jeff eklund

Kicking Off Steelhead Season!

I’ve been so busy with life lately, that I forgot how important fishing is! This quarter (school) along with out abundance of rain has kept me from the river for quite a while, but I’m back now and hopefully more regularly again! :)

I took the day off work on Friday to hit the river for our first steelhead trip of the year and was rewarded with this beauty:

There were quite a bit of small fish all weighing in under 8 lbs, but it was still great to be out there. Jeff, who runs HIS boat and always gets first water, landed 6 out of the 9 fish hooked that day! Saturday we took our buddy Patric, his girlfriend (a steelhead virgin), and our other buddy Trenton (also a steelhead virgin) and hooked 10! They were a bit bigger and we got Amanda and Trenton both of their first steelhead ever! Amanda even got her limit (2) and hooked 3!

I worked pretty hard all day keeping the rods rigged up and whenever that happens, I start to feel like it’s work and karma rewarded me with this beauty and the biggest of the day. Thank you Lady K for treating us all so fabulous on Saturday!

Being able to give people this kind of joy is what Jeff loves. He had a great time hooking 6 fish on Friday, but he had a much better time Saturday being able to assist with this kind of experience!

Bonus! Dime bright coho in almost January!

Saturday poured down rain so I was looking forward to a little sunshine this Sunday. We took out another Steelhead Virgin, and our buddy Zach. Everyone got to at least hook a fish, but I unfortunately lost mine! Ramsey got his first ever steelhead, Jeff put 2 in the box (again, that first water all day sort of thing ;) ) and Zach also landed a great hen to replenish the egg supply!

We’re hoping to carry on our New Year’s tradition this Thursday with another steelhead trip so I’m crossing my fingers that the weather permits it! Then, next weekend is my last weekend before it’s back to school for my second to last quarter and hopefully a nice, easy quarter :)

 

PS: After this weekend, I realized that it was time to break out my “go-to” warming techniques to keep me cozy and fishing while in freezing temperatures. I originally was going to direct this to the ladies only, but after all the whiny boys this weekend, I decided it can be helpful for everyone :)

1. Get a good layer of Insulation underneath your clothes. You know, the old Long Johns are actually great with today’s new technology. I don’t go fishing without Under Armour thermal pants and long sleeve shirts. Sometimes I’ll wear two cheap long sleeve athletic shirts as a substitute.

2. Fleece sweats are a must! When I first met Jeff 9 years ago, I made fun of him so much for wearing this ridiculous black fleece sweats with stirrups. Now, it’s either my brain that wised up, or my age that made me stop caring what I look like, but they are a must. There’s nothing warmer than fleece sweats.

3. Fingerless gloves WITH MITTENS. Ladies, I know, these are impossible to find in fishing departments to fit our tiny hands. Take yourself to Target and spend $5-$15. They have a huge selection and they are made for our dainty hands! They aren’t too expensive, and they even fleece and water resistant materials. Look for the ones with fingerless thumbs too so that you can tie knots and open bait loops.

4. Wear latex/nitrile gloves under them to keep your fingers from getting wet.

5. Put one Little Hottie Hand Warmer in each mitten. they’ll warm up the fingers in no time and I fish with my mittens on. The only time they come off is to cast (which I only remove one finger to hold the line) and to bait up!

5. While we’re talking about Little Hotties, if it’s really cold (or I’m feeling like a baby), I’ll stick them in my bra. If it’s too hot, wear 2 sports bras and put them in between. It’s at the core of your body so it keeps most of you really, really warm. You can also tuck one under your bra strap on your shoulder to keep your shoulders from getting sore. Therma Heat back warmers are the best, but expensive if you’re using on a regular basis.

6. Get your boots one or two sizes too big! I spent my first 2 years in boots too small and it took that long to realize my toes couldn’t wiggle and that’s why they got so cold!

7. Wear a normal pair of socks and then thick, cozy socks on top. Don’t get too tight of ones or you have the issue with number 6. I also don’t ever use the Little Hottie Foot Warmers because they don’t work unless air circulates and they bunch up at the feet.

8. Last but not least, bring an extra hoodie or rain jacket if it’s going to rain! You can change halfway through the day and voila! you get to wear dry clothes again

Hope you stay warm out there!

Salt water salmon

Fall salmon make it so hard to keep up with homework! Another successful weekend out on the big water! We made some last minute plans and was able to fill the boat up with some new friends!

We headed out on Saturday with our friends Andrew and Zach and Andrew’s “Uncle Phil” who doesn’t get to catch many fish :) He ended up with a king and quite a few silvers all chrome fighting machines! We got to test out some new flashers and even got a coho on a spinner which is always extra fun because it’s not the primary method when we’re in the salt water.

I wanted to know about the game, I would watch it! lol

On Sunday, we headed out with Zach and Amy and Brady which was our first time fishing with them! It’s always great to meet new people who share the same love for the outdoors, and an added bonus when it’s a girl! We stumbled through some tangles, rough water, and as the sun came out, tide came in, and wind died down, we started nailing them!

Amy and Brady are avid hunters and fairly avid fishermen but don’t get out quite as often as us so it was a blast teaching them all kinds of new techniques and getting to see them put their new skills to use fighting fish in the big water. They were great company, learned fast, and Jeff even let Brady net a few fish, which is really, really rare for him haha.

After a great morning, we cooked up a few elk burgers and called it an early day and headed home with 8 chrome coho in the box. Luckily, it’s Brady’s birthday this month and Amy just got him a new smoker! Looks like the perfect time to bring home this many fish!

We didn’t get any pics, but we ended up getting quite a few fish on some green and blue flashers! Go Seahawks!!

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!!