G Loomis

Drano Lake 2018

I’ve spent 11 days in May fishing our favorite place, Drano Lake which included a lot of time off work and busy weeks! Overall, Drano was okay to us. It can’t be great fishing every day, but this year there was a whole lot of random boats doing well which I’m happy for, really, I am……..But when a bone isn’t thrown our way every once in a while and you don’t see the normal boats doing that great either, it makes you wonder what’s going on. You make changes, clean things, try different things, and still……We never felt like we had it figured out like we have in historical years but sometimes, that’s just how the Fish God’s play the game.

Birthday Weekend:

We kicked off the season with Jeff’s annual birthday trip with his parents. Jeff & I made it down Friday to see what was going on while his parents & his uncle met up with us later that evening. We managed to get a few that evening and having missed the entire morning, we were very happy with where we ended the day. We skipped the morning bite that entire weekend so that we could sleep in and be ready to go all night which ended up paying off……..Most of the days.

 

Saturday night was May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and it was sure a site to see in the toilet bowl! There were more people than normal that night celebrating with a few extra beers and the fun began! Fishing wasn’t that great, but it didn’t matter because the entertainment was enough to keep us out until dark! There were a few people, and even a pup, that went swimming – mostly by mistake and a WHOLE LOT OF LAUGHTER! This place is where the friends are made and after 10 hours in the bowl, your guard is gone and part of your sanity is also gone. We got a few more fish Saturday but still, it wasn’t limits and we certainly weren’t one of the top 5 boats.

Sunday quite a bit slower during the day and I think we scratched out one fish all day. There is something about Jeff’s dad on a Sunday night after he’s had a few beers that the fish really like. After 5 PM we ended up losing a couple but putting another 6 fish in the box for a final count that was one shy of a limited boat. This is the fishing that we’re used to. We couldn’t even get all of our rods back out before we’d get another fish! We called it a night before getting that last fish and decided once again to sleep in for our last morning.

What a mistake that was……..His uncle left Sunday and his parents were done fishing, leaving mid-morning. It was only Jeff and I so we only needed 4 fish and after a night like Sunday night, we were feeling pretty confident that we finally figured out the key and we were going to be heading home early. I launched the boat around 7:30 and there were a couple of guides taking out. “already tired of spinning circles, huh?!” HAHAHAHAHAHAH Turns out the morning bite was on fire and they were done for the day. Oh boy. We’ve never got our gear in the water so fast…..But we were a bit too late.

We did get a fish on the first pass which we felt was a fantastic sign! I even got it tangled up with a bank angler and we ended up having to go all the way to shore to get our fish. This is where people end up hating Drano but usually, if you’re nice, people are nice back – and if they’re not nice, they get to listen to my version of what chipmunks sound like in the woods and hear a cute little lady wish very ill things upon them using provocative and rude language. Thankfully, these guys were awesome and were more than helpful so that I could land my fish. We quickly got out of their way and back on our side of the line thinking that we weren’t actually too late for the morning bite! We started back up where we left off and had ANOTHER bite before we’ve even made a complete pass. I lost my first fish this year…….I struggled to keep a fish on the surface because I wanted it in so badly and Jeff took a risky shot and stabbed my fish off. We learned that getting a fish first pass was bad luck. We went 1 for 6 that morning and we left around 1 PM with our pride in our almost empty fish bag.

Weekend 2:

We took another long weekend, although this time only 3 days. Fishing appears to have been great – according to social media – that week so we were excited to be back! We weren’t missing another morning bite but the boat ramp was a nightmare! I was there at 4 AM and parking farther away than when I got there at 7 on the weekends. Our friend had the CUTEST little puppy that we got to spend the weekend with. We ended up with a couple that day and got up even earlier Saturday for another day out! We have this superstition that sunscreen is the biggest fish repellant that could ever exist. I put some sunscreen on in the morning and wash my hands thoroughly, but I do not reapply throughout the day – I layer up.

Our friend met up with us a little bit later and it was apparent that he loaded up on the sunscreen in anticipation of the nice weather in the forecast. We had a couple that morning already, but that was the end of our bites for the day……….Thankfully everyone except me had already gotten at least 1 fish for the weekend – I lost mine. The next morning, again bright and early, I finally got my fish on a plug in the main lake. I used to have to be the one you’d keep an eye on. I’d take your rod right out of your hands if you weren’t doing a good a job. I’ve been really good the past 2 years and I even call fish out for other people and hand them the rod if they haven’t had a fish yet. Being that I lost my only opportunity this weekend, I ran quickly from the bow to grab the rod as soon as I saw it going off. I landed it! My skunk is over!

Weekend 3:

We headed back again but this time just for the weekend. We were fishing early in the morning this weekend. We didn’t too very well, losing a couple of fish the first day. We continued to watch what seemed like an episode of Opera….You get a fish, and you get a fish, you get a fish, one for you too!

There were 2 or 3 guide boats that seemed to be doing pretty well, but other than them, it was completely random and frustrating to say the least. Even our buddy Steve who is ALWAYS one of the top 5 boats was doing worse than us. What is going on this year? This is our place. This is the place that we’ve put hundreds of hours into. This is where we’ve grinded for years so that we could quickly adapt to the ever changing fish in this system. It didn’t seem to be paying off for anyone that has earned the right to have phenomenal days. When it’s fish for EVERYONE, it’s awesome. But man, when it’s not fish for us or the usual anglers, it’s as confusing as being 13 years old. We like to clean the “funk” off when fishing is slow because it’s proven to fix things time and time again at Drano Lake. We told Steve to go wash his boat and the next day, fish after fish after fish. I’ve never seem him so animated and excited. His skunk was over, but ours was not and our boat had been cleaned about 10 times that weekend.

We lost more than we landed and again, we headed back even more confused than the weekend before.

Weekend 4:

It was just Jeff and I for the holiday weekend and we were determined to end our season the right way. We’re used to limiting on our last day and leaving early…..that’s just how it works out. I couldn’t tell if I was starting to get allergies (which I’ve never had) or a cold so I loaded up on all the medicine I could think of and we headed down at 1 AM so that we could get the morning bite. We showed up around 6 AM which was a little bit too late but we saw a couple of fish on before the morning bite died. We mostly fished the main lake with the damn counts as low as they were and as the day went on, I determined my issues were not allergies. I quit the allergy medicine and loaded up on the cold meds to get myself through this weekend grind. We pulled over and took an afternoon nap because we really wanted to be focused for the evening bite. With it being just us, the opportunities aren’t really there to take “shifts” and let each other nap like we normally can.

We had already lost one fish that day and after we woke up, we thought we’d try float fishing since it wasn’t something we’d done for a few years. That proved to be just as slow as trolling and we’d rather troll so we switched it back up and got back on the motor. We hooked up again and surprise! Lost that one too.

The next day, we were at the launch in the dark and ready to fish right away. Like the weekend before, we watched as random boats hooked up and their fish seemed to cooperate. they stayed down, right below the boat and when it was time to net, they came up quickly to the net. Why can’t ours do that?! I struggled this year between fighting the fish on the surface which is never a good idea and pulling too hard because I want the fish in the net so darn bad. We found ourselves a biter and my instincts kicked in and grabbed the rod before Jeff could see what was happening. I let it take out 14 ft of line before I picked it up and fought it to the surface. In an effort to get it to go back down instead of thrash on the surface, I tried to drop my rod in the water but there were still 2 other rods out and they were in my way. Trying my hardest not to lose this fish, I lost it. That was our last bite at Drano Lake and shortly after, we called it a really day and were on the highway by 9:30. We were set to fish another day but between my cold and our bad landing ratio, plus only having 3 bites so far, we decided to finally give ourselves a rest and get some housework done.

This year was humbling to say the least. Never let yourself get too confident no matter how many years you do well. We never did figure out what we were doing wrong or what the other boats that normally kick ass were doing wrong either. We’ve never seen so many fish spread out between boats; it’s usually very apparent who knows how to catch them down there, and who is still on their first year or two down there. We tried EVERYTHING and nothing seemed to change the situation so we have nothing left to do but hope that next year is back to what we expect. We expect to grind and work and try new things. We expect to have slow days and maybe even no fish days. We don’t expect to have slow days when we’re seeing fish around. We definitely don’t expect to go home empty handed if we’ve seen more than 10 other fish caught that day. We need to not only make sure we can make the fish react again, but also how to improve our landing ratio. I personally went 7 for 13 this year. That’s a 54% landing ratio. I’m not okay with that. Some were beyond my control but there were at least 3 that were 100% my fault and I’m only okay if that number is 0%.

This is why we love Drano Lake. It does this to us. It makes us try. It makes us put all of our skills to use. It pushes us so far beyond our comfort zone, that we start thinking outside the box. And when it works, there’s no fishery that rewards like Drano. <3

Here’s a few more pics from our trip :)

Fall Salmon

I’ve been slacking on blogging, right? Yes! I have actually been out fishing doing more than just studying – well, sometimes both LOL.

A few weeks ago we headed back to the Hump before we got all that rain and we were still fishing down low. It was one of those days that I was contemplating staying home to study and sleep but figured one more time before the rain was coming. This year with all the pressure that came along with studying I sadly find myself regretting being on the water if I’m not actually going to catch a fish. This never used to be the case – I was a “bad day on the water is better than a good day of work” kind of gal and the river is where I went to escape real life. But I can’t seem to escape the guilt that creeps up inside of me when I do ANYTHING except study – even cook dinner. So, if I don’t catch anything, I feel horrible.

This was one of those days. The weekend before I was on fire in the same exact hole, although I couldn’t quite get to the same spot which makes a big difference in the river. So, I watched float after float go down and the few times mine would go down, I’d be a bad position and set the hook too late. I was ready to leave. It was afternoon and this was more of a grind than I would choose to partake in knowing I should be studying. We headed down river and fished a few holes on the way out and I FINALLY got one to make it to the net! All of a sudden, my day was made and the regret and guilt were gone….just like that. I just need one fish every time.

After all the rain we headed out for a half day – because I needed to be home to study. We got skunked and were happy to call it in early. So, I took a weekend off not really by choice but forced by the rain but I really wasn’t complaining – no guilt this time! We headed back to the coast last weekend with the water still a bit high but just dropping into shape. We did get a few coho to the boat caught on twitching jigs and spinners but I really had a blast with the chum! We pulled wrapped K15′s searching for any willing biter and I got to study while waiting for the bites. I didn’t get much study time in since we were getting hit after just a few minutes, but I had a great day!

I took another exam last week (that was number 4 and I have zero passed) but I won’t find out for another month. So, in the meantime I’m moving back to exam number 1 and hopefully some more fishing this weekend!

G Loomis IMX & Shimano Curado reviews

It’s like this rod/reel combo was made for me! When G Loomis announced a new product being added to their line up, I thought, “Honestly, what else could you possibly make?” I started out fishing a Loomis and never found a need for a different rod. Last winter, I was able to attend their release party with their full IMX line up on display and got a sneak peak at the new Shimano Curado that was set to be released that spring. I had been trying to preserve my old Curado for as long as possible but I’d fished it hard for the past 3 years and I felt the end coming near so when I saw this one, I was beyond ecstatic. Needlesstosay, my old Curado is still trucking on bringing in the fish!

We purchased a few new IMX’s this past year, but there were 2 that got me so excited, I lost sleep over. One was the IMX 1562-2 CPR 13’ (which I’ll be doing a review on next springer season) and the IMX 1363-2C 11’4”. My previous float rod was a little too heavy for steelhead, and a little too light for big fall kings so I decided this year I’ll be using 2 float rods for small salmon/steelhead and then the big coastal kings.

Why do I fish a casting reel when I’m float fishing?

I spend equal amounts of time fishing a spinning reel and a casting reel and they each have their perks. Float fishing is about sending out the most natural presentation as possible. You want your float moving smoothly and freely with the current. First reason: I can let line out with almost no tension to my float. This can be obtained best with a center pin rod/reel with the 1:1 gear ratio, but a casting reel is the next best thing. Second reason: When you’re fishing a spinning reel and letting line out, how many times have you been caught with your float going down and your bail open? Seasoned anglers can quickly just grab the reel and set the hook, beginners have plenty of other things to focus on when that moment happens and they end up setting the hook and you hear “pfffffff” as you watch all the line come coiling off the spool when the angler sets the hook. With a casting reel, you only have to press your thumb on the spool and reel to engage. Simple as that!

Here are the reasons why this rod is hands down, the best float rod for a seasoned angler that fishes a casting reel:

ROD: 1363-2C 11’4” 6-12 LB

  1. It’s over 11 feet long! I stand tall at an astounding 5’2” so float fishing has its own areas of difficulty for me. It’s not only hard to cast when there’s only 3 feet of me above the water, but it’s even harder to men my line when my elbows are basically touching the water. Some might say 11’4” is a little bit much, but for the vertically challenged or those that can handle that much rod, it’s perfect. I’ve fished a 12’ float rod before, and that was a little bit too much for me. It was difficult to land fish in the drift boat because I had to step back so far, and I was constantly getting the line wrapped at the tip. For some, 12’, 13’, or even 14’ works for them, but for me I found my new comfort level in 11’4”. Mending my line is a breeze and I finally feel like I can fish without the challenges of my height! Last benefit of a longer rod: when I set the hook, I don’t have my hands behind my head, falling backwards because I have to lift higher to catch up with all the line sitting on the water.
  2. The graphite is so sensitive! I can darn near FEEL the fish bite before I watch my float go down. Okay, but really. Fighting fish has never been so fun. You get to feel every little move and this time, you’re not afraid that you’re going to lose the fish because it’s acting crazy. The IMX graphite absorbs every head shake and run and gives me that extra second to realize when the fish is running right at me. The 6-12lb weight ratio doesn’t matter when I’m fighting a 20lb king because the rod absorbs everything! I was bringing in kings left and right, pulling them up heavy current without a hitch. If they wanted to go for a run, my rod didn’t buckle under pressure because it’s like a rubber band.

Check out the “Bend test” on the new IMX series here!

 

Reel: Shimano Curado 201HG

  1. I could cast a country mile! With a longer rod, you get an extra “Flick” at the end of your cast which makes it go twice as far. Paired with the new Currado’s SVS Infinity Brake System, I was able to cast farther without getting a backlash. The came off the reel smooth and evenly making my casts effortless.
  2. Greater line retrieve ratio! Am I the only one who reels up as fast as I can so that I A) don’t get skipped in the casting order and B) can get my stuff back in the water ASAP? The new Curado’s have a gear ratio of 7.2:1 whereas the Curado CU200 had a gear ratio of 6.2:1. That’s 17% greater of a gear ratio! When the fish take that turn and head straight towards me, I can crank up faster than ever and keep the tension before fully catching up to the fish.
  3. It’s so smooth! The Curado comes with Shimano’s X-Ship technology which adds cranking power and makes it easier to turn whether it’s fully loaded by the weight of a fish, or weightless. The A-RB bearings which support the pinion eliminates unnecessary twisting which provides more power and a smoother retrieve.
  4. My favorite part: They have the 201 series now which means a left hand retrieve! Well, maybe not my FAVORITE part, but I wouldn’t purchase the reel until they made it in a left had retrieve. Jeff fishes a right hand retrieve so I can fish either if I have to, but I’ll always prefer the left hand retrieve! Why? Because I hold the rod with my right hand. My right arm is stronger so I want to cast with my right arm, support the weight of a fish with my right arm, and mend all day long with my right arm. When I go to set the hook and engage my reel, I don’t want to have to switch hands!

So, for anyone considering a new float rod, make it easier on your life and pick yourself up the 1363-2C IMX and Curado 201HG!

~Bry

Loving coastal fall fish

Some of the best fishing happens when we transition from summer to fall. The rivers are low and clear, the fall fish are patiently awaiting in the Bay for big tide swings, full moons, and bringing those water levels up and dirty so they can begin their journey up river.

The water conditions were perfect this weekend and we headed to the top of the river to get those traveling fish that are staging up for a little break. It started out very slow in our first hole and the few fish we did catch, were a bit on the dark side. Not quite what we were expecting. We headed down river and searched around for some more fish and found a few more pulling plugs.

The fish were biting alright, but we were having a difficult time keeping them on and most of them were chrome silvers. Jeff pulled over and let me give it a whirl on the oars! I’ve pulled plugs and divers before in the drift boat, but never got any participants until Saturday! I got my first plug fish and got to finally return the favor, and put Jeff on a nice fish!

 

We kept fishing around and were a few silvers shy of our limit but headed to the takeout to get the evening low tide and dig our own sandshrimp! I unfortunately spent most of the night doing homework, but was well rested for another day of salmon slaying!

Sunday, we headed down river a bit to see if we could find some brighter, fresher fish and we did just that! We released quite a few darker fish, but managed to fill the box with chrome! We even got a bonus hatchery steelhead! It was our friend Zak’s first time in our drift boat and he did great! We all got fish on so many techniques, but majority of the fish on Sunday were on eggs.

We had several groups of friends in their boats and it was another fall fishing trip to go down in the history books. I love steelhead, but fishing the coast each fall with tons of friends is the type of trip that I look forward to every year and it’s exactly the type of trip we needed to get our fishing “fix” after so many weeks of hunting and preparing for hunting!