Saturday, June 30, 2012

Morons, New Section, Nice Fish, and Drying Out

An absolutely stellar local specimen.
It seems lately my original plans always are changing.  Chul suggested a few days ago that we make a commando run and hit the South Western part of the Sierras for one Saturday.  I agreed initially but when I thought more about it, I decided that that trip required more than a day.  We pondered our choices and decided to stay local.  With the thought of losing that big fish during our backpacking excursion still on our minds we decided that would be our destination.

The only people ever dumb enough to get stuck here.
Half a mile to our destination we were somewhat sidetracked while going through the dirt road when we saw a SUV somewhat blocking the road.  Gathered around it were a bunch of emo-tight-jean wearing, jersey shore look-a-like idiots trying to unfuck themselves.  These idiots that should not be allowed to breed.  They quite possibly be the only people stupid enough to ever get stuck on a fire road.  There attempt to offroad down a section caused them to get themselves high centered and buried the front tires not to mention they were cross axled.   I guess they weren't smart enough to just go in reverse 50 yards and take the road down to where they wanted to go.  Erika suggested that we just leave these stool samples but since I've been stuck in the wild a few times we decided to try and help them.  We need the good karma.  Suggesting the worst possible way to extract them, we didn't argue and tried.  Normally I would have taken a more diligent approach to recovery but since I was half dead from lack of sleep and the fact that these guys were likely armed we just tried to pull them out and get away from them.  Lets just say it didn't work.  It didn't work cause these guys had about three brain cells among the 4 or 5 of them.  We told them they need to call a tow truck and left them there.  In reality if they had any idea how to off road was to dig themselves out, jack the truck, place some rocks under the tire and go in reverse.  I didn't even want to bother with them after they proved too stupid to be helped.  We left them and wished them luck, hoping there was no damage to Chul's truck.

Prickly Poppy
Plummer's Mariposa Lily
From the parking lot, normally we climb the mountain via the trail but today I suggested that we bypass the hill and follow the water instead fishing the way up as we go.  I wanted to do this for a few reasons.  Mainly it was because I was too lazy to climb that trail today but also because its hot I wanted to be near the water to be cooler.  We reached the water and began fishing.  On my first cast I hooked up with a solid fish about 9 inches.  Because of its proximity to the parking lot, we had always bypassed it thinking that it would only contain small fish.  We were proved wrong today.  The trout in this portion were impressive.  I caught my largest fish on this water here today.  It must have been at least 13 inches.  This fishery never ceases to surprise me.  As we moved up, we continued to catch solid fish.  But soon the water began to trickle and then dry up completely.
The now empty pool that was several feet deep the last time.
Hopper about a size 6
Little Sally Stonefly
The last time I was here I managed a solid fish in a big deep pool.  That hole is now completely dried.  It must have been at least 4 feet deep.  Shocking. Continuing upstream, we noticed it was more the same.  Large pools that existed only a month ago are now just a trickle.  Chul managed a solid 12incher that eluded us the last time we were here.  I managed to see a 13 inch fat beast still in his pool.  Unfortunately the pool is covered with fallen logs and would be impossible to cast into.  I'm not sure if these fish will survive the rest of the summer.  If not that would be a shame.  With our hearts slightly broken to see what the river has become we decided not to reach the waterfall, if it even is a waterfall still, and head back out.  This fishery has been the best waters locally this year and if we do not get a good water year, I'm afraid this fishery will die.  Let's hope that is not the case.
Lunch Korokke Sandwich
Most likely my last sight of this place this year.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Long Beach Lonely Nights

Someone was out float tubing in pure darkness
Yesterday I had planned to fish Los Alamitos Bay at night but a last minute call from The Major changed that idea.  Since it was his last few days in California before he gets reassigned to the War College, I met all the boys at the local brewery instead of getting my line wet.  So today I decided I would make up for that.

Its been forever since I've fished the surf especially at night.  The last time was years ago when Kyung and I slammed the corbina around midnight.  I believe that was one of the first corbina I ever caught on a fly.  With the tide charts predicting a strong tide, I was confident I'd get on some fish.  Casting the Long Beach Leader system took some getting used to,  I hadn't used that system in such a long time, it was hard to get the timing down.  Trying to cast your entire floating line with 20 or more feet of straight mono is a pain in the ass.  No wonder I stopped fishing here years ago.
No luck tonight.  Perhaps another night.
Fishing tonight was slow.  I arrived just after the sun set and fished to about 10pm.  Not one strike.  I did see a very small bait fish swimming everywhere .  With the headlamp I could see they were greyish with blue eyes.  Not sure what they were though.  I tried a hoonie, hoonie 2 and a small clouser after I noticed all the small fish.  None proved effective.  Decided to call it quits as I need to wake up early for trout tomorrow.  I did see another flyfisherman out there in a tube.  What a nutcase.  Speaking with him briefly on the way out, he let me know that he managed a few dink sand bass.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tough Day At the Bay. Red Tide Coming.

The bay is still loaded with jellyfish eggs just like it was the last time I fished with Koji.
Despite what the tide charts say, today's tides were nonexistant.  Fishing was not helped by the fact that the mouth of the bay has begun to red tide.  For our 5 hours of constant casting, I only managed one sand bass that was a little over a pound.  It was a stocky fish but had some girth and weight to him.  With all his effort Alex came home with the skunk.  What a brutal day.  Arrived around 10am and fished the bait barge till noon.  Drifted the CGS, where I managed the sand bass.  And then we cruised areas looking for a bite.  Brutal.  Why is it when Alex and I fish together it always sucks?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trout Gyotaku

I practice catch and release, I did not catch or kill this fish.  I found it dead.
Not long ago while fishing one of our local waters with Chul, we found a dead 10 inch brown floating in a small pool along the bank.  When we finished fishing, we backtracked examine the fish.  I was ready to leave it when Chul suggested I take it home to do a gyotaku print of it.  So I did and placed it in a ziplock bag and hiked out of there.  Within the next few days I tried to make a print of it but all them came out poorly.  So I simply put the fish back into the freezer for another day.
The rice paper I was using was simply too thin and had a propensity to tear.  I emailed Koji to see what type of rice paper his friend's were using in Japan.  He made a few suggestions but none were available, to my knowledge, here in the States.  When Koji made me aware that he will be taking a business to LA I asked him to bring me some of that paper.   I defrosted the trout and have begun using the paper Koji gave me.  It is thick and I've yet to tear it.  Although the paper is good my technique is not.  I am just beginning to get the hang of it but I still have a long way to go before I really make a great looking print.
Two of the better prints.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Change of Plans...Should Have Just Watched Euro

With the tides optimal today, the original plan to go back and fish the bay, but that plan was scraped because of various reasons.  So I planned to just stay home and watch the soccer tournament until I had a last minute bright ideal to fish for trout and try out my new bag from Mont Bell.  Chul, although planning to head out to the Sierras to fish some real trout water tomorrow, was up for some local trout exploration.

I think once we saw cars parked along side of the road before the parking lot, we should have known something was up.  Today was a zoo.  Since school is out on vacation, our trout rivers are now packed like a Tokyo subway station during rush hour.  There were a hell of a lot more people than we expected for an early Friday morning. 

We headed downstream further than we had ever been, looking for a huge plunge pool under the waterfall.  Knowing full well that the water would have already been occupied by cliff divers, we still headed toward it just to see if it was worth fishing in the future.  In front of the falls, was a long pool that held several more-than-respectable fish.  We concluded that the huge pool must have monster trout in there, promising to return someday before the swimmers could ruin the pool.

We bypassed the circus and moved downstream fishing pocket water along the way.  The fish were plentiful and aggressive but none of any significant size although much larger than the fish I was catching at the East Fork a few days prior.  Eventually the area became to wild and we were unwilling to bushwhack in the jungle.  Way too much poison oak here.  So we turned back and headed upstream to the divers.  We found a nice pool just before the divers and caught several fish here.  We moved on from there catching fish here and there catching fish along the way.  With dinner plans, we quit around 3PM and started to head out.  The hike in today's heat was brutal.  Fishing SoCal waters during the summer is like this, I suppose, but I never can get used to all the crowds.  I go to the outdoors to get away from people not to engage with them.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mont Bell Crushable Lantern Shade

Today I received a unique piece of kit from UPS.  It's the Mont Bell Crushable Lantern Shade that converts your headlamp into a lantern.  I bought it on a whim, curious to see if it was more gimmick than practical.  I like the ideal and if it works as advertised than it will make a useful addition to my backpacking gear.   I using go without a lantern in the backcountry, often leaving behind my Black Diamond Apollo lantern to save weight.  Made from a polyester fabric that has the feel of rice paper, the shade is extremely lightweight, adding only .18 ounces or 5 grams (for those of you on the metric system) to your pack.   

So far I've only tried the system with my Black Diamond Spot headlamp in a dark closet so I can not really comment on the effectiveness on it.  I'm not sure if the shade actually added anything more or not.  I'll have to wait and see what it looks like once it gets dark outside.  If it fails to do as advertised, it would suck but at $14, I was willing to give it a shot.  One good thing going for it is, its not a cheap import, its made in Japan.

I'll have to take it backpacking one day and see if its worth carrying.  Maybe I'll get to try it when Chul and I finally go beyond the Bridge to Nowhere.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Filson Bird Strap

It's about time.  Filson has finally made a duck strap.  I'm not sure how new this product is, but I know it was not around a few years ago.  I'm shocked that they didn't make this ages ago.  Now if only they made a 12 gauge shellbelt.  I bought this on sale online at Classic Upland Supply out of New York for $68.60.  Duck straps are must have kit for waterfowlers.  Given the size of geese and ducks, game bags typically are filled after a few birds.  So having straps is essential.
These self closing loops are held together with, I believe, steel rings with brass plating.  The rings slide smoothly and will hold a waterfowl's neck securely.  The bridle leather is thick and well tanned.  No doubt, like most Filson leather products, this thing is built to last.  Best of all it's US made not like the Chinese made McAlister crap out on the market now.  And unlike the McAlister that only has six straps, the Filson has ten.  I guess the designers at McAlister don't hunt or realize our duck limits are 7.  Add a few geese t that number in a days hunt and you'll have your hands free to carry out your shotgun, dog stand, chair or whatever from the duck blind while your birds hang from your shoulder.
The Filson logo is handsomely embossed onto the leather.  The strap is smooth for comfort but I wish they added some sort of padding as a bunch of geese and ducks can get heavy.  Now only if it were October already...Hopefully I'll actually get to use this strap this season, last year was a joke.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Floating Minnow Fly From Japan

Koji gave me some Japanese flies that he uses to target suzuki in Tokyo bay.  I really like these flies, they are similar to Jack Gartside's Floating Minnow, with a few differences.  I'm not sure who came up with the idea first but I don't care.  I plan on using this fly for our fresh and saltwater bass.  Although meant to be fished as a popper, I'll also fish it deep with a fast sinking line.
The inner core of the body is polyethylene foam pipe foam that is purchased at a hardware store but tubular fly tying foam can work although its more expensive.  I've looked through our hardware store websites and it seems all our foams come in black here in the US.  I'll have to check in person to see if that's the case.  If so I guess I'll just have to pay more and buy the fly tying foam.  Can't wait to try this fly out.

Monkey Bum

Not well known here in the States, the Monkey Bum is a highly effective fly.  Created by an Australian guide, the Monkey Bum is an easy to tie emerger.  I have been using it lately with great success.  When I've worked a pool to the point of shutting it down, I switch to this fly and the fish begin to start biting again.  My version is slightly different from the original since I those were the materials I had on hand but the original material is listed below in parenthesis.  Just dab good glob of floatant on the post only when your ready to fish and good luck.

Hook: TMC2487 (Kamasan B100) size 10-14
Post:  Hi-Vis Pink (Neer Hair)
Thorax:  Peacock
Abdomen:  Black floss (Dark Brown Uni-flex)
Tail:  3-4 strands of pheasant tail fibers
Thread:  Black thread 6/0

Monday, June 18, 2012

I Thought California Was a Mecca For Largemouth Bass?

Proof that Southern California is a world class bass destination.
Having several friends that are guides, I now know how stressful their job must be.  For the last few days I've fished with my friend from Japan.  When he let me know he wanted to catch some salt water bass, particularly calicos, I was pretty confident I could do that for him.  After all my buddies and I have logged hundreds of days at the bay over the years, so that request was moderately easy.  When he let me know he wanted to catch some local wild trout, I knew for a fact I could get him on more than his share of trout.  But when Koji found out he was to have some free time today and let me know he was interested in catching largemouth bass and possibly crappie, this was the first time I was less than confident. 
Koji's trophy SoCal largemouth.  Get it mounted and hang it on the office wall.
Since we only had an afternoon, I was limited to where I could take him for bass.  Much of the better waters are at least an hour away drive and with traffic, which begins about the time Koji could arrive at my house, there was no way that was going to happen.  MVL is private lake that I don't have access.  So I had to pick other waters close to home.  I choose to take him to Laguna Niguel Lake.  I know there is a lot of bass here and with a strong trout stockings during the spring months those fish get big.  Just about a month ago reports of 15-20 bass a day were reported and fish up to 12 pounds were being caught.  Looks like those days are over though and welcome to the dog days of summer.  The water is green and visibility is only a few inches I tried to track my fly and couldn't see it more than 6 inches or so.  Today was brutal.  We only manged dinks.  When I say dinks, I mean DINKS.  These couldn't even be categorized as juvenile bass, more like fry.  We couldn't even get the bluegill to bite.  Koji very much wanted a crappie but no fish would honor us with a take.  What a bust.  Even though Koji is a  reasonable fisherman and understands that fishing sometimes goes this way, I still felt bad that I could not have at least show him a bass that was larger than the 12 inchers or so he can get in and around Tokyo.  Sorry Koji.  We tried everything we could, different flies, different strips, everything.  No luck.  Koji did have a good fish take when he hit the bank with his floating minnow but it would not stay on.  Damn.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

East Fork For the Far East Man

"I traveled over 5000 miles and you take me here?"
When Koji let me know months ago that he wanted a day on our SoCal trout waters, I debated long and hard on which river I'd take him to. Having traveled a bit myself I know how difficult it is to adjust to a different timezone let alone trying to acclimate to a different climate. So I didn't want to take him to place with a difficult hike. I ended up deciding on the West Fork, due to its paved road along side the river making it an easy hike. I'm much a fan of the West Fork but I thought its easy fishing and an easy walk.

While driving up the mountain I asked Koji whether or not he wanted to fish the East Fork instead since in my experience it had the larger fish but slightly more difficult hike. He opted for the East Fork.   I'm glad he did as I prefer the the East Fork much more.   It  was hot today but the fishing was not affected whatsoever.  The fish remained feeding throughout the day and were taking anything that was thrown at them.  Kojo at one point even casted a size 8 foam fly at them and the dinks even struck that although they couldn't fit it in it's mouth.

Typical with the East Fork, we both managed more fish than we could care to remember, over 60 a piece. Most were in the dink range but all on dry flies. There were a sprinkling of larger fish as well many in the 6-8 inch range. Koji managed 10 incher and I bested at about 9.  While there were no pigs today, I did speak with a group of hikers that let me know that there were some serious fish about a mile from us.  I thanked them for the info and they went on our way.  About six years ago I had once caught a 13 incher here with Joel and I was looking for that hole today hoping that his offspring would be now dominating that pool.  We didn't make it that far but one of these days I'm going to make it past the bridge to nowhere and look for lunkers out there.  Upon returning Koji gave me some of his fishing club's merchandise, a patch from his European club and a sticker from his Japan club.  I think they're pretty cool.  Thank you Koji.

To those with little shits Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Newport Bay Fly Fishing

Koji on his first SoCal Fish.
For some, the fishing gods look down upon them and make sure they have a good time.  While for
others, like me, they just give them the middle finger.

Its been years since my glory days fly fishing Newport Bay every other weekend during summer with my bud Yosh.  I think the last time I was here was at least six or seven years ago.  With all that experience here, I know how to fish it and where are all the good waters.  So I knew when my friend Koji from Japan wanted to get his first calico bass, I was pretty confident I could oblige his request. 

With all the bashing I do about technology, there are the occasional perks about it.  For one I "meet" a lot of people with common interests around the world that I would otherwise never speak with if it weren't for the internet.  Koji is one example.  For the last two years or so, I have been in email communication with him as I had planned on going back to Japan to finally fish for their glorious native trout and Suzuki seabass.  Unfortunately with a weak dollar and a recession my plans never came to fruition.  Not long ago though Koji let me know that he will be in my neck of the woods on business and if I could show him some of our local fisheries.  I was more than happy to oblige.
Today we were in search for first calico bass.  All forms of bass, calico, spotted bay, and sand, are present in the bay with calico being probably the least common of the three.   Once we boarded our skiff rental, I directed us to the mouth.  I have read reports that mackerel have been hanging out at the bait barge, so I figured we start there.  Macs are great sport on light tackle and i figured it would be a great start to get the skunk off the boat early.  Also since bass are frequently caught there, it made good sense.  I was a bit worried on how well the fishing would be as the tides weren't as good as I normally prefer but in this case we didn't have the option of changing days.

Not long I got my first hook up.  It was a strong fish and pulled line like mad.  I managed to spot it long enough to at least see its size.  Initially I thought it was a huge mac and then it suddenly came loose.  The tippet snapped.  I was pissed.  Not long afterwards Koji was on with a rather angry fish.  Once he landed it, we noticed it was a barracuda.  At that moment the fish I lost must have been a cuda and its teeth seared the leader.   In no time Koji was on a dink halibut.   It was not long after that that Koji finally hooked and landed his desired quarry, the calico bass.  Although small it was still a calico.  Now that I got him on his desired fish I wanted to get him the other bass species.  The next fish he managed was a spotted bay bass.  The already weak tide was beginning to peak when I decided it was time to move.   We moved to a section with deep canyon beneath us.  Within the first drift Koji managed a good spottie.  It looked about 2 pounds before the fish came unglued just near the boat.

I told Koji about the time I misjudged my cast and double hauled my clouser directly into the window of a docked Sheriff Harbor Patrol boat creating a huge smack noise that seemed to be amplified by my fear and embarrassment,  Thankfully no damage was done to the window and doubly thankfully that no Sheriff deputies were outside at the time.  This gave Koji and great laugh and with the fishing slowed I moved us to an area of moored boats that I've had great success in the past.  It took some time but managed to complete the salt water bass grand slam with his sand bass.  We moved to other waters and I showed Koji Terrible Herbst's home.  I wanted to fish the many great sections past the PCH bridge but while fishing near the floating seafood market, one of the workers let me know that everything past the bridge has now been closed to fishing by order of the MLPA.  Great, I thought.  She apologized and defended our rights to fish.  There was no reason to apologize and I thanked her for letting us know, the last thing I need is to be cited.

My dink Calico that saved me the embarassment of the skunk.
We fished areas without much success. Koji suggested that we go back to the barge and I agreed.  With only about 45 minutes until the boat was due, I fished like made to fend off the skunk.  Since becoming knowledgeable of this water, I have yet to be skunked.  Today was not going to be the first.  The tide shifted slightly and that was a good sign.  I missed several short strikes while Koji continued to catch fish here and there.  Finally I managed a solid bite.  I rushed it in and finally landed a dink calico that saved me from the skunk.  Why did the fishing gods curse me?  At least Koji didn't come 5,478 miles for nothing.  I, at least, accomplished my primary mission- get Koji his fish.  While none were of any substantial size, with the expection of the one that got away, at least he didn't get skunked.  We left and returned our boat to get some lunch and then head off to Bob Marriott's so Koji could get some vastly cheaper fly fishing supplies compared to Japan.  Tomorrow we are off to the mountains and maybe since I fished so poorly maybe that means I get a huge local monster trout for my patience.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Another Free Online Magazine
Here is another free online fly fishing magazine devoted entirely to the trout paradise known as Montana.  Click the pic to be sent to the website to check it out.  Can't beat the price!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's True, Local Giants Do Exists. Catching Them Though...

While not the giant, a more than respectable local fish.
After visiting the Orvis shop to use our $25 off coupon, Chul and I hit one of our favorite local water.  The last time Chul stopped by he saw a pair of gigantic trout at least 18 inches in a pool.  While he was unable to connect with any of them, we returned today to see if we could tag team them using a spotter above to direct the attack. 

Our plan was to fish known pools that held the big fish and skip all the pocket water and pools that we've only caught dinks or average fish in.  While driving up the mountain I saw a helicopter fly out of the canyon eye level with us.  I couldn't believe it and told Chul who was driving.  Once we arrived at the parking lot it was filled with paramedics, fire engines and US Forestry Search and Rescue.  I spoke with a group of hikers that saw what happened.  Apparently some gal fell 40 feet while try to dive into one of the deep pools.  She gashed her forehead pretty good among other injuries.  They told me the scariest part was no one there had a clue what to do.  Luckily there was student nurse that was able to get a hold of the situation before help could arrive.

We left the drama and headed to the trail.  After the first bend, Chul realized that he left his wallet in the truck and may have kept the truck unlocked.  So I took his fly rod and he went back while I went toward the the water to fish the first pool to wait for him.  I caught several dinks while I waited.  Chul finally arrived and I handed him his new Sage Z-Axis. 

Tiger Lily

We reached the pool that held the pair of giants and looked for them from above.  We found them circling in a section of the pool.  Even elevated twenty feet these monster looked huge.  Once Chul met a fellow fly fisherman that told him that he managed an 18 inch brown here, I initially thought that guy is full of shit.  Now I know better.  Before I went down, we broke down the pool into sections A-D so that I knew where the cast. Chul would stay put and spot me telling me which section to cast.  I made it through the ivy before hearing some rustling and seeing a tail.  Was this another rattlesnake encounter?  I wasn't going to find out and took a roundabout method to the pool.  Once I reached the water I could barely hear him with the moving water.  I casted where he told me and I over lined the fish and it spooked.  The pool proved dead after that.

We hiked to an area of water that we never fished.  There were some nice pools in the beginning but it quickly turned into a trickle holding only 6 inch dinks.  We started to head back and I fished one of those nice pools that we skipped earlier and connected with the nicest fish of the day.  I landed him with my new Orvis labeled Brodin net that I bought earlier with my coupon.

We headed back to the pool with the pair of monsters.  I fished the right side and Chul fished the left where we last saw the pair.  I spotted a serious fish follow my fly and start to sip it and I over zealously yanked the fly out of its grasp.  I saw his sides as he splashed out of the water.  Most likely a 12 incher or better.  Afterwards we headed out after trying pointlessly to connect with those pigs.  I even tied a small mouse pattern to see if that would interest them but they had no interest.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Other Side- Welcome to Hell

Lately we’ve been spoiled.  Typically most people don’t complain about catching 100 fish but when you’re told by a DFG biologist that there are a lot “big” fish up to 14 inches up the stream and you don't get any, well...From what I've heard these biologists don't bullshit and are a pretty reliable source.  But after a few hours of fishing Chul and I were scratching our heads.  While we were able to catch some fish up to 11 inches and some maybe pushing 12 we were still waiting to see one of those local lunkers.  Chul did manage to spook one of those pigs in a small pool covered with crisscrossing fallen logs, making it impossible even if it weren’t spooked to throw a fly at or even land.

A while ago Chul fished this water and managed a few fish up to 10 inchers.  Once he was told there were larger fish upstream he was eager to return.  With high expectations, he made his return today bringing me along.  Without getting into his personal life, Chul had a rough week and needing some respite from it, we fished, unfortunately his bad luck seemed to follow him here to the stream.  The lower portion typical of SoCal streams was crowded with a combination of swimmers, spin fishermen, knuckleheads, and the like.  So we hiked past them bypassing some rather promising looking large pools.  We began fishing once we felt we weren’t going to be disturbed by others. 

Chul Taking a dive to avoid a huge rattlesnake
After a few hours of mostly dinks, I began thinking to myself maybe I should have just stayed home and watched Euro 2012 and one of my favorite teams, Germany.  The trout here are easy to catch and they are plentiful but not really big.  There are pods of rainbows in very pocket water and small pools.  They are aggressive like most of our local fish and will take any dry fly that you present to them no matter how sloppy.  We hiked upstream finally finding a deep huge pool.  At this point we had not seen any fish bigger than 9 inches and we thought if there is a 14 incher it would be in there.  I missed a strike and Chul’s fish came loose.  Surprisingly the hole was a dud.  All the fish in there we could see were small.  We decided to move on upstream I took the shallower side of the pool and moved on.  Chul decided to take the dry route and climbed up to the bank covered in ivy.   Ahead of him, I heard a ruckus behind me and turned my head back only to see Chul belly flop into the deep pool.  I thought he slipped but the angle he took into the water didn’t look like it.  I asked if he were okay and he said he was just face to face with a rattler.  Knowing he was fine I started laughing and Chul now soaking wet could only giggle and follow my route upstream.  Being soaked from head to toe would later prove to be more of a headache later.

Were these rattlesnake eggs?  We did not want to find out.
We continued to fish catching fish along the way and around noon we started get hungry so Chul found an spot near the rock face of the mountain to break for mealtime.  I noticed he had a concerned look on his face while looking around near all the small caves and caverns in the side of the mountain.  I asked him what’s up.  He was worried that this was a perfect rattlesnake habitat and then we noticed a den full of eggs.  “Let's get the fuck out of here, let’s find another place for lunch, " I said.   We found a shaded area near the stream away from any danger.

After eating in a snake free area we began fishing again.  The fish were starting to get bigger but none reaching the sizes we were hoping for.  I'm always impressed with the beauty of our local fish.  Some even have a golden trout look to them, while others are extremely dark and some in between.  It was 3:30 when we made the plan to fish until 4 before heading back.  When 4pm arrived we said screw it and continued to fish moving onward, still curious whether there really is a 14 inchers in here.  We continued and Chul spooked the only 14incher we saw.  We continued to fish until the stream basically turned into a trickle and started to head back.  I saw what appeared to be a trail and took the dry route.  We soon noticed that it was a littered with huge bear scat and that’s when we noticed its track.  This guy was huge.  We were in his living room and got the hell out of there and back into the water.  There was no trail so we had to hike down the whole way via the stream.  It was slow and agonizing trying to get out of there.  We were beat, beaten up and it appeared that we were wading in a loop.  It seemed like every bend, every, straightaway, every fallen log looked the same.  It was never ending.  It took us 2.5 hours to get off that mountain. 

When we were finally in eye sight of the parking lot, our spirits began to rise; we were ready to get the hell out of there.  Once we reached the truck Chul hit the button one his car alarm.  Nothing.  Oh great.  Typical.  I told him, at least with my brother’s car, if you just use the key to open the door it will turn off the alarm.  Well Chul’s Nissan is not like my brother Toyota.  Once he unlocked the truck and opened the door the alarm blazed.  We took the key alarm apart and tried to dry the internals all the while the alarm is echoing the canyon.  We were there in the parking lot for at least 45 minutes until Chul was able to MacGuyver the alarm by scraping some corrosion off the diode.  Thank god.  We got the hell out of there, promising never to return.  We laughed at all of the misfortune Chul has had lately.   At least he can laugh at it, I guess that is all you can do without going insane. 

We made it back to Chul’s house beaten and bruised then after picking up his spare alarm key we had a late dinner at Oijima.  The food was great but we were so hungry and tired that anything would have taste good.  We started with fried tofu and beef sashimi.  Chul had katsu curry and I tempura udon.