coastal steelhead

The Search Continues For The Lucky Hat…

I went out fishing with another new hat this weekend to see if it was lucky. Just in case, I brought a back up. ;)

We started out the day really slow. Nothing for several hours and then I switched the hat. The water coincidently warmed up 2 degrees around the same time. Within 5 minutes of putting on a trusted hat, Jeff’s hooked a fish! He lost it pretty quickly but it was the most excitement we’ve seen so far! Then, within the next pass, Jeff’s uncle Wes was hooked up! He landed a hot little hatchery hen and we had one in the box!

At this point, we definitely were thanking the trusted hat and talking about turning the brand new hat into a “grocery store” hat. I really like this hat so I didn’t want to throw in the towel that easy so I switched it again to give it one more shot.

Jeff hooked up again and it was a nice 14 lb’er! It was getting quite cold again and the fishing pretty much died down so we called it a day and headed home before we got miserable.

We had a friend flake out Sunday so we decided to run errands and I got craft (I have a wedding to plan by July!) but it was so nice to be out once again with no agenda and nothing to worry about afterwards. I didn’t care when I got home. There were no lingering thoughts of other things that I could be doing. I didn’t care about work. I didn’t care about anything except fishing. This is what it’s supposed to be like and what I’ve been missing the past 2 years while I worry about studying. Soon, I’ll be back to this mindset all the time!

I’m still a little bit unsure about my new hat and think I’ll give it another try next time I’m out, but I’m definitely still superstitious about my hats!

~Bry

I’m Back For Winter Steelhead!

Well, after several months of not blogging, I’m back…..at least for a little while!

I took what is supposed to be my last exam on Tuesday and life has been wonderful ever since. I do not get my score until mid-March and in an effort to “keep it real”, I feel very bad about how it went and I’ll likely be retaking it.

However, in another effort to live in the present, I am SOOOO glad to be back on here writing a blog!

This winter I have been out a few times and have put a few fish in the box! I don’t know if it’s just me, just the days I’ve fished, or if I’m completely off base, but we haven’t had a lot of stellar steelhead days and I haven’t heard of many from others. Normally, this is peak time and we’ve started seeing limits. I won’t lie, we had a phenomenal day on Sunday, but it was the first of the year that it was that we’ve encountered that many steelhead in one day. Hopefully it’s just me because I’ve been out of touch with the real world for a few months :)

We took Jeff’s coworker and his friend out. We’ve fished with both of them a couple of times but Shawn had never caught a steelhead before so we were really hoping to see him get his first. It started off with surprise snow and a little slow……so slow that we contemplated going somewhere else for the day but then Shawn missed a bite so we figured we’d stay a while and see if we can find another. Before I get going into the day, I’ll just share that I’m a bit superstitious and I wore a brand new hat that morning. I always bring a second in case I feel that something new is unlucky.

Jeff hooked up and put the first fish in the boat so now we’re getting excited and feeling good about what the day will bring. Less than an hour later, Jeff hooks up again! A feisty wild fish that was quickly released. Next up, Shawn! Finally! He is fighting his first steelhead and he successfully brings in a perfect hatchery hen.

Shawn did manage to get possibly the biggest steelhead I’ve ever seen though. I won’t pretend like it’s a state record, but I’ve never seen a 20lb steelhead in person and we’re guessing this is around there. It put up an incredible fight and Shawn fought it flawlessly in a really difficult spot and his second steelhead ever. He was a natural and I’m not sure that I would have been able to land this beast so HUGE kudos to him!

The rest of the day was so full of fish I can’t remember who got what and in what order. It was a great day of fishing to say the least. I was spending more time tying leaders than fishing so I swapped my hat for a trusted one and within 30 minutes, I was finally hooked up. I hooked 2 more (1 was native) before giving the new hat one more try.

I didn’t hook anymore fish once I switched back to the new hat but Jeff did. I think that I’ll retire that hat to the “grocery shopping” pile instead of fishing pile ;)

I had such a great time carelessly fishing and like usual, great company. In fact, Shawn probably hooked half of the fish hooked to the boat! I casted in more trees than he did and he fished all day. It was cold, snowed on and off all day, and the boat fished until dark. I have just 2 weeks left until my scores come out but I couldn’t have asked for a better day to start my break off. It truly was a day that goes into the history books.

AND…..I get to blog again for a while! Thanks to everyone for continuing to check my blog and for hounding me when I see you around the tackle shops and rivers about needing to blog. If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have known how many people enjoy my blogs as much as I enjoy writing them :) <3

It’s important to enjoy who you fish with

I love fishing with this lady! We have quite the good time out on the water no matter what the circumstances or conditions :)

Plus she’s a fish slayer! It’s not too often that we get to fish together, but a couple weeks ago we got to spend the entire day from dawn to dusk hitting it hard. The result was that she went 2 for 3 on some extremely nice fish and while learning a brand new technique :)

 

 

Changed up fishing buddies

My fishing buddy was stolen by Joey Princen to fish for beautiful, wild steelhead so I headed out with our buddies Jake and Grayson to search for anything chrome :)

As always, I’m anxious to fish without Jeff no matter what the situation. With my crazy, busy schedule, it’s rare that we get time to hang out so fishing time IS when we hangout AND I always am eager to bring him back a fish. Doesn’t matter what it is, I’m like a little cat bringing a dead mouse to his feet. Mostly desire to show the teacher what I’ve learned and can accomplish on my own, partly my girly side trying to impress my beau <3

Right now, almost all the rivers are LOW and CLEAR! A few exceptions to the rivers made up primarily of glacial melt, but I wasn’t fishing one. With almost 10 feet of visibility in the water, I spent the week prior tying up the smallest little 1/4 oz jigs in the most subtle winter run patterns I could come up with. I fully intend on writing all about my choice for jig fishing in low, clear water this week :)

With just one other boat at the launch, I made my first cast in the morning with my most confident jig. It must have been nothing but wishful thinking to hope for another fish on the first cast of the day because I cast straight into a tree. Yes, even I cast into trees on occasion. Great……We fished our float and jigs for a little while before switching up to bobberdoggin. A technique that is easy to fish from a moving boat and great in almost all water conditions. This technique was new to Jake and Grayson so I was eager and excited to pass on some knowledge that had been taught to me. They were a little skeptical but we were over halfway finished with our drift, fishless, first boat down river, and at this point, was only out there for the good company.

I hit the first fish and while it wasn’t much, it was bright, hatchery, in the net, and a perfect little mouse to drop off on the porch.

On to the next fish….You know when you have something you’re really not confident in on your line? And you don’t want to change up for the sake of time or missing water so you fish it secretly hoping to cast into a tree or drift over a log under water?Maybe a jig that looks bulky and big in the low water, or a washed out skein with only a few eggs in your favorite king whole? Well, Grayson had a blue easy egg on that was intended as a joke and he just couldn’t shake it. Apparently, it was for good reason when he hooked into a chrome bright, scrappy 10lb’er. After a few head shakes, the elusive fish became even more elusive when it broke free from the 10lb leader.

Grayson was heartbroken, but we were glad we were getting into some fish, and still, having a really good time. Just a few minutes later I hooked into a fish that will haunt me for a LOOONNNGGG time. As I set the hook, the fish begins absolutely screaming upriver. She showed herself with two cartwheels and began charging the boat. As I reel as fast as I could to keep up with her coming at me, she too, broke free from my light line.

These were chrome bright, fresh from the salt steelhead. It this clear water, you make your choice to fish light gear, but I guess you have to remember the type of fish you will be catching should you be so lucky to hook into one. We didn’t get to see another fish, but I was glad to bring home something and have a really good day to put under my belt.

Jeff caught this beauty on his little trip and while he had about as much fun as I did on our separate trips, we missed our company and the teamwork that keeps us strong.

 

I’m still not skunked on steelhead if you count summer run, but only Andrew was so lucky to bring a winter run into the boat on Sunday. Not a bad way to go out in 2013 but here’s to an even better start on New Year’s Day! May the new year bring you many fish and even more memories to cherish forever!

~Bry