July 08, 2012
Rain pelts the roof of my cabin overlooking Misaw Lake as I write this. To flirt with the understatement of the year, it was a dramatic day. A roller coaster ride of joy and pathos, thunder and lightning, fear and levity, broken and subsequently repaired rods, fishless hours and intense flurries of activity.
It starts by walking the planks. To reach the end of the second portage, you must cross a wetland by boardwalk.
Travelling light is advised, even though it's a short portage. The first time. On the way back to the lodge, it seems quite a bit longer.
As promised in yesterday's post, we were making our way up the Schwandt River. Its deeper holes hold lake trout, its rapids swarm with grayling, but adipose fins weren't on the card today. This was a day for teeth. And violent weather.
One of those Riders of The Storm kind of days, punctuated with gnashing, gnawing, and shredding.
"Edwin," I announced to my trusted guide and footsore companion, "those thunderheads are signals to creatures of the esox variety."
He looked at me as if to ask, "What the hell are you talking about?'
"The pike mean to go on a feeding spree," I said. "Electrical storms and sudden changes of pressure — never mind. Just put us on the best big-fish spot you've got right now. Don't save it for later."
In the ominous calm before the storm, with darkness encroaching and lightning swirling miles up on the largest anvil heads I've seen in years, Edwin took us on a dizzying slalom ride around islands, shoals, and rock piles.
We pulled up on the legendary Pearly Gates. "We always pull several big ones off the Gates," he announced. And so we fished. In accordance with the Year of The Blade, Edwin threw bucktails. I threw everything else. And nothing bit. Nothing at all.
Looking up, it became apparent that the storm was changing course. Just like the wind. Throughout the day the wind would change direction more often than the average woman changes her mind.
But just because Mother Nature missed us once didn't mean she was giving up. The day was a ceaseless parade of thunderstorms. Gargantuan thunderstorms, interspersed by periods of dead calm and searing, Sahara-like heat. The storms, in fact, became the most welcome interludes of the day. Not only did the cool breezes and cold rain feel like paradise, but, as predicted, ol' esox went absolutely bonkers just before every storm hit.
Did blades prevail, as they have all year? Did we catch anything really huge? What about the broken rods? The fear? The pathos?
All in good time. (Hey — did I mention the rain pelting off the roof? I absolutely love laying in bed in a cabin, somewhere on the far fringe of nowhere, reading a good book. Sorry.You'll just have to wait for tomorrow's post to hear the rest...of the story.)