Columbia River

A Springer For Dinner!

We haven’t been hearing very good reports on springer fishing the Columbia and while it’s still early, the closure is coming quickly and we want an opportunity to do well while it’s open. There’s always a chance for an extension, but that’s not a sure thing. We headed back down Saturday morning just the two of us and anchor fished all morning. We trolled all afternoon and enjoyed the great weather and each other’s’ company, but unfortunately, we didn’t get a single bite. We saw about 5 fish hooked up (including one that a sea lion stole) but at least that was better than the reports we’d gotten from the day before!

We have a friend that is kind of new to fresh water fishing but putting in a lot of effort to learn a few things. We took him and another friend out on Sunday in hopes to at least get 1 to finally enjoy a meal. We were a bit later than most people and we ended up is our second option for anchoring but figured we’d just have to make it work. It was terrible weather and all of our fancy Gore-Tex rain gear was seeping through. One guy with his PVC Helly Hanson gear with duct-tape’d holes seemed to be the driest on the boat. After 5ish hours of not seeing a things and switching up the plugs about a hundred times, we finally have a fish!

Jeff grabs it and unfortunately, it was wild. We’ve been out 5 times and caught just 2 fish at this point. Both are wild; the worst kind of springer you could get since we’re all solely after the table fare when it comes to this fish. At least we can have some confidence in the anchor spot and our gear, but we’re feeling a bit discouraged and definitely envious of all the boats with cover as we try to find things to keep our mind occupied and laughter as we slowly get more and more soaked.

 

The tide slacks out and it’s time to start trolling. We get all switched over and make our first pass. Right at the tail end of it, we finally are getting a bite! As our buddy goes to grab the rod, it topples over and into the water. His cat like reflexes thankfully saved the day as he reached down in the water and grabs it thankfully with a fish still on the end of the line! We all start reeling the other rods up only to find out that 3 out of 4 rods are tangled up in this disaster. With all that gear and weight, the fish came in pretty quickly despite its size and in the net it goes! We couldn’t be more grateful to see a missing adipose fin and we’re finally going to eat a fresh springer dinner!

It all happened really quickly so we’re trying to figure out if we should be dancing, bonking the fish, getting things untangled, or something else. We’re just kind of standing around, moving things, staring at the fish. We finally get things sorted out and make another pass. Our plan was only to make 2 passes since it was fairly late in the day and we all had plans at home.

Our adrenaline is high from the fish and I’m getting greedy and want to make an additional pass. This is rare from me lately since I always have studying on my mind and am usually the first one to want to leave when fishing is slow. Jeff says “I’m so glad you’re not studying anymore. 2 months ago, you would have been wanting to leave hours ago.” I hope this is a statement that I remember for a long time because it resonates with me today. The fact that I spend 2 years missing out on my passions, friends, & family because of this goal that I had and now I am free to do what I want. I can feel the passion coming back and it’s guilt free. Jeff stood by and supported me during this time even when I become someone that he didn’t really like. He hoped and prayed that the would get his best friend back when the exams were passed and thankfully she’s coming back. Two years is a long time to spend being someone that you don’t like and not having much control over your life (unless you decide to quit), so it doesn’t change overnight but the past month has been bliss. I surprise myself with my ability to juggle things, be productive, and love people. I’m happy for simple things again, like being on the water even if I’m soaking wet and freezing.

Anyhow, we made one more short pass and headed back. We all felt that it was well worth the miserable weather and can’t wait to enjoy dinner!!! This is what all the hard work that goes into springer season is about!

Springer Season Officially Started

We swapped out the anchor and moved on to the big river to see if we could find a springer or two. We started out trolling and didn’t see anything caught so at slack tide we switched to anchor fishing. It was pretty nasty weather so sitting is always difficult to do for a long time. It’s that point where we are so incredibly jealous of the boats with covers haha.

My rod got hit but didn’t stick and about an hour later, we were talking about our friend Jerry’s rod and how well his plug was working. You know, when that one plug is working so hard the rod holder starts absorbing the shake? Then, whack! Fish on his rod! Unfortunately, it was a native fish and was sent back on its way. Truly, unfortunate because the amount of work and money that gets put into these fish is purely for the table fare. We do eat some of salmon & steelhead, but springers are what we look forward to eating every year.

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I was supposed to have dinner with my best friend and Jeff just couldn’t leave the river knowing we were going home without springer for dinner so we ended up being 2 HOURS LATE. She surprised me when I met her with 4 of my other amazing friends, a table full of balloons, flowers, cards, & presents. They all waited hours for me to get back from fishing to surprise me with a celebration for passing my CPA exams. I decided that since I don’t have to study anymore, I could rally and go fishing again Sunday so we called it an early night and headed back out Sunday for round two really hoping to go home with dinner. We seemed to be just a few feet away all day and ended up going home with no fish.

I thought I was just very tired from being out the night before but turns out I ended up with a nasty cold. I only get sick once a year so hopefully this is it, but I was hoping to escape the germs this year! Assuming I’m not still sick, we’ll head back out this weekend and the following Sunday for more Columbia fun and cross our fingers that they extend the fishery.

But for now, we’re officially in springer season and couldn’t be more excited for our favorite fisheries!!

~Bry

Birthday Week!

I got to springer fish the past 2 weeks and thankfully, we’re not going to starve ;)

We got to head out with Amy and Brady which is always a treat and we celebrated my birthday the right way! It’s rare that I don’t study during fishing and while I did a little bit in the morning, I took the entire afternoon and evening off and played on the water. The boys got the fish in the boat, and Amy and I celebrated for them! Best bonus of the day, we got to clean up the boats with Kari! :)

This weekend we headed out with Ray and Lloyd to get a chance at the Columbia during the extension. It’s always a gamble down there when you only get to fish it a couple of times a year so we were fortunate to get 2 fish in the boat. I got A LOT of studying done between wrapping plugs and unfortunately, we got home really late and decided to call Sunday a “stay at home” day.

It’s a nice change of pace for atmosphere and company and it was a great past 10 days. I really haven’t loved my actual birthday the past 2 years because studying hours every single day isn’t what I planned on doing at 29 years old, but my friends and family made the other days very happy. One day, I’ll be done studying and hopefully I’ll enjoy my birthday again!

PS. Sportco’s tent sale is coming on April 20th!

VIP Outdoors Fish Like a Girl Tournament

I don’t even know where to begin with such a spectacular weekend so I guess I’ll work backwards to my favorite part :)

I was completely satisfied with my weekend and had actually forgotten that I hadn’t studied for almost 3 full days. I’m paying for it now, but I’ve barely been fishing this year and when I did go, there was an immense amount of pressure and guilt on my mind to make sure I studied every time my rod wasn’t in the water. In case anyone doesn’t know, I’ve been studying for my CPA since January and have yet to pass any exams sooooo…….Only 4 more exams to go! I needed this weekend more than I thought I knew.

Sunday, I was tired; I was exhausted; I was almost lethargic. I was on an entirely different level of tired where I couldn’t even fall asleep, and speaking words seemed to be too much effort for my body. It took me a few hours and a Rockstar to snap out of it and it was just in time for me to catch a fish!

Herb and Andrew had already landed a few and I lost a nice one that took me out over 100 feet on the surface of the water. I finally got on one that I was able to land and my energy level rose to its normal level. Back to the laughs, stories, and keeping the gear fishing! We ended up hooking quite a few more and everyone except Jeff got fish; although that’s completely by his choice because he usually just likes to see fish landed.

It’s rare that we spend a lot of time of photos because we all just want to either be getting our stuff back in the water, or eating LOL. But Andrew always makes sure to take awesome pictures and knows the value of a good shot. I was sooooo excited about this fish not only because I got to land 2 really nice ones, but because this picture is one of my favorites!

I got to hang out with my best fishing buddies Andrew, Herb, and of course Jeff and the day couldn’t have been better in my mind.

Now, for my really fun part of my weekend…….The Fish Like a Girl Tournament!

Pro Escobedo with VIP Outdoors reached out to Willie Boats with an unreal idea last year. They were on board and this was the second year that Pro was able to carry on with this event. Sarah Dodd from Reel Women of Fishing NW actually won last year and it’s been great to see her taking out her cute pink/black brand new boat to new adventures.

Pro spoke about why he started this and what it means to him and it hit close to home for me. When I started fishing, there weren’t really any girls that I knew that fished other than fly fishing (and I didn’t know those girls anyways). There weren’t many companies that made stuff that worked for me and I got a lot of strange looks on the water – This is why Steelhead Girls was created! Years later, through the power of social media, I have found A TON of girls just like me! We fish with our spouses, friends, solo, & strangers just because we love to fish. I don’t have to try to be “one of the guys” because I’m not an outsider anymore……….I’m one of the girls who loves to fish and there are so many just like me. This is why Pro started this derby. We connect and bond in a way that we can’t with men. We support each other just because we are women and we know what it’s like to feel like a woman in a man’s world.

This Tournament means getting to meet complete strangers or have a reason to fish with your best gal pals. Most of us don’t have a bunch of girlfriends that fish so events like this is how we meet and find one another. Plus, we can win a wicked BRAND NEW DRIFT BOAT!

I didn’t win the new Willie drift boat, but Jessica Goering did win and it was well deserved with a 31lb fish caught with guide Shea Fisher.

Shea owns and operates The Fishere Fishing Guide Service and is the beau of our very own fellow lady angler, Kristin Bishop with Reel Women of Fishing NW. He has a few dates left this B10 season (8/16, 8/18, & 8/19) so if you’re looking for a last minute trip, he clearly knows how to catch the big fish! 425.577.9445

There were so many friendships created and SO MANY FISH!

Vydellity Anderson

Kristin Bishop

Amy Spoon (who also had tuna and sturgeon trips all in a few short days)

Ashley on a trip with Brandon earlier in the tournament

Janae with a nice one!

Lizz Mullong getting things handled with Brandon Glass!

I only got to fish the last day, but I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls or guide to spend the day with. We had all met before through various places and events and this is actually the SECOND time we all got to fish together this summer. We are 6 very different girls that come from different states, backgrounds, ages, fishing experience, and jobs! Other than being girls in our 20’s and 30’s that love to fish, we probably wouldn’t have much in common looking from the outside in. I’m not the most outgoing person in real life but I feel so comfortable around these girls, it’s like they were meant to be in my life.

Jamie Lebon – the chill, down to earth, starts her drinking before breakfast, not a bad thing to say about anyone kind of girl

Morgan Nicks – The girl who’s eyes light up like a little kid on Christmas morning when she tells you about her favorite type of fishing

Jessica Jenner – Always smiling and laughing, outgoing sweet girl that is so eager to learn as much as she can about fishing

Kari Smith – One of the first ladies that I found loves fishing just like me who is always the life of the party and down to fish and hunt whatever, whenever

Ashley Chaudiere – The Ice Princess, Hockey playing girl with the million watt smile that fits in with everyone, boy or girl, and always has a funny story to share

And me – The one who turns into a 6 year old child when the boat gets on plane and crashes through the current

And of course, Brandon Glass although he’s clearly not one of the girls LOL.

I fished with his dad, Jack Glass, a few years ago and was so happy to find out that Brandon was open the only day I could fish. His dad is basically a fishing legend and Brandon is following in his footsteps while creating his own legacy. Brandon greeted us first thing in the morning wearing his captain hat, bibs, and flip flops handing us mimosa’s before we even got on the boat. He knew us way to well.

Brandon fished us hard. He made every effort to put on fish and didn’t lose hope or show discouragement when we quickly realized that fishing had slowed down quite a bit from just 2 days before when several derby worthy fish were caught. I got to sit in the back and pick his brain and much like his dad, he was more than willing to entertain my curious mind.

We searched and searched and finally I hear “fish fish fish fish Bryanna fish!” I waited for the okay to grab it and he calmly walked me through the process and kept my nerves at ease. We got that beautiful fish in the net and I wasn’t sure if I should keep it. It wasn’t going to win the derby, but it was a perfect mid-teen’s hatchery URB that was going to have meat like a springer.

We kept the fish and I was more excited than I think I’ve ever been. I was literally beyond the point of emotion and had to stop talking a couple times because I felt the tears were coming. I’ve worked really hard the last few months and missed a lot of fishing trips and even missed the fulfillment when I did finally get out because of the guilt and pressure I felt for not studying every second I had. I’m not a lucky person and I usually feel that my fish are well deserved because of the time and effort that I put into fishing. I was the last person I expected to catch a fish like this and the whole day just seemed overwhelmingly fun. I took my victory shot and Morgan Nicks busted out her fancy-pants camera for me!

If you know Morgan (and if you don’t, you should go find her on Instagram or Facebook), you know that she takes beautiful pictures and knows how to capture the true beauty of a fish. She grabbed her camera right away and captured a few killer pictures for me.

Brandon continued to fish us hard and searched for action, switching bait/hardware, trying new depths, and even different places on the river. He entertained us for hours and fished us even later than it would have been possible to turn in a derby fish just because he wanted to get us some fish. Jessica landed a really nice coho that we had to release and had another bite that didn’t stick in the last hour of fishing.

The boat learned pretty early on that I really love boat rides. It’s something I never grew out of and the faster we go, harder we hit the waves, more air we catch in our seats, the more I laugh. The wind was blowing pretty well and the water was almost too rough to stand when trolling but we were all really excited for the boat ride back. Brandon made it worth our while and we all turned into laughing, squealing, little girls for the last 15 minutes as we made our way back to the dock.

We were off to the banquet with our hair and clothes soaked from the ride back in but we didn’t care. We were hungry, eager to see who won, and happy to have been blessed with such an amazing day fishing.

We hurried ourselves to the banquet and couldn’t wait to get our FISH CUTE hoodies at registration. A local and fellow fisherwoman started Fish Cute 3 years ago and its shot through the roof. In many states, she sells clothing that is made for women who want to actually look cute when fishing! She is constantly designing new items and having killer deals. Check out her items here:

http://fishcute.com/

Janae was able to bring along 3 youngsters that got to fish all 4 days!

There were SO MANY prizes to raffle off including Yeti product, rods, reels, fillet knives, huge spoons of fishing line, custom rods, gift cards, a million hats, a smoker, vacuum sealer, and so much more! Pro rounded up thousands of dollars’ worth of fishing stuff for all of us girls and made it worth our while even if we didn’t win the boat. There were guides, spouses, sponsors, and of course most of the ladies that participated and he had a great dinner for all us as well a bar for us to celebrate this amazing event. He was eager to get feedback on how to improve the event for future years so that we can keep encouraging and supporting the ladies that love to fish.

I can’t thank Pro enough for this event. This is why I feel welcomed in a man’s world. This is why I have a new group of girls that I can relate to. This is how I learn new fishing techniques, tips, and fisheries. I can’t wait for next year and we have already started planning our trip!

Thanks again to all the guides and sponsors that teamed up with Pro for the Second Annual Fish Like a Girl Tournament! I can’t wait to do this again and am so grateful for such an amazing opportunity!