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Mike Ormsby

Twas The Steelheading Week Before Christmas

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I found the original version of this poem on the North American Fly Fishing Forum, -- but I've altered or edited it so it has a definite Steelheader's theme -- hope you enjoy:

Twas the steelheading week before Christmas and on my favourite Great Lakes trib
Not a fish was hitting and the fishing was dreary, certainly not very glib
The water was frigid, the weather was raw, brisk was the air,
Too windy for fishing, a gale force blow but did I give a care.

The steelhead were nestled down deep in their pools
Proving once again that fish are nobody's fools.
While I in my waders and old fishing cap,
As usual just couldn't cast worth a crap.

When further upstream there arose such a crash
I started, and slipped, and sat down with a splash.
My glasses went one way, my rod went another.
Cold water went everywhere, what a bother.

The gleam of the sun on the river around,
Was lovely, but heck, I was going to drown!!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear?
But a funky old float tube. (The end must be near).

With a little old angler, too fat for the belly boat
Who was trying his best just to keep it afloat.
Through the rapids he teetered, bounced off every big rock.
Old Nick's in big trouble, I thought with a shock.

But he slid in so slowly, so graceful, as he approached my favorite hole
Puffing on his pipe as if none of the river's challenges had taken their toll
And he glided in softly, as smooth as can be.
No fish would be spooked, except maybe me.

And then in a twinkling he popped out of his craft
Like a cork from a bottle, I shouldn?t have laughed.
He brought from a rod case a graphite rod in pieces of four
A great huge Spey doublehander of 9 weight or more

He was looking like the well dressed guide, straight from the pages
Of catalogs like Orvis', LL Bean's, Patagonia's, Cabela's and Sage's.
A vest full of goodies encircled his frame
With gadgets and zingers, too many to name.

He spoke not a word but went straight to his fun,
Throwing laser-like casts, seeming straight from a gun.
For awhile he swung Turduckens and Clear Water Speys ever so right
Then he switched to a single handed rod, rollcasting with loops so tight

Throwing Clausers and Zonkers, Stone Nymphs and Wooly Buggers
Egg Sucking Leeches, Matukas, Moose Turds, even one or two Muddlers
He had all the mysteries of steelheading debunked.
But darned if old Santa Claus didn't get skunked.

Not a bite or even a tap; I felt sorry for the jolly old elf
But why fish this river, I was asking myself.
He could have fished the Skagit, the Columbia or even the Snake
Seems that fishing this Great Lakes trib was just a great big mistake.

I needn't have worried, I had nothing to dread
For he gave me a wink and here's what he said.
"We all should remember" and here's what he's wishing,
"It's not about fish, but it's all about fishing."

He sprang to his float tube, to the rocks gave a push.
And shot down the stream with a splash and a slosh.
But I heard him exclaim as he drifted from sight.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all keep lines tight."

Updated 12-17-2008 at 06:31 PM by Mike Ormsby