columbia river springer

First springer trip!!

We finally made the official first springer trip and were quite successful! We ventured down to the Columbia for the last scheduled weekend that it was open in hopes to bring home some quality dinner. We started out on anchor with sardine wrapped plugs while the tide moved out.

We saw a couple fish on first thing in the morning but didn’t get our first fish until about 11 AM. It was biting for a few seconds and the rod was loaded, but in our boat, you don’t touch it until the reel is peeling line. It wasn’t peeling line but man it sure looked like it was on there good so we picked it up and….NOTHING! We didn’t get anything else on plugs that morning, but when the tide came back in and slacked out, we decided to pick up and troll herring behind flashers. We go one within 15 seconds of the rods being out and it was my step dad’s rod! He did great fighting it and it was extremely exciting to see him land his first springer!

We ran back up and got hit again! This time it was my co-worker and it was his first time out with us. He had a hot little fish that took several runs and dipped and tucked under the boat weaving from one side to the other! He thankfully landed it and we were feeling great with 2 upper river brights in the box!

 

I was glad that the two people that don’t get out with us were the ones to get the fish, but I really wanted one. It’s just always so much pressure to get the first one and then it’s all fun for the rest of the season.

So the next day we headed back down to the Columbia for some Easter morning fishing! We didn’t have any plugs wrapped to start the day so after we got 4 rods out, I spent the morning wrapping 20 more plugs to switch out. I wasn’t thrilled about that because I knew that if I was looking down with my hands full, I wasn’t going to be the one to see a rod get hit which meant I wasn’t going to be the one to get a fish. I watched 3 rods get hit while I was busy keeping them baited up. We got one hatchery and 2 wild fish and I was obviously irritated.

Jeff thankfully announced that the next fish is mine since everyone else already had their turn. Again, at high slack tide we pulled anchor and began to troll. Again, I was dealing with the plugs and was cutting off all of those beautiful wraps because we wouldn’t be using them again for at least a week. Sure enough, a rod goes off and my hands are full! We unfortunately lost that one which only added to my discouragement because I know (I say that) if I was fighting that one, I wouldn’t have lost it. We ran back and made another pass and sure enough, the same rod goes off but this time, we announced it was my turn!

I was kind of happy to have gotten this one, although it was smaller than all the others we got this weekend, it was definitely the best fighting. Stripped me out 130 feet upriver all on the surface. It was pretty awesome to watch it run on top of the water like that, but even more nerve wracking. Once we finally landed it I was happy to finally have the first one of the season out of the way!

Next weekend is my birthday weekend and the Columbia is still set to close so maybe a little drift boat action or back to the good ‘ol Cowlitz!

Springers are so emotional!

We didn’t get out to the Columbia again for the last day, but we did hit the smaller rivers and were pleasantly rewarded :)

I had a very rough work week last week and decided, again no homework for me! Not so much because I didn’t want it, but I just couldn’t focus and I paid for it when I took my midterm today. Back to the good part! We got up bright and early, found the sweet spot and pitched bait for hours. Jeff got one on about 9 AM and it was definitely a nice one. Took up upriver and kind of hung out in some really heavy, boulder water and sawed him off at his main line after about a minute of fighting.

He was devastated but had never been more motivated. We were drifting bait and I started getting a bite. I lowered my rod to give some slack and after about 4 good bites, I put the wood down. FISH ON! And I just so happened to be breaking in my new IMX 13ft center pin rod!

After 3 seconds the smile wipes from my face and I get into a comfortable spot to bring this guy in. It seems as though the longer I fish for springers, the more stressful they get. I get this knot in my throat and this nauseating feeling in my stomach. My heart races and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to hide the sheer panic in my face. Jeff usually has to tell me to breathe and relax and that just makes me lose focus on the fish, which makes it worse. When I finally get the fish landed, a huge wave of relief washes over me. I get pretty anxious about all fish, but nothing quite like these guys. Perhaps because there are so few and far between and we’re fishing primarily for the table fare, not the rush. Funny how that works….

Anyhow, all of this emotion happened in about 20 seconds and we see the fish hit the surface. It’s a jack…..Now, it’s just a bonus fish and it’s all in fun! I’m actually playing around and I realized that I was tricked because my rod is so sensitive! How cool is that?! We have the IMX 13ft center pin rod and that’s what Jeff fishes with for springers so I know my rod is more than capable of handling a 15lb springer, but how awesome that I can actually play and enjoy a fight from a jack!

We fished for several more hours and when I went in the car to take a quick nap, not even 10 minutes went by and Jeff had a nice 13lb’er. He was extremely happy that he made up for the missing fish this morning and we get to bring home dinner again :)

Now hopefully I can find a good balance again between work, fishing, and homework! Off to Drano Lake for the next couple of weekends! Springer lovin’!!!!

Birthday fishing!!

We really haven’t been fishing much lately so all I wanted for my birthday was to fish all weekend and not have any homework so I wasn’t worried about getting off the water at a decent time. I took last Friday off work so I could finish all my homework for the weekend and we headed down to Kalama in search of our first springer for the year. With the reports last week, we were pretty confident the odds would be in our favor, especially since it was MY BIRTHDAY!

Jeff, Andrew and I headed down to meet our buddy Kiley and start the weekend celebration! We started out Saturday anchored up with plugs dancing away. We watched as a couple boats around us hook up and wait patiently. As the tide slacked out and our plugs lost energy, we picked up and trolled herring the rest of the afternoon. Again, we watched a couple boats hook up and patiently waited our turn.

Andrew and I celebrated a bit too much and dozed off while Jeff and Kiley kept an eye on the rods. We wake up quite startled when Kiley’s rod goes off. In a complete panic, we reel all the rods up and get the fish in the boat. FINALLY!!!!! It wasn’t my birthday fish, but it was the first springer of the year in the boat and a huge relief to know we weren’t complete bad luck or something. The wind and tide made it extremely difficult to fish so we packed up and headed out with our one fish. We continued my birthday celebration and Kiley graciously gave us half of his fish! YUM!!!! lunch tomorrow!

We hit the sack early and woke up refreshed and ready for another beautiful day on the river. Again, we anchored up with our dancing plugs and again, watched as a few select boats got tagged repeatedly. Jeff, being the genius that he is, figured out where we needed to be based on a few variables and we re-anchored and put the dancers out. After just 30 minutes, a plug gets hit. “DID YOU SEE THAT?” I could hardly think. I couldn’t decide if I was happy or mad because the rod wasn’t going off. I relaxed and went back to eating that delicious fish when that same rod goes off just 5 minutes later.

Jeff picks it up and hands it over to the birthday girl. I could hardly breath. I can’t lose this fish. This is my birthday fish and my first springer of the year. It gets within sight and I swear, I see the native fin. In fact, I see it twice! I actually am a little relieved because if I lose it, it doesn’t matter! I bring it up closer and it’s not native at all. My mind is playing tricks on me! Oh my gosh, get this thing in the net ASAP!

Thank goodness, the Kwikfish completely sewed it’s mouth shut and we get it in the boat. I’m smiling a little, but I’m not jumping for joy. My knees are shaking profusely and I can’t think. Andrew and Jeff are so excited and start taking care of the fish and get the other rods out as I just stand there. Speechless. I start crying. Balling. Tears running down my face; I can’t think of a time where I felt a bigger sense of relief. They think it’s hilarious and I try to wipe my tears so I can take a pic of that plug and get it back out there dancing around.

We finish out that tide cycle and go back to trolling hoping to get the last two fish. Again, we watch boats hook up patiently waiting our turn. We didn’t end up finding anything else, but we all split the fish that we did get and made a million memories this weekend. I couldn’t be more grateful for getting to spend it with 3 awesome people and getting my first springer of the year. :)