.    How can one fish change everything?  All I know is that I'd follow this quest  all over again.







On to March, and who knows what.  If I can pull it off, the streak will stand at 11 full years 8)














 

NBourque

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #1 on: Feb 27, 2022, 06:36 PM »
One brown all month haha brutal Jim. Nice fish though. How big?

Jim C.

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #2 on: Feb 28, 2022, 08:20 AM »
Thanks, Nick.  A definite challenge....builds character :laugh:

The brown was 22" with decent girth.  Been around for awhile and hopefully we'll meet again a few inches from now.  Definitely not a  "seeforellen".

One brown all month haha brutal Jim. Nice fish though. How big?

Steve H.

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #3 on: Feb 28, 2022, 10:10 AM »
That's amazing.  Great story, great fish, and a commendable effort.  Be safe out there!!
It is understood that fishing licenses, gas, bait, etc., all cost money, but try not to let a limit of trout be your only gauge for success. – Ben Nugent, (NH F&G) Regional Fisheries Biologist

Raquettedacker

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #4 on: Feb 28, 2022, 10:16 AM »
Jim thanks for posting and showing fish.  We enjoy all of them…
 Us some what “older “ guys have the other topics covered…. ;)
Sometimes we live no particular way but our own.....<br />Strangers stopping strangers just to shake there hand...<br />\"Dying is the easy part. Learning how to live is the hard part....\"

NBourque

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #5 on: Feb 28, 2022, 04:26 PM »
Thanks, Nick.  A definite challenge....builds character :laugh:

The brown was 22" with decent girth.  Been around for awhile and hopefully we'll meet again a few inches from now.  Definitely not a  "seeforellen".
Nice spots on that fish. Did you catch it at a spot I frequent? Lol

zwiggles

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #6 on: Feb 28, 2022, 05:21 PM »
Way to stick it out! It’s amazing how sometimes everything seems to line up, and magically work out when you least expect it.

Good luck in March!

Jim C.

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #7 on: Feb 28, 2022, 06:19 PM »
Not that location, Nick.  But I am curious if the "Seeforellen" strain picks things up out there.

Nice spots on that fish. Did you catch it at a spot I frequent? Lol

fish wayniac

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #8 on: Mar 01, 2022, 07:05 PM »
Jim, I hope the bite picks up for you next month. I thought it was slow on the hard water but you topped that . Doh! That was a gorgeous Brown though . Wow!

Smallmouth Squarepants

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #9 on: Mar 02, 2022, 07:42 AM »
Way to grind it out Jim!

NBourque

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #10 on: Mar 02, 2022, 09:47 AM »
Not that location, Nick.  But I am curious if the "Seeforellen" strain picks things up out there.
U haven’t missed much on the ice. I basically missed all of January.

Jim C.

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #11 on: Mar 02, 2022, 04:14 PM »
I may hit the hard water some this month.  My first trip on open water for March was no sign of life at 2 spots. 

U haven’t missed much on the ice. I basically missed all of January.

TightLinesMaine

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #12 on: Mar 03, 2022, 09:35 AM »
wow! what a report.  I would take that 1 brown over a few dozen cookie cutter trout! What a special fish, bet you won't forget that fish/trip for a while.  Your report reminded me of an outing I had (around 2015 as well) where I hooked a big (likely a brood) brown spin fishing a river you and I both used to fish a lot (I didn't land it though).  Good stuff Jim, I have no doubt you'll knock off March 2022 as well, February is almost always the toughest.

Jim C.

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #13 on: Mar 03, 2022, 10:01 AM »
Thanks, Randall.  The brown will be a big memory for sure.  Especially because when he hit, we weren't much over arm's length apart ;D

wow! what a report.  I would take that 1 brown over a few dozen cookie cutter trout! What a special fish, bet you won't forget that fish/trip for a while.  Your report reminded me of an outing I had (around 2015 as well) where I hooked a big (likely a brood) brown spin fishing a river you and I both used to fish a lot (I didn't land it though).  Good stuff Jim, I have no doubt you'll knock off March 2022 as well, February is almost always the toughest.

caught_the_fever

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Re: February.....It's Not Over Till It's Over
« Reply #14 on: Mar 03, 2022, 11:30 AM »
Congrats Jim.  Normally I slowly review your posts, fully enjoying each picture and tale - given our exchanges, I had to rush through to see if the streak continued and alas, there was a beautiful brown.   Way to keep it going.

 



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