Chinook

Loving coastal fall fish

Some of the best fishing happens when we transition from summer to fall. The rivers are low and clear, the fall fish are patiently awaiting in the Bay for big tide swings, full moons, and bringing those water levels up and dirty so they can begin their journey up river.

The water conditions were perfect this weekend and we headed to the top of the river to get those traveling fish that are staging up for a little break. It started out very slow in our first hole and the few fish we did catch, were a bit on the dark side. Not quite what we were expecting. We headed down river and searched around for some more fish and found a few more pulling plugs.

The fish were biting alright, but we were having a difficult time keeping them on and most of them were chrome silvers. Jeff pulled over and let me give it a whirl on the oars! I’ve pulled plugs and divers before in the drift boat, but never got any participants until Saturday! I got my first plug fish and got to finally return the favor, and put Jeff on a nice fish!

 

We kept fishing around and were a few silvers shy of our limit but headed to the takeout to get the evening low tide and dig our own sandshrimp! I unfortunately spent most of the night doing homework, but was well rested for another day of salmon slaying!

Sunday, we headed down river a bit to see if we could find some brighter, fresher fish and we did just that! We released quite a few darker fish, but managed to fill the box with chrome! We even got a bonus hatchery steelhead! It was our friend Zak’s first time in our drift boat and he did great! We all got fish on so many techniques, but majority of the fish on Sunday were on eggs.

We had several groups of friends in their boats and it was another fall fishing trip to go down in the history books. I love steelhead, but fishing the coast each fall with tons of friends is the type of trip that I look forward to every year and it’s exactly the type of trip we needed to get our fishing “fix” after so many weeks of hunting and preparing for hunting!

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 :)

 

Labor Day Weekend

It was such an eventful Labor Day weekend, I took two days to write a blog this week

 We fished the Nisqually all weekend and I must admit, it was one of the most humbling weekends I’ve had. I got the worse skunking of my life! I’m pretty selfish when it comes to fishing and I don’t take many of my friends, because it’s so much work and I don’t actually get to fish much. I know, extremely selfish. My anxiety level rises about 100% when everyone else is catching fish, but I’m too busy getting line untangled, rigging up rods, cutting bait, etc etc to actually fish. It’s okay every once in a while, but we’ve done a lot of that this summer and I WANT TO FISH DANGGIT!

Saturday:

Being the great guy that Jeff is, he invited his co worker and his two daughters out fishing on Saturday. I complained the night before about “babysitting” all day and I was grabbing a diver rod if it was mine to fight. He joked about me being so selfish that I get satisfaction from a diver fish. I said I would happily help the kids, but I was taking full advantage of Sunday and Monday without new friends and children. That deserved some pretty bad karma and I got exactly that.

Jeff apparently sucked up a bunch of rocks in the  impeller the weekend before so as soon as we launched, we were powerless and spent the first hour taking the motor apart to clear out the rocks. It gave me some time to teach them all how to fish a float, mend, set the hook, etc so it wasn’t time wasted. We hit the first diver spot and Robin (the daddy) got a native. Put up a great fight, but they wanted fish in the boat. We worked our behinds off trying to keep the girls entertained while trying to get fish. We had casting lessons, French braids, and lunch when we headed up river. I finally hooked one and it was coming right in!

“c’mon Caitlin! Help me fight this one!” With both of us fighting this fish that seemed to be a dark, small adult, we were having a blast. The fish took off, reel screaming, and we soon realized “this ain’t no 4lb jack”. She saw the fish and heard us talk about how nice it was and she took off running to the back of the boat. She wanted no part in losing this fish. I didn’t even realize she wasn’t there anymore as we got the fish in the net.

She also wanted no part in killing the fish, but her 6 year old sister wanted to be the “bonker” so long as she didn’t have to touch it. We took a couple pics and headed out for the day. I ended up having a great time and didn’t even care that I was helping all day. They were actually  A LOT better than I was expecting and I felt terrible for even complaining. Guilt wasn’t karma enough apparently.

Sunday:

I was finally getting the day of fishing without rookies. We headed back to the Nisqually with Curtis and Cameron and they were well seasoned. We pulled divers in the first hole and didn’t even get a bite so we moved to a bobber hole. They were hooking up quite a bite, and fish were rolling all over. Me however, I was left untouched as they released two natives and put 6 fish (one pink, one coho, and 4 kings) in the box. I was using the same bait as Jeff, trying to copy as much as I could and I was left empty handed. That bite died down and we moved to a new hole. Within 10 casts, they had 5 fish hooked. Me? Still biteless. I was getting pretty irritated at this point and they just thought it was hilarious. No one could figure out why I couldn’t get a stinking bite.

I went home empty handed with my pride shattered. That’s what I get for being so selfish about taking kids and rookies out.

Monday:

Again, we’re going out with some other well seasoned friends and there was no way I was getting a skunking like that again. We hit a different bobber hole and sure enough, same scenario! The three of them got quite a few bites and put 4 fish in the boat (one silver, three kings) while I STILL remained fishless.

I was so positive and optimistic Saturday. That didn’t work so Sunday I was discouraged and cursing the lucky fishermen who were getting bites. I put a little Captain in me and tried desperately to change my attitude. With my pride in my stomach, we headed up river for some new fishing.

First pass, fish on! I BROKE THE CURSE!!!!!! I’m trying desperately to land this fish as it screams down river past the boat. Why was I fishing 12lb leader and size 4 hooks again? As we raced to keep up with the fish, the line got caught on the kicker motor. The rod is folded over directly behind the boat. I may lose the fish and break a rod in the process. We get the line off the motor and thank goodness, THE FISH IS STILL ON!

We got the fish in the net! It was a dark king and it wasn’t huge, but I’ve never been happier to land a fish and my smile shows it all. High-5’s all around and I needed a celebratory drink. I was ready to go home now and put this weekend behind me. I’ve had dry spells where I may not catch a fish for a few trips. Hell, I think I’ve even gone a couple of months without catching a fish but most of the other people aren’t catching fish either. This was some serious bad karma that I deserved and I’ll think twice about being so selfish. Someone took many years to get me to where I’m at. Many tears shed, many clothes, many cold fingers and sleepy car rides. Jeff took the patience to teach me and I need to be as patient with others who are willing to learn. Humble weekend indeed, but I had a blast

This is the smile of sheer humble, pride swallowing, joy!

 

 

Sekiu fishing is heating up!

Delane Homer had a great weekend out in Sekui! They caught many pinks and coho and she managed to bring this 30 lb’er to the net.