Columbia River

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!

Positive Attitude

What we anticipated for and what happened this weekend were 2 completely different things. The weather was going to be great, we were going to limit on springers by noon, and we were making new friends. While some of those things were true, it definitely wasn’t what we expected.

We were going with a friend that I met through Jury Duty back in November and a coworker that fished with us last springer season. We headed out bright and early Saturday morning only to see blue flashing lights behind us about 45 minutes into the drive. Turns out, the trailer lights must have shorted out because the super kind officer “ALMOST RAN RIGHT INTO THE BACK OF US!” After he threatened us with a couple of tickets, had quite a rude attitude, and intentionally tried to find as many things wrong as he could, he came back from his patrol car only to see that our trailer lights turned back on and let us kindly go with a warning about my tail light which is actually out.

We got to the river early, headed out, and saw 2 fish hooked right at first light. It was going to be a great day! Well, we didn’t see much more action, didn’t get a single bite, saw 2 fish lost to the sea lions, and fished until almost sunset. We got a bit sunburned, were running a bit late, missed the bit on tuna because we forgot the tuna at home, and were exhausted, but the guys had a lot of beer and we all had awesome attitudes despite getting skunked. As we’re on our merry way home, we here a “POP”. Strange! Nothing felt different or smelled or anything. Sure enough though, we blew a trailer tire!

I didn’t exactly have the appropriate equipment but we made due with what I had, improvised, and it took ideas from all 4 of us to get this tire changed. Still, positive attitudes and we were not letting this ruin our moods! We got to the park and ride only to find our new friend Ray had a dead battery! Full of laughter and disbelief, we quickly jumped the battery and all headed home.

Ahhhh, time for sleep since it was so late and were getting up just 7 short hours from now. Except we needed a bit more brine and guess who was out of salt! Well, it’s okay because we can get pizza while we’re out and have food for fishing the next day!

We started Sunday off great until we realized that we left the tuna at home again! That’s okay because we were just going to get them all trolling at first light like it was supposed to happen Saturday! Well, that didn’t happen either……….We saw even less fish caught today and DFW did a test gill net pull and even they came up empty. But then, a bite! We have a fish on!!!!! Ray did awesome landing it and we had it in the net! OMG!

It had an extra fin. It was wild. It couldn’t be retained. We defied the odds, beat our luck, only to find out we had to give it back to become sea lion bait.

But it was action right? We maintained a good attitude and prepared for another strike! That didn’t happen. Hours went by, the tide changed, we sat on anchor, and watched 1 boat right behind hook up. We had one strike on anchor that didn’t stick and finally called it quits around 5. We thankfully got home safely and without trouble and still had our positive attitude and left laughing.

It was great to get to fish with Brian again! He fishes the salt water quite often and has his own boat for that, but freshwater isn’t something he gets to do but a couple times a year. This was the first time we hung out with Ray outside of the horrible Jury Duty, and he was awesome. We talked business, politics, fishing, hunting, family, you name it! I had such a great time despite our horrible luck and despite not bringing home any delicious springer, we made great memories and new friends. Hopefully we’ll get one more shot at the URB springers next Saturday, but if not, we’ll head back to the good ‘ol Cowlitz to get our springers until we get to fish for URB’s at Drano in May!

Here’s to hoping our string of bad luck is over right now!

Buoy 10 2015

After seeing everyone else catch huge Buoy 10 fish and limits by 8 AM, we finally got to get out of the mountains (elk scouting) and hit the water!

Saturday morning we trolled above the Astoria bridge and got 4/6 of our kings. Once the tide slacked out, we headed down river and fished below the bridge to find 2 more kings and hopefully a few silvers! Since there are so many native silvers and they can’t be retained, we don’t target coho and most of the time, head for the launch after we get our kings. With the water so warm, coho have a very difficult time surviving period let alone after being hooked, landed, netted, de-hooked, and then released. We tend to find wild coho floating down the river because their mortality rate is so high. So, we really just needed 2 more kings and we were done :)

 

It took a few more hours to get those plus a hatchery coho but the weather was great and times were good! We BBQ’d, had a few beers, and even watched the Doc and his daughter go swimming!

We finally got our last 2 fish and hit the launch around 1 PM. Back at it Sunday but this time we were a bit more dialed in! We hooked at least 20 fish by 10 AM and got to be a little bit more picky about which kings we kept and got 6 awesome kings by 9:30 AM. Most of the fish were caught on bait behind a flasher, however, a few on spoons.

We packed up camp headed back home by 11 AM with enough time to hit the Puyallup for a little humpy fishing!