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!

Buoy10 2014

While I was whining and crying about having to go to my wonderful 3 year old niece’s birthday party on Saturday, I was wishing the worst on Jeff and his friends as they headed out to Buoy 10. I didn’t deserve the wonderful trip that I had on Sunday.

Poor Joey did end up getting quite sick, but not after catching a nice 23 lb’er. The boat got one more jack and a wild coho which was released.

They headed in and I met up with them to fish on Sunday.

It started out slow and spinners didn’t get anything the day before so we only put one out on Sunday with the other 3 rods fishing herring behind a flasher. We watched a few boats here and there hook and got one jack right off the bat, but nothing else for us for a few hours. As the tide changed, we headed below the Astoria bridge and watched the fog get thicker.

Zack got a nice 24 lb’er and as we were letting the rest of the rods out, I feel mine get bit. I’m just about at bottom and I keep paying out line. I’ve never had this happen and I can hardly think straight! Thank goodness for all the practice with back bouncing! I let out a couple more feet and finally set the hook. Fish on! This is awesome!

It takes me for quite the ride! I hit 80 ft on the line counter and begin to get worried. I let Jeff know that it’s going, 90 ft, 100, am I going to run out of line, 110, 115, 120 ft, crap! We head towards it and I was able to bring it back it. What a wild ride! We tango for a few more minutes and finally ease this beauty into the net.

I’m so happy and feel so bad for all the trash talking that I did the day before. What a poor sport! We find another school of fish and get everything back in the water and Herb gets a nice 21 lb’er. We hook a couple wild coho and finally Jeff gets his big king!

It’s 11:30 AM. We’re done! Forget finding hatchery coho, let’s get out of here!

Such a great day and all of Jeff’s hard work paid off for his first Buoy 10 trip! We won’t make it back this year as we’ll be heading out for Elk hunting, but fall salmon are in the air!!

Springers are so emotional!

We didn’t get out to the Columbia again for the last day, but we did hit the smaller rivers and were pleasantly rewarded :)

I had a very rough work week last week and decided, again no homework for me! Not so much because I didn’t want it, but I just couldn’t focus and I paid for it when I took my midterm today. Back to the good part! We got up bright and early, found the sweet spot and pitched bait for hours. Jeff got one on about 9 AM and it was definitely a nice one. Took up upriver and kind of hung out in some really heavy, boulder water and sawed him off at his main line after about a minute of fighting.

He was devastated but had never been more motivated. We were drifting bait and I started getting a bite. I lowered my rod to give some slack and after about 4 good bites, I put the wood down. FISH ON! And I just so happened to be breaking in my new IMX 13ft center pin rod!

After 3 seconds the smile wipes from my face and I get into a comfortable spot to bring this guy in. It seems as though the longer I fish for springers, the more stressful they get. I get this knot in my throat and this nauseating feeling in my stomach. My heart races and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to hide the sheer panic in my face. Jeff usually has to tell me to breathe and relax and that just makes me lose focus on the fish, which makes it worse. When I finally get the fish landed, a huge wave of relief washes over me. I get pretty anxious about all fish, but nothing quite like these guys. Perhaps because there are so few and far between and we’re fishing primarily for the table fare, not the rush. Funny how that works….

Anyhow, all of this emotion happened in about 20 seconds and we see the fish hit the surface. It’s a jack…..Now, it’s just a bonus fish and it’s all in fun! I’m actually playing around and I realized that I was tricked because my rod is so sensitive! How cool is that?! We have the IMX 13ft center pin rod and that’s what Jeff fishes with for springers so I know my rod is more than capable of handling a 15lb springer, but how awesome that I can actually play and enjoy a fight from a jack!

We fished for several more hours and when I went in the car to take a quick nap, not even 10 minutes went by and Jeff had a nice 13lb’er. He was extremely happy that he made up for the missing fish this morning and we get to bring home dinner again :)

Now hopefully I can find a good balance again between work, fishing, and homework! Off to Drano Lake for the next couple of weekends! Springer lovin’!!!!

G Loomis new IMX series

New blog up here:

G LOOMIS IMX  – steelhead rods don’t get any better than this!

G Loomis has recently come out with an entire new line of IMX rods. All of your favorite rods, from float fishing to trolling to side drifting and everything in between, have been re-introduced in the newest IMX blank. The blanks are still carbon fiber but lighter than ever, as flexible as a rubber band, and capable of taking on the baddest fish in the river.

This last weekend I got to put them to the test and I did just that. We took out the 1162s rated 6-10lb and 9’8” for a little side drifting action. We all know how incredibly sensitive the IMX’s and Steelhead Series rods were so it goes without saying these rods are still the most sensitive rods I’ve ever drifted with.

We already had one 8lb hatchery buck in the boat when I hook up. It came to the boat pretty quickly so I wasn’t expecting much until I felt the full weight beneath me as I tried to pull it up to the surface. I knew this fish was not ready and it was not coming in without a fight. It ran a little, but the fight was more in the dead, solid weight and head throbs beneath me. The boys hollered at me to hurry up “c’mon and stop cupcaking it!” I tried to tell them I was not cupcaking this one! It was solid and as I realize I’m fishing a new rod, I look down and say “look at the bend in this rod. There’s no way I’m cupcaking this!” The rod was doubled over and the bend went all the way to the cork. Most rods have a backbone point, even steelhead rods. You can tell where sensitive meets strength, but not with this guy!

As I warned the net guy I needed him to be quick, brave, and that he only is going to have one shot when I lift up, I was ready to really put this rod to the test. I have to admit, I was a little scared I would either A) pop the 10lb leader or size 4 hooks, or B) break my new rod if I lifted to fast. I put on my big girl pants and lifted this “cupcake fish” up so we could scoop her up and it was effortless!

I couldn’t believe how incredible that fight was. This is what steelhead dreams consist of! Beautiful chrome fish and getting to EXPERIENCE the fight. There will be no more horsing steelhead in on salmon rods and no more getting owned on rods that didn’t quite have the backbone needed. The new G Loomis IMX rods are capable of anything and everything and you’ll experience fishing like you were brand new again.

I landed the 14lb hatchery on it and we also landed 2 8lb hatchery fish, 8lb native, and the next day, this incredible 19lb hatchery buck.

We landed fish ranging from 8lbs to 19lbs all on the same rod and lost none! Even the best anglers lose fish on occasion, and I do believe that the new IMX blanks are going to increase the land ratio. The flexibility is incomparable to any other rod I’ve seen and it absorbs every single movement the fish makes which allows you to use as much or as little force as you need without pulling too hard or giving slack.

They are lighter and stronger than ever and really give you a whole new outlook on fighting fish. I’ve also purchased a few other rods in the new IMX blank that I’ll be sure to share with everyone in the next few months.

  • 13ft 1562-2 6-12lb used for free drifting springers
  • 11’4” 1363C 6-12lb casting rod used for float fishing Puget Sound salmon and steelhead from the drift boat or bank
  • 9”8” 1262S 8-12lb spinning rod used for float fishing Puget Sound salmon and steelhead from the drift boat or sled

Check out their breakage test! I’m not sure a fish would stand up against this!!