A day of beautiful sunshine after several days of rain and snow could only mean one thing – it was time to get out fishing. Since the motor for the tinny is having some issues, we decided to make a trip to the Bighead in Meaford, a river I hadn’t fished in a couple of years.
It was hardly a surprise to arrive at the river and find the parking lot full of cars, the shores lined with anglers. Why would anyone pass up such an incredible fall day? I climbed into my leaky, not well-loved waders, a hasty purchase back in the spring that I have regretted ever since, and grabbed my float rod for the first time in far too long.
A quick walk up the dirt path from the parking lot to the road, a jog over to Trout Hollow trail, and a short hike through the trees, brought us out to our usual starting point and we took a moment to watch the water before deciding what to tie on our lines. I ended up opting for some soft plastics. I’m not a fan of fishing with roe, despite seeing people have great results using it, it’s just not my thing. A day on the water is all I ever want, catching some fish is really a bonus.
On this day I was in the mood to do some walking, so when several drifts failed to produce any action, I suggested we move on to another spot. Water roaring down the channel, the smell of cedars filling the air, a November day warm enough to be without a jacket – my idea of a perfect day. I even managed to avoid breaking the top of my rod on the many trees it came into contact with.
Since neither of us like being crowded while fishing, we took the trail a fair ways up the river before finding an empty spot. Some deeper water passing under a group of leaning trees looked like an ideal place for a drift. Darrell quickly learned that it was also an ideal place to lose a float. No fish chose to join the party.
One of my favourite things about rivers is how dynamic they are. You can notice changes in the river over a short time frame, but when you haven’t visited in a couple of years, the differences are even more striking. In one area the thalweg used to run through a cutoff channel that was full of debris jams. The river has now shifted back around to the other side of the island. Several debris jams had blown out in other areas, and the bank has eroded into the trail even more. It’s really spectacular to witness the power of water.
We stopped to fish open areas, taking some drifts and getting reacquainted with float fishing in general, then we would move on as other anglers moved in. We got snagged, lost terminal tackle, got excited watching our floats disappear only to find no fish on the end of the line, and just enjoyed a beautiful day doing what we love. With only a few free hours it wasn’t long before we had to call it a day and get home to chores.
While the fish stayed away it really didn’t matter. I enjoyed the walk, the sights, the sounds, and the company. A return visit to the Bighead is definitely in order.