I had applied for a part time job at a big box outdoor store. Fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing and kayaking, basically nothing I didn’t know anything about. The first interview went well. Work days would be Saturday and Sunday and I had what they needed.
A few days later the second interview went well with the manager of the department. Work days would now be Saturday, Sunday and Monday. More hours would be good and I informed them that I had another part time job promising more hours, but that I would set aside more time for the one that needed me more. I was told the decision would be made the next day and they’ll call.
A week later I called them. The position was filled. They decided they needed someone on two more days and since I had another part time job, they went with the other person. I reminded them of our conversation at the second interview.
“Oh, I forgot.”
Pleasantries of course were exchanged while in my head I had a visual unfolding. I was taking a roll of toilet paper and shoving it through my phone, down the phone lines and out their phone and into their lap. In my head I was saying, “here, you’re going to need this to wipe the shit off your head after you extract your head from your ass.”
More pleasantries were exchanged, let me know if anything changes, I’d still like the opportunity to come work for blah, blah, blah. I don’t think so.
In that week of waiting we had warm weather, which melted off all the snow. Rain helped it along. The Fox River had come up a couple of feet, but I had already walked down to the river for a look. I can tell from a distance what the clarity of the river will be by it’s color. Since the ground is still frozen, not much dirt is washing off into the water and the clarity wasn’t bad. All the ice was gone, which is what really mattered.
If the river comes up a couple of feet I wouldn’t advise that you go out wading. It is a potentially dangerous situation, unless you know where you’re going to go fish is now a series of big, slow moving eddies. Normally the water is 12 to 18 inches deep and now its a little over 3 feet. No big deal. Just don’t step out into the current.
The air temperatures were supposed to reach 40 degrees, they lied. It never made it past 35, but that’s above freezing so I thought I would go decompress by standing in the water. I didn’t allow for the wind and even before making my first cast my fingertips were getting numb. That could be why I missed the two hard hits I had in the first 10 minutes in the water. There’s also the chance that I missed them because I was already feeling the cold water seeping in through the leaks in my waders. Makes it difficult to concentrate.
Though I was fishing a warm water discharge, the discharge didn’t seem all that warm. I think the higher colder water was mixing with the warmer water much quicker. I had missed a couple of hits, I could put up with damp feet if the hits continued.
I wandered down stream in the big eddy created by the higher water. The eddy came out from shore a good 50 feet and was well over 100 yards long.
A couple of trees had moved around along the shore and helped create what appeared to be some perfect fish holding water.
The water this day was flowing along at about 3,100 cfs. I figured out years earlier that my limit for wading this stretch was when the water was at 3,500 cfs. I figured that out by fishing this stretch when it had hit the 4,000 mark. Though the river had come up 3 feet that day, I thought the stretch along the shore was tolerable, even if a little high. What did me in was trying to go around a tangle of downed tree limbs. I made the mistake of stepping into the faster moving water. I started to get sucked under the trees. Of course, I wasn’t going to let go of my rod or toss it onto the nearby shore, it could break or I could lose it to the river. Instead I hung onto it with one hand while fighting to stay above water by hanging onto tree limbs with the other. That didn’t go well. The rod was sacrificed with a wild toss to the shore while I clung onto the biggest limb with both arms wrapped tight around it.
When I finally got out of the mess I made, I picked up my rod, got back in the water behind the tangle of logs and continued to fish. Vowing never to do that again.
This day with the water at 3,100, I wasn’t worried. I did notice that when the water reached my waist, the leak in the crotch of my waders had not magically fixed themselves over the winter. I could feel the cold water seeping in and giving me a severe case of shrinkage. I decided it was tolerable.
I was hanging a simple jig and twister in front of a log, letting the current work the lure along and under it. A hard hit and I thought for sure I had hooked a nice smallie, it felt like one. Instead, a carp had been hooked in the snout.
I’ve hooked them this way in the past. I can’t tell if they’re trying to eat the thing or if I got lucky and hit them in the face just right.
I worked the back side of the log. I thought for sure there would be smallies hanging out in this big eddy. More three foot deep, slow moving water extended down along the shore. The water should have been about 55 degrees, but the leak in my crotch was telling me that wasn’t true. A half hour of waist deep water was enough. Any longer and a search team would have to be called in order for me to take a piss.
The river had done it’s magic. The useless employment conversation had been all but forgotten. Would have been nice though. A company discount had been offered. They had a pair of 5 millimeter neoprene waders hanging on the wall in my size. In those, even with a slight leak, I can stand for hours in any water no matter how cold.