Scarborough Fly & Bait Casting Association
23 Willowhurst Crescent, Scarborough  Ontario M1R 3R7
Phone & Fax - 416/755-5663
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 THE REEL THING                                                                             December 2003

With only a couple of weeks left before our club’s second biggest event of the year, our Christmas party and casting ‘do’, Sheila and I on behalf of all of our members would like to wish everybody a super Christmas, a Happy Honokaa and a wonderful New Year. Of course, our biggest annual event is still the Scarborough Fly and Bait Casting Open Championships held on the first weekend of June every year. *Dale Lanser & John Seroczynski – please take note!

It has been an excellent year for our club, with super results in the competitive side of things, great new members, fine participation and some remarkable fishing. Fishing-wise, the folks who were able to get away with us for some of the trout action in Haliburton this fall all experienced quite a variety of thrills and success. I believe there was only one trip, the earliest one in September, with Robert Beaudoin where we were skunked, although even then we did have our chances.

There are a couple of highlights worth mentioning here. Number one, I heard from Rick Matusiak that he fished almost all the open legal and available waters up Georgian Bay way the other day with a couple of other fishin’ buddies (not from the club) and believe it or not, although he saw, “Thousands,” caught not a single solitary trout. That has to be a record in itself for this superb angler…….I guess he should have had some of our other resident experts along with him. Rick reports, though that the trout were stacked up like spawning sockeye salmon, but up in the higher, beyond legal access reaches of the rivers. Probably the excessive fall rains had driven them well upstream well away from angling accessibility.

The second situation that I believe will give you a chuckle was our final trip into the trout lake county up in Haliburton with Roger Cannon, Paul Kennedy and new member, Harold Higdon. Our planned destination was Limit Lake which has been surrendering gorgeous ‘bows and exciting fishing all fall. Part of the fun in the Limit Lake excursions is simply getting there. Simply it is not!

            First is a three-hour trip after leaving Toronto at four in the morning, followed by a half-hour crawl down a part-corduroy logging and hydro road then if successfully negotiated, a final twenty-minute fight through a swampy obstacle course, really suitable only for A.T.V.s. However, the aforementioned fall rains that had messed up Rick’s outing on the same weekend, also inundated the trails, swamps and bush up our way in Haliburton, turning portions of the trail, minuscule at best, into ponds and quagmires that tested our Jeep’s abilities to their limits with water well up the side doors and almost over the hood in a few places.

            On top of those slogging obstacles, the bottom had fallen out of the barometer with the temperature dropping to minus 13C which meant that most of the ponds which we were attempting to negotiate were now covered with several inches of hard blue ice. It was a fun and games drive, to say the least. However, we forged ahead without getting stuck until we reached the biggest hill-climb in the area, which had been over-flowed with the rains then frozen over into a near vertical extremely slippery ice mass.

            The big Jeep managed to get half-way up, but that was it. Even when stopped it simply slid dangerously downwards and backwards, narrowly avoiding dropping over the edge of the trail and disappearing into the bush. At one point Paul stepped carefully out and was barely able to grab the Jeep in order to prevent his own slide down the hill.

Nevertheless, we somehow managed to get back down safely and locate a spot where we were able to turn around and work our way back to the hydro road where we paused to lick our wounds and look for an alternative.  By then we had already forfeited much of our planned fishing time, but decided to head for one of the few other lakes that are open up that way all year round, East Lake. Although not having fished it for twenty-five years I felt that I still new which bush trail would lead us to it and we struck out accordingly.

Somehow (after all, things do change after twenty-five years) we missed the exit trail and continued to wander in what we thought was the right direction until the complaints from the back seat were becoming stronger and stronger and the trail becoming rather insignificant, at times disappearing into frozen ponds and marshes. There seemed to be no backing out so ignoring the comments from the cheap seats we pushed on. There seemed to be trails branching off in all directions every half-mile or so and we eventually realised we were far beyond our planned destination and merely wandering along a network of old logging trails – and probably deep in the heart of Algonquin Park.

At one point it was suggested that we pick a spot, take a break and heat up our pre-cooked shore-dinner lunch, a huge pot of venison stew, laced with wild leeks and wild mushrooms. I had been telling the guys about the treat for some time and they were certainly ready for it after our five or six hour odyssey, since we left home in the wee hours. I insisted that we would have to break out of the park boundaries sooner or later, then we could head for another lake about a half-hour south of the park where we could heat up the stew, launch the fold-boats then wet our lines for an hour or so before packing up and heading home. Although not really trusting me any more by that point, there wasn’t much choice so they all mumbled their acquiescence.

Sure enough we broke out of Algonquin Park on the south-east corner and struck out for Wilberforce, a tiny village about twenty miles or so south then took another back-county road a couple miles north to tiny Clement Lake, one that I knew could provide decent rainbow trout fishing. The stew was marvellous and the sun had broken out warming things up to about minus 5C and we set about attacking the little lake. It took only moments when Harold let out a war-whoop then played a trout to a stand-still that was too big for Roger’s trout net. Paul and I had to cross the lake to lend our more optimistically designed landing net to them for the trout’s capture.

Harold, a Newfoundlander for almost half his life declared that the 22 inch, five-pounder was the trout biggest he had ever caught. His success was promptly followed by Roger’s, another lovely ‘bow, although a little smaller than Harold’s. Paul and I continued to flail away on the other side of the lake for an hour or so, stopping every few casts to swish the rods in the water to melt the ice in the guides, but all to no avail. Although we ended up paying the other lads for the fishing bets the day was eventually declared an outstanding adventure and enjoyed by all…….especially the stew!

The shop activities are of course well underway, with Scott Owen gluing up the butt section on his new Broadback model fly rod last week and several others beginning new rod building projects of their own, while the fly tying fraternity have been working on Woolly Buggers, Despairs, Mickey Finns and Leeches. For those who have not been taking advantage of the club’s shop activities, you folks are missing out on one of the biggest assets of our association, the instruction and expertise of folks like Hans, Jim, Leon and Paul, along with the use of our newly insulated (partly, anyhow, thanks to Paul Becker) facility, the shop in my garage. There are still many Tuesday evenings left in the schedule to participate in one or both of the shop activities.

Ice fishing is not far off, with the January 1st opening just a few weeks away. A few of us will be heading for A/B Lake for the first outing anyhow then on the following weekends, fishing Beanpole, Limit, A/B and possibly several others that need checking out, but not necessarily in that order. There is room for four on these excursions, so if you’re interested in joining in on the fun, please get back to Jim or me as S.A.P. so we can make our plans accordingly. We fish outside, near shore and keep a big campfire going all day (tea pot alongside) on its edge. Between Jim and myself, we have enough equipment to pretty well outfit the entire club, but call us if you would like to know more about these outings.

We are hoping that everybody shows up at the gym for the Christmas party and casting ‘do’ on Thursday, December 11th.  We will have snacks, including my fresh-made gravaadlax, drinks and pastries and possibly whatever other goodies you folks bring along with you for us all to share. We may also have Rick’s super Broadback video playing for your enjoyment whilst you nibble. There will of course be casting with a number of prizes and the club’s all-round trophy at stake. A draw will also be held for a couple of superb dinners for two that we have obtained, The Mandarin Restaurant and Frankie Tomatoes.

Our newest member, George Monroe is expected to attend and it is anticipated that he will be a factor in the competition for the club trophy, which has been the sole property of Paul Kennedy for a few years now. It would be wonderful if all our members, especially those with new members of their own families, such as Robert Beaudoin, Wil Jin and Scott Owen, would bring their wives, girlfriends, whatever along with them and their new kids to enjoy the fun, food and tall stories.

Tomorrow and next Tuesday in the shop, followed by the party on the 11th marks the end of our fall season, at which point Sheila and I take off for a couple weeks over Christmas to Panama. On January 13th we commence shop activities (rod building) followed by fly tying and casting the following week, Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

A very Best of the Season,