It seems that as each year passes our daily lives get more hectic and complicated. Along with such increased pressures, it becomes increasingly important for me to find ways to relieve the pressure. Heck, we probably all need to get away from it all slow down our pace, and take the time to relax, contemplate, and recharge our batteries. I have found nothing more relaxing than floatfishing our valley rivers.
There is a timeless quality about floatfishing that makes it a return to the simpler times of our youth. When you float around the first bend and leave our modern world behind, your companions become trees , kingfishers and beavers. Instead of the annoying sound of pagers, and cell phones, the most disruptive sounds you hear are the splash of a rising fish or the shouts of joy from kids as they leap from a cottonwood tree into their favorite swimming hole.
It's ironic that so many people are unaware of the recreational gold mine that we have right here in our back yards. I am particularly fortunate to have a river flow right near my home. Actually almost every valley river offers great floatfishing as well. My favorite float trip is from McHenry Park to Mavis Stauffer Park on the Stanislaus River. It's an all day trip, but the fishing is great, the scenery is beautiful, and the pressures of work are the last thing from your mind.
Maybe you want to try floatfishing for the first time. What do you do? That's the easy part. You can float most of the valley rivers in anything that will float, a canoe, rubber raft, car top boat, or my favorite, the canvas float tube. Fishing gear is equally an equal opportunity situation, use whichever gear you are comfortable with. Spinning gear, bait casting gear, or flyrods will all produce fish for you. I was raised on a flyrod, so my first choice is to toss bass poppers, or foam rubber spiders with rubber band legs. I've also floatfished with a light spinning rod, and tossed an assortment of spinners with great results. Hang a stringer off the side of your tube or boat and your fish will stay fresh all day.
What else to bring? Make sure you bring your lunch wrapped in a water tight ziploc bag, and polarized sun glasses to cut the glare, and lots of sunblock. I know it looks a little weird but I wear a light long sleeved cotton shirt when I fish. You can stick your arms in the water periodically and the evaporation will help keep you cool. The long sleeves will protect you from sunburn, bug bites, and scratches from streamside branches. A wide brimmed hat is also great. I use a Stetson hat and it protects me while also keeping me cool. Always begin your float trip as early in the day as possible because it always takes longer than you think. I remember one time putting in the water at noon and still paddling under a full moon at midnight. I had told my poor wife I'd be home about 5 .m. and she had the sheriffs deputies out looking for me. I'll say it again, it always takes longer than you think.
One last piece of advice, be sure to wear your life vests. The river is a wonderful place, but it can also be dangerous. A life vest may seem like an annoyance, but it's well worth it. Every week you read about drownings in the local rivers and ditches. I don't want to read about you in the obits. Float fishing is inexpensive, relaxing, and a great way to fish. Heck' I just convinced myself, I'm gonna grab my gear and head for the river.
Until next week