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Cermele: When "Hardcore" Becomes Stupid

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October 21, 2008

Cermele: When "Hardcore" Becomes Stupid

By Joe Cermele

Since I started at F&S last March, Online Editor Nate Matthews and I have been trying to put a fishing trip together. But as it often goes, schedules conflict and weather has a strange way of getting ugly when you finally find the time to join forces on the water. This past Sunday was no exception to that weather rule.

We knew by Friday that the original plan to fish on my boat was out. Reports called for 30- to 35-knot sustained winds, gusting 45 knots. Seas were forecast at 7 to 10 feet. So not to be defeated by the elements, we decided to go surf fishing instead.

I'd fished the beach in wind that fierce before and it is basically impossible, especially with a hard north wind. You make a cast, and before your lure hits the water, the wind blows half your spool of line down the beach. You can't keep contact with the lure anyway, and the whitewater is so thick you could not pick out a pocket to save your life. However, our opting to try it regardless is proof that past experiences don't mean jack, because if your sick-in-the-head crazy for stripers, or any other fish for that matter, you can convince yourself that any conditions are perfectly fishable, if not ideal.

I managed to snap a few shots out there, and admittedly, Nate looks pretty hardcore in this photo. But about ten seconds later (right after I shut down my camera...damn), he got bowled over and disappeared beneath a blanket of froth, finally popping up and floundering like a harpooned seal before finding his footing. I laughed of course, but the joke was on me: it took about two hours to clean all the sand out of the reel I lent him.
P1010004

We had left my house at 4:15 a.m., and Nate was back on a train to NYC by 11. It was a worthy shot, but even nuts eventually have to admit that they're nuts and a nap on the couch would make more sense. Wishful thinking can only carry your spirits so far during such extreme conditions.

So what conditions and scenarios have you fished that finally got you to admit you need professional help?

JC

Comments (7)

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from j zadvorney wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

I fish the lower niagara in the winter. The water is full of steel head and they bite little jigs and emerald shiners. I lock on to a real nice one and realize I don't have a net. Not a problem if you are at water level which I am not. The level of the river swells and ebbs on the whim of the power athority. Ice builds up a 7 to 10 foot bank on the side. As I get the steely in close I see a large ce outcroping down stream. It is a boulder the size of a bus that is normally OUT in the river. The ice has built up on its' flanks forming a burg with a large flat shelf. Luck is on my side as the water level is rising and the shelf of ice is now under a few inches of water. I gingerly step onto the ice and bring the fish to hand. The large hen steel head flops around a little as I try to retrieve my lig. The 4lb test florocarbon snaps and the fish slides tword the edge of eternity. Instinct takes over (read: stupidity) and I dive on the ice, water and all and grab the fish. A wrestleing match insues and I win by launching the fish on the shoreline. When I crawl back up un the pack ice I realize that I was standing on an iceburg in the middle of the river in 10 feet of water IN JANUARY!! I continued to fish an landed three more in much the same fasion but with less drama. An on looker asked me if I was nuts. I replied "Yes."

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from John Merwin wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Hey, alabamahunter.....Winter trout fishing can be good in lots of places, even though trout do slow down in in colder water. In general, fish low and slow, whether with flies or small marabou jigs on ultralight spinning gear.North Carolina has some good trout fishing in the western mountain areas. For details, check with Asheville Drifters fly shop at ashevilledrifters.com. Good luck!

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from JC wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Alabama, it's totally possible. However, it's been my experience that trout on the East Coast do slow down a bit in the dead of winter. You'll have to be stealthy and persistent, but you can catch.If you hunt every year, why not try something new. I'm not very familiar with that area though. Merwin may be...John? Any thoughts?

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from alabamahunter wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

This kind of goes along with what you are talking about. My parents are planning a trip to Maggie Valley North Carolina in late December. I've been looking at the feesibility of catching wild trout somewhere in that area. From what I've read the wild trout are smaller, but I want to catch a wild trout. The weather wont bother me; hell it could be 10 over 0 and I would still want to fish. My delima is that I could stay and hunt here in Alabama.Is it even really posible to catch trout in the winter? Are they just lethargic like bass? I don't know jack about fishing for trout either. I guess I'm just a southern boy. All I know is bass and redfish, so I will be completely out of my element. I've tried my hand at casting bass bugs and some salt flies, but I don't have access to flie eqiupment suited to trout, although I have plenty of spinning tackle that would be perfect.So is it possible ,or am I just crazy?

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from JC wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Any time John...you know how to find me!And Dr. Ralph, that story has me beat.

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from John Merwin wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Geez, I'm sorry I wasn't with you guys. I would have enjoyed watching with a cup of hot coffee from the cab of my truck!

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Caney Fork River just below the dam on Center Hill Lake. I'm looking at a pristine Trout factory and pull my truck down close to the water just because, well I guess just because I'm an idiot. Wading out and catching some fish when all of a sudden I hear a very loud noise. Holy Shit it's the air horn warning everyone the dam is about to start generating! I'm trying my hardest to run in waist deep water, falling down but all I can think of is my truck floating downstream. Lost a pole and some fish and ended up with quite a few cuts and bruises but that was fine because I somehow managed to pull my truck out of knee high water. Thank god for positive traction, and my truck needed a good douche on the floorboards anyway...

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from j zadvorney wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

I fish the lower niagara in the winter. The water is full of steel head and they bite little jigs and emerald shiners. I lock on to a real nice one and realize I don't have a net. Not a problem if you are at water level which I am not. The level of the river swells and ebbs on the whim of the power athority. Ice builds up a 7 to 10 foot bank on the side. As I get the steely in close I see a large ce outcroping down stream. It is a boulder the size of a bus that is normally OUT in the river. The ice has built up on its' flanks forming a burg with a large flat shelf. Luck is on my side as the water level is rising and the shelf of ice is now under a few inches of water. I gingerly step onto the ice and bring the fish to hand. The large hen steel head flops around a little as I try to retrieve my lig. The 4lb test florocarbon snaps and the fish slides tword the edge of eternity. Instinct takes over (read: stupidity) and I dive on the ice, water and all and grab the fish. A wrestleing match insues and I win by launching the fish on the shoreline. When I crawl back up un the pack ice I realize that I was standing on an iceburg in the middle of the river in 10 feet of water IN JANUARY!! I continued to fish an landed three more in much the same fasion but with less drama. An on looker asked me if I was nuts. I replied "Yes."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from John Merwin wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Hey, alabamahunter.....Winter trout fishing can be good in lots of places, even though trout do slow down in in colder water. In general, fish low and slow, whether with flies or small marabou jigs on ultralight spinning gear.North Carolina has some good trout fishing in the western mountain areas. For details, check with Asheville Drifters fly shop at ashevilledrifters.com. Good luck!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JC wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Alabama, it's totally possible. However, it's been my experience that trout on the East Coast do slow down a bit in the dead of winter. You'll have to be stealthy and persistent, but you can catch.If you hunt every year, why not try something new. I'm not very familiar with that area though. Merwin may be...John? Any thoughts?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from alabamahunter wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

This kind of goes along with what you are talking about. My parents are planning a trip to Maggie Valley North Carolina in late December. I've been looking at the feesibility of catching wild trout somewhere in that area. From what I've read the wild trout are smaller, but I want to catch a wild trout. The weather wont bother me; hell it could be 10 over 0 and I would still want to fish. My delima is that I could stay and hunt here in Alabama.Is it even really posible to catch trout in the winter? Are they just lethargic like bass? I don't know jack about fishing for trout either. I guess I'm just a southern boy. All I know is bass and redfish, so I will be completely out of my element. I've tried my hand at casting bass bugs and some salt flies, but I don't have access to flie eqiupment suited to trout, although I have plenty of spinning tackle that would be perfect.So is it possible ,or am I just crazy?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JC wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Any time John...you know how to find me!And Dr. Ralph, that story has me beat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from John Merwin wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Geez, I'm sorry I wasn't with you guys. I would have enjoyed watching with a cup of hot coffee from the cab of my truck!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 26 weeks ago

Caney Fork River just below the dam on Center Hill Lake. I'm looking at a pristine Trout factory and pull my truck down close to the water just because, well I guess just because I'm an idiot. Wading out and catching some fish when all of a sudden I hear a very loud noise. Holy Shit it's the air horn warning everyone the dam is about to start generating! I'm trying my hardest to run in waist deep water, falling down but all I can think of is my truck floating downstream. Lost a pole and some fish and ended up with quite a few cuts and bruises but that was fine because I somehow managed to pull my truck out of knee high water. Thank god for positive traction, and my truck needed a good douche on the floorboards anyway...

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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