columbia springer

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!

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!

springer’s in the boat


AHHA! Finally got my first springer of the season and had a great weekend! We headed to Drano Lake for the first time this year to redeem ourselves from our TERRIBLE experience last year. My rod went off just after daylight around 7:30 AM and not only was I excited that it as my rod, but it was also our first plug fish out there :)
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