Fishing

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

Jeff’s Birthday Trip

Every year we make the 3 hour drive down to Drano Lake for Jeff’s birthday with his parents, best friend Herb, and his uncle Wes makes it down for at least 1 day. We’ve been doing this for several years and every year we get better and better. I’d be lying if I told everyone that Drano is like shooting fish in a barrel. Sure, if you have your stuff dialed in and it’s your lucky day, it can be. But that doesn’t come to just anyone and it requires a lot of work and if there’s ever a place where the tiny little details come into play, it’s Drano Lake.

Aside from the memories we create with Jeff’s family and all the friends we’ve made down there, Drano is my favorite fishery because of the people. There are so many friends that we’ve made and without the little tips that the locals and guides have thrown our way over the years, we wouldn’t have the opportunity at fish like we do.

Every year we go down there, something has changed. The fish want herring, then they want prawns spinning, then they want super baits but only under a rotator flasher, then they want coon shrimp, then they want a Leo flasher, it’s never fully dialed in. This year, we spent the first half of the day watching the few boats basically create blood baths while we struggled to get a bite. After half the day, we figured out a few things going on, made the changes, and put 3 fish in the boat. The one thing we didn’t have was those darn Leo flashers that everyone seemed to be using.

While we were cleaning our fish and boat at the end of the day, we shared the bank space with Bill Harris from Legendary Chrome Guide Service, David Loper with Takedown Guide Service, and Jacob Munden with Rising Son Adventures. We shared a few laughs as Jeff and I tried to pick their brains a bit. We got a few more tips and tricks and shared what worked, what didn’t, and how frustrating it is that things change so often. Jeff’s mom was playing the role of Mamma Dukes trying to scrounge up a Leo flasher for us. Bill Harris came to the rescue and gave us one of his even though no one in the area sells them and are darn near impossible to get last minute.

See why I love this place? In fact, one of our favorite guys down there, Steve Rich (aka pink hands), was the first person to conversate with us many, many years ago in a parking lot. He was just trying to throw a bone to a discouraged couple with parents trying to keep the mood light. We spent the rest of the weekend sharing jokes and laughs and the rest is history.

Although this is Jeff’s birthday, he knows that it’s a grind and quite expensive to go down there but it’s a place that will always challenge him and there’s not many other places we can limit the boat on upper river springers. He decided to get us all birthday presents! Now, Jeff doesn’t really do presents very well, but when he tries, he blows our socks off. We each got our own wrapped present even with our names on it and a personalized gift to go along with the main gift: A Drano Lake hoodie with our job role on the front:

Jeff: “Captain Ahab” – because he truly doesn’t know when to quit. Even when tears are shed. And don’t you dare undermine his authority!

Me: “The First Mate” with my favorite – a bottle of Crown Royal

His dad: “Captain Gordon” with a sailor hat – because after you put a few Budweiser’s in his dad, the captain takes over and he puts us on fish

His mom: “Mamma Dukes” with her favorite Guiness – because she was the neighborhood mom taking care of all the kids

Herb: “The Deckhand” with a bottle of Kraken – because we’ve made too many memories with that bottle and he quickly jumped on board our boat, learned the ropes, and is always making sure we’re fishing effectively and efficiently!

His uncle: “Bar Keep” with a bottle of Fireball which has many stories underneath it – because his role is to sit on the cooler at the front of the boat and ensure everyone is well hydrated

Steve: “The Pink Hand Joker” – because well, his hands are pink from April to August and he has enough jokes to keep you laughing all weekend.

The second day was a good one for us. A little rough in the morning, but it was slow for everyone. We kept adjusting things and trying to figure out what it was going to take to turn these fish on and around 11 AM, we finally started lighting into them. Captain Gordon put 9 fish in the boat that day, including a double! Herb was fighting his first fish of the trip and Jeff thought the other rod was snagged onto it so he basically just opened the bail and let Herb do his thing. After a couple of minutes, we realized the lines were nowhere near each other and Jeff reeled down to find his own fish on his rod. A DOUBLE! I netted Herb’s, he jumped on the motor, and we netted Jeff’s within 2 minutes. See what I mean when Captain Gordon gets on the motor?!

While we were getting ready to wrap up after a serious of tangles, ripped off leaders, and complete chaos, I see the rod next to me getting bit and I quietly put down my bird’s nest and moved a little bit closer. I’m pretty notorious for snatching fish from people, especially springers, but I’ve been good this year! I’ve even handed the rod over or walked right past a reel taking line because others haven’t had as many opportunities as me. But something in my gut told me this was mine and no one else on the boat was the wiser. I’m starring at the reel, not the rod, waiting for line to start peeling and Jeff notices me. He shouts to grab it but we’ve been here before and I told him that it wasn’t ready. He gives the motor a shot and I pick up the rod, fully loaded, ready for my fight. Out of no where, he tries to grab the rod right out of my hands like this ones his. He already caught his 2 that day and it was literally already in my hands. I wasn’t going down without a fight though. While the rod was being tugged and pulled by each of us before the first crank had been reeled, I tucked the butt of the rod under my arm and put my hands on the handle for leverage to bring the rod back down to my level. MINE! Sweet victory! I won!!! After a long battle, and a few net attempts with a 12′ rod and a 5’2″ little girl, we finally got this big boy safely in the net.

The last day was just Jeff, Herb, and I which was nice because it was a lot slower. We had to make our 3 hour drive home and work early Tuesday morning so we didn’t get to fish into the afternoon bite, but we left going 3/5 at 4 PM.

 

At the end of 3 days, we came home with 15 fish and a lifetime of memories. We learned a thing or two about a new flasher, we were reminded how important scents can be, and that even the tiniest detail like where you put the bait loop on the shrimp makes the difference between a bait that is fishing and a bait that is simply keeping the hooks warm. Drano 2017 is one for the books and I can’t wait for next year!

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!