Steve Kyle accompanied his wife, Holly, on a transcontinental trip to Maine last week, where she was competing in a synchronized swimming event in Waterville, while he went fishing on the Kennebec River with residents Maine and veteran fly-fisher Patrick O’ shea. Holly, who won gold and silver medals in the competition, is by far the most successful of the three of them. The Maine-Sonoma connection is through Patrick’s wife, Cindy, sister of Sonoma’s Judy Vadasz. Patrick and Cindy are regular guests of Sonoma.
When he learned that the Kyles were heading for their home state, Patrick offered to take Steve fishing on one of Maine’s famous rivers, known for its excellent source of landlocked Atlantic salmon.
Kennebec salmon, cut off from their natural running track to the sea, seem to thrive in Kennebec, but not as big or strong as their cousins. In any case, Steve promised to send me a report on the fishing.
When I received his first email, which began with a brilliant description of the spectacular reds and yellows of the Maine woods in the fall, I knew that the fishing was happening in a familiar, patterned pattern. can be described in one word – zilch.
The river is said to offer very good fishing possibilities. It begins at Lake Moosehead, the second largest lake in New England. It is also well named. According to one report, moose outnumber people 3 to 1 in the area.
Neither elk nor salmon are mentioned in Steve’s opening message.
However, Patrick sent a separate report to his brother-in-law, Les, to clarify the situation. Here are edited excerpts from that email:
“I think you’ll like the true story of Steve’s trip….We’ve heard of something called the Kyle Curse…he’s been fishing for days recently, casting hundreds of nets…nothing. nothing to justify his efforts…we treat this rumor like a seed of salt. How wrong we were.
“All morning, we tried many techniques, using flies, but there were no fish. After lunch and a break, expectations for a successful afternoon are high. As the day goes by, those expectations drop… A long day finally comes and ends. The instructor said he fished 120 days a year and this was the first day he had no fish in season.
Is that the Kyle curse?
“The second day begins with the hope of breaking the curse. Many techniques and flies were tried, but no fish were caught. We were discouraged and lost hope. Afternoon repeat morning. Finally Steve said, ‘I need a break,’ and put down the rod. The guide swung his fishing rod a few times and, like magic, caught and caught the first trout of the trip.”
Patrick concludes that Kyle’s curse has been broken. Then he and Steve really started fishing, with Patrick’s 5-pound, 24-inch-long, 5-pound Atlantic salmon being the catch of the day.
I’m grateful for Patrick’s report, as Steve has run out of words to say about the fall foliage in Maine, a fact evident when his last email ended with: “That’s it. a fun ride and i will do it again, if not other reason just to see the color change.
I suggest that it might be a regular need, for no other reason than to improve his ability to send me fishing reports that actually include fish.
Locally, the fishing for rock crabs and molluscs off the Sonoma Coast is in full swing, and the Dungeness crab recreation season kicks off next Saturday, November 5, Bodega’s Captain Rick Powers Bay Sportsfishing offers a combination of crab, rock and cod rides starting November 5. Call Rick at 707-875-3344 to reserve a spot.
According to Keith Fraser at the Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael, striped bass fishing in the bay is also great now. Keith says shore anglers are catching a lot of artisanal fish from China Camp to McNears Pier. Call Keith at 415-456-0321 for the latest reports. Keith also sells fresh live bait at his shop