A friend of mine texted me on Saturday “Wanna hit the morning bite tomorrow?” Hmmm.. I have a batch of steelhead getting ready for the smoker and hosting a BBQ “Yeah! I got time for a short trip!”
Up at 3:30am, met up with my friend and we got to the river and it was just light enough to make our way without headlamps. There was already a couple of people there, so we took up a couple spots and started casting. I decided since it wasn’t very bright out yet that I would wait to put on the Gringo-Cam (what a mistake that was).
Threw jigs and spoons for awhile at the 1st spot with no action, the hole started to get a little crowded so I moved downstream a ways. There was a seam I like, the only problem with it is you are standing in water and a patch of bushes to fish it. Got myself settled in and started floating my jig in my usual grid pattern.
After a few casts, my bobber went down, I set the hook and the battle was on! She started out with a couple head shakes, then exploded! My line was pealing, she ran about 30 yards and launched her whole body out of the water, one of the best aerials I have ever seen. Back into the water she goes. She gave me about 40 yards of line back and off she goes again, line peeling 20, 30, 40 yards and another impressive aerial display.
I get the line back on my spool and now she sticks herself on the bottom for a few seconds before she devises a new plan which was to come into the bushes about 10 yards downstream of me! I grab the net, tuck it into my armpit and stumble my way down to her in knee to waist deep water before she could wrap herself around anything. She is finally close enough to get a good look at her. About 10 pounds and an extra fin (Native/Wild Steelhead). Mixed feelings about that – on one hand would have loved to have gotten pictures and a trophy to take home, on the other, the fight she put up was deserving of release.
Hung the net up on a bush and it took a few more minutes to coax her close enough to grab her tail (glad I had my wool glove on!) . With a quick twist of the hook she was free, pointed her in the direction of deeper water and off she went like a rocket.
Never got another hit all morning, home by 11:30 empty handed (again), but it didn’t matter – that one fight was worth it.
When people ask me why I like fishing so much, I explain that I am a gambler and love playing cards. When playing poker, there are skills you can learn that can give you better odds than the next guy, but in the end you never know if that next hand is going to be garbage or a Royal Flush. If you are losing, you don’t want to quit because that next hand might be the one, and when you are winning you don’t want to quit and end the streak. Fishing is the same way – there are things you can learn to give yourself a better chance at hooking up than the next guy, but in the end you never know if that next cast is going to be “the big one”. If you aren’t having any luck you don’t want to quit because that next cast might be the fish of a lifetime, and if you are on fire you don’t want the streak to end.
Sunday, July 24th 2011 – I got a Royal Flush