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Jeff’s Birthday Trip

Every year we make the 3 hour drive down to Drano Lake for Jeff’s birthday with his parents, best friend Herb, and his uncle Wes makes it down for at least 1 day. We’ve been doing this for several years and every year we get better and better. I’d be lying if I told everyone that Drano is like shooting fish in a barrel. Sure, if you have your stuff dialed in and it’s your lucky day, it can be. But that doesn’t come to just anyone and it requires a lot of work and if there’s ever a place where the tiny little details come into play, it’s Drano Lake.

Aside from the memories we create with Jeff’s family and all the friends we’ve made down there, Drano is my favorite fishery because of the people. There are so many friends that we’ve made and without the little tips that the locals and guides have thrown our way over the years, we wouldn’t have the opportunity at fish like we do.

Every year we go down there, something has changed. The fish want herring, then they want prawns spinning, then they want super baits but only under a rotator flasher, then they want coon shrimp, then they want a Leo flasher, it’s never fully dialed in. This year, we spent the first half of the day watching the few boats basically create blood baths while we struggled to get a bite. After half the day, we figured out a few things going on, made the changes, and put 3 fish in the boat. The one thing we didn’t have was those darn Leo flashers that everyone seemed to be using.

While we were cleaning our fish and boat at the end of the day, we shared the bank space with Bill Harris from Legendary Chrome Guide Service, David Loper with Takedown Guide Service, and Jacob Munden with Rising Son Adventures. We shared a few laughs as Jeff and I tried to pick their brains a bit. We got a few more tips and tricks and shared what worked, what didn’t, and how frustrating it is that things change so often. Jeff’s mom was playing the role of Mamma Dukes trying to scrounge up a Leo flasher for us. Bill Harris came to the rescue and gave us one of his even though no one in the area sells them and are darn near impossible to get last minute.

See why I love this place? In fact, one of our favorite guys down there, Steve Rich (aka pink hands), was the first person to conversate with us many, many years ago in a parking lot. He was just trying to throw a bone to a discouraged couple with parents trying to keep the mood light. We spent the rest of the weekend sharing jokes and laughs and the rest is history.

Although this is Jeff’s birthday, he knows that it’s a grind and quite expensive to go down there but it’s a place that will always challenge him and there’s not many other places we can limit the boat on upper river springers. He decided to get us all birthday presents! Now, Jeff doesn’t really do presents very well, but when he tries, he blows our socks off. We each got our own wrapped present even with our names on it and a personalized gift to go along with the main gift: A Drano Lake hoodie with our job role on the front:

Jeff: “Captain Ahab” – because he truly doesn’t know when to quit. Even when tears are shed. And don’t you dare undermine his authority!

Me: “The First Mate” with my favorite – a bottle of Crown Royal

His dad: “Captain Gordon” with a sailor hat – because after you put a few Budweiser’s in his dad, the captain takes over and he puts us on fish

His mom: “Mamma Dukes” with her favorite Guiness – because she was the neighborhood mom taking care of all the kids

Herb: “The Deckhand” with a bottle of Kraken – because we’ve made too many memories with that bottle and he quickly jumped on board our boat, learned the ropes, and is always making sure we’re fishing effectively and efficiently!

His uncle: “Bar Keep” with a bottle of Fireball which has many stories underneath it – because his role is to sit on the cooler at the front of the boat and ensure everyone is well hydrated

Steve: “The Pink Hand Joker” – because well, his hands are pink from April to August and he has enough jokes to keep you laughing all weekend.

The second day was a good one for us. A little rough in the morning, but it was slow for everyone. We kept adjusting things and trying to figure out what it was going to take to turn these fish on and around 11 AM, we finally started lighting into them. Captain Gordon put 9 fish in the boat that day, including a double! Herb was fighting his first fish of the trip and Jeff thought the other rod was snagged onto it so he basically just opened the bail and let Herb do his thing. After a couple of minutes, we realized the lines were nowhere near each other and Jeff reeled down to find his own fish on his rod. A DOUBLE! I netted Herb’s, he jumped on the motor, and we netted Jeff’s within 2 minutes. See what I mean when Captain Gordon gets on the motor?!

While we were getting ready to wrap up after a serious of tangles, ripped off leaders, and complete chaos, I see the rod next to me getting bit and I quietly put down my bird’s nest and moved a little bit closer. I’m pretty notorious for snatching fish from people, especially springers, but I’ve been good this year! I’ve even handed the rod over or walked right past a reel taking line because others haven’t had as many opportunities as me. But something in my gut told me this was mine and no one else on the boat was the wiser. I’m starring at the reel, not the rod, waiting for line to start peeling and Jeff notices me. He shouts to grab it but we’ve been here before and I told him that it wasn’t ready. He gives the motor a shot and I pick up the rod, fully loaded, ready for my fight. Out of no where, he tries to grab the rod right out of my hands like this ones his. He already caught his 2 that day and it was literally already in my hands. I wasn’t going down without a fight though. While the rod was being tugged and pulled by each of us before the first crank had been reeled, I tucked the butt of the rod under my arm and put my hands on the handle for leverage to bring the rod back down to my level. MINE! Sweet victory! I won!!! After a long battle, and a few net attempts with a 12′ rod and a 5’2″ little girl, we finally got this big boy safely in the net.

The last day was just Jeff, Herb, and I which was nice because it was a lot slower. We had to make our 3 hour drive home and work early Tuesday morning so we didn’t get to fish into the afternoon bite, but we left going 3/5 at 4 PM.

 

At the end of 3 days, we came home with 15 fish and a lifetime of memories. We learned a thing or two about a new flasher, we were reminded how important scents can be, and that even the tiniest detail like where you put the bait loop on the shrimp makes the difference between a bait that is fishing and a bait that is simply keeping the hooks warm. Drano 2017 is one for the books and I can’t wait for next year!

Snikwah

 

Snikwah has been spreading it’s unmatched product worldwide for quite a while now and I’ve been exposed to their innovation this summer. I’ve been able to wear my Snikwah both fishing and hiking for elk scouting this summer and I can’t express enough how incredibly pleased I am.

 

They’ve taken all the technology in a performance shirt and placed it into one piece of clothing. I got the Women’s Original Snikwah which is comprised of the following features:

- Built in hood (with a pony tail slot for high or low pony tails)

- UPF 50+ for sun protection

- drirelease fabric which pulls moisture away from the fabric and pushes it to the outside away from your skin

- Inspect protection

- lightweight comfort

Hands down, my favorite features is the comfort. It’s absolutely the best fitting non spandex shirt I’ve worn. It’s not spandex so it’s not tight! It has the look and feel of cotton, but it’s drirelease makes it wick moisture rather than store it. It has tapered sleeves and a tapered waist so it still fits me like a girl, but it’s loose and breathable in all the right places, and tight where I need to be so it’s not hanging off of me.

I wore my new Snikwah fishing last weekend which was 90 degrees and humid. I was comfortable in the morning with a little bit of fog and remained comfortable during the day as the sun rose. Through the chaos of landing back to back to back fish, I stayed dry all day and I came home with no sunburn! The fish blood and bait washed out and it didn’t shrink!

I wore it again this weekend for some hiking in preparation of my archery elk season that starts in just 2 weeks. I’m in eastern Washington which is typically very hot, and very dry. We had a storm blow through so we got to experience the heat mixed with rain clouds making it more humid than I’d ever felt in that area. On a normal scouting trip I end up in shorts and a sports bra fighting the woods, dripping in sweat but this weekend I was able to wear my Snikwah all day and didn’t break a sweat! It was a little cooler, but I’ve never come home in dry clothes and NO MOSQUITO BITES!!!!! I typically come home with between 10 and 15 mosquito bites because so much of my skin is exposed.

It’s a reasonable price and they come in over 30 styles and colors. Keep an eye out for some fun stuff coming from Snikwah in October!

BESNIKWAH

June fishing

Well haven’t I just been slacking this summer! I really haven’t fished much, but a little here and there but I’ve been running around doing everything else under the sun!

Before the rain and chilly weather came we were fishing up at the Sky and actually had a pretty decent day a few weeks ago!

Once the river dropped we risked it and fished anyways. Much to our disappointment we got the first Skykomish skunking. Not even a bite all day :(

Because of the low water, we decided to head down to the Columbia with my friend Kari and her husband Derrick and we had a fantastic weekend! Other than being exhausted from a lack of sleep (which I made up for while we sat on anchor all day), it was great to fish with new friends and we caught a bunch of fish! We got a super nice king, quite a few summer steelhead, and even a sockeye! I didn’t get to see the sockeye so my life still goes on without ever having seen or caught one (they’re on the bucket list). We were one fish shy of a limit before the tide rolled in and we had to call it quits on the second day.

We’ve even been getting ready for hunting!!!! Scopin out the spots!

This weekend we’re heading out to the canal for some more fun and crabbing! I managed to finish my homework for the week so I just get to kick back and relax! We may go fishing on Sunday, so I’ll be sure to post Sunday night if we go out!

A Little Proud

Well, I have to be a little proud. It’s rare when Jeff and I don’t fish together. We both work Monday through Friday and make fishing on the weekends our top priority. When Jeff gets called into work on the weekends, I typically am a little glad for a break to run errands but this weekend, I had nothing to do so we got his buddy to agree to go with me and took the boat out by myself :)

I’ve rowed many times for a long time, but never without Jeff. For anyone who has heard about when I catch fish without him around, you know I’m like a little cat that brings a mouse to the doorstep. I’m so proud and can’t wait to show him what I did. Seriously, like a little kid and it’s a bit ridiculous because I’m 25 years old and don’t get that feeling even a little bit when he’s around. Only when he’s gone, do I feel the need to MAKE HIM PROUD! haha.

Another buddy of our was taking his new boat our for his first time rowing alone as well so we teamed up and pep talked each other through it. We got to the first hole which wasn’t as good as expected. Lloyd landed one and lost a few others and Andrew also got a silver. We stayed hoping for some more opportunity while Andrew headed down to find more fish. They were successful in numbers and got off the river well before us but we were awfully proud of the quality of fish we found. Hey, we fished until dark and only had 3 in the box, we have to make it sound good somehow :)

We lost a few others and got a few nice ones and headed home so Jeff could take us out on Sunday. It was a cold and slow morning, but we were richly rewarded with 3 amazing kings all completely sea lice ridden and as bright as an ocean fish. We didn’t find any silvers, but Lloyd got some rowing practice in, and we were home early enough for me to get this blog done after taking care of the fish and bait.

A great weekend and I’m going to sleep feeling extremely proud. A small accomplishment, but it’s a start! Now it means I can take a boat full of my best fisher ladies!! Dream fishing day :)