King Salmon

A Little Proud

Well, I have to be a little proud. It’s rare when Jeff and I don’t fish together. We both work Monday through Friday and make fishing on the weekends our top priority. When Jeff gets called into work on the weekends, I typically am a little glad for a break to run errands but this weekend, I had nothing to do so we got his buddy to agree to go with me and took the boat out by myself :)

I’ve rowed many times for a long time, but never without Jeff. For anyone who has heard about when I catch fish without him around, you know I’m like a little cat that brings a mouse to the doorstep. I’m so proud and can’t wait to show him what I did. Seriously, like a little kid and it’s a bit ridiculous because I’m 25 years old and don’t get that feeling even a little bit when he’s around. Only when he’s gone, do I feel the need to MAKE HIM PROUD! haha.

Another buddy of our was taking his new boat our for his first time rowing alone as well so we teamed up and pep talked each other through it. We got to the first hole which wasn’t as good as expected. Lloyd landed one and lost a few others and Andrew also got a silver. We stayed hoping for some more opportunity while Andrew headed down to find more fish. They were successful in numbers and got off the river well before us but we were awfully proud of the quality of fish we found. Hey, we fished until dark and only had 3 in the box, we have to make it sound good somehow :)

We lost a few others and got a few nice ones and headed home so Jeff could take us out on Sunday. It was a cold and slow morning, but we were richly rewarded with 3 amazing kings all completely sea lice ridden and as bright as an ocean fish. We didn’t find any silvers, but Lloyd got some rowing practice in, and we were home early enough for me to get this blog done after taking care of the fish and bait.

A great weekend and I’m going to sleep feeling extremely proud. A small accomplishment, but it’s a start! Now it means I can take a boat full of my best fisher ladies!! Dream fishing day :)

 

More coastal salmon

We hit the coast again after the rivers dropped in and we started up high on Saturday knowing all the fish ran straight up river. While we landed a ridiculous amount of fish, most were sent back into the river because they were a bit too dark for our liking. We found a few holes that we could pound out a few fish and everyone got more than a few chances at some fish so it was starting off to be a great day.

We found a nice little hole that was getting a lot of hits, but boy was it tough to land them. We had to chase a couple down and Herb even got spooled by a monster! Luckily, the fish popped off once the line broke at the reel so we were able to reel all the line back up, but man it sucked to see that beauty get away.

About 15 minutes later, as I’m rigging up Herb’s rod again, Jeff is fishing my favorite, custom, float rod and hooks a huge fish. Not only was it huge, it was dime bright, which was rare that day. He gets it just next to the boat and everyone’s words were “holy SH**”! Right as Herb went to net it, we heard the worst noise you could imagine………..”snap”. My heart sunk…..My rod snapped in two and broke the braid. We watched that beauty tow away with our float still attached and Jeff got a good punch in the arm. Well, no more float fishing for me all weekend! And, I’ll need to try to replace a custom rod. GREAT!

The beer was pouring and I was pouting. I just wanted to get to the launch, dig razor clams, and sleep. We fished a little more and I got a little happier. The fish that broke my rod will haunt me forever, but at least it broke on a killer fish and not in a car door or in a tree. Trying to be optimistic here :)

Saturday we went a little lower in the river hoping for some brighter fish. We got some brighter fish, but nowhere near the numbers as the day before. The crowds were fewer, and the fish were definitely a lot nicer, but we only killed two and we were at the launch by 2. We had a nice little lunch and home to clean clean clean all those fish, clams, and eggs!

Can’t wait for next weekend! I’m now in full fall salmon mode even though I’m out one rod ;)

How I Get Revenge

The plan this weekend was to take Jeff’s aunt Karen and uncle Jerry from Montana out. They just wanted to fish with their nephew, catch a big one, and bring home a bunch of fish to can. Friday morning I get a call from a “sheriff” at about 11:30AM. Having two younger brothers (that have called me to get them out of trouble before), I was trying to figure out what in the world they did so early in the morning to be getting in so much trouble that they had to call big sister to help.

He was actually calling to ask me about my supposed snagging on the river; And I don’t feel bad for assuming it was my brothers. :)  Apparently, Chief [something tribal sounding] called him to report me and my friends’ snagging problem on the Nisqually. I was very surprised and told him that perhaps someone didn’t like one of my recent blogs and thought they would try to get me in trouble. He was very persistent on wanting to meet me but I said I was fishing the next day. He was asking about who I was taking, if I was running  guided or charter trip, and where I was. Sounding very official and educated on his questions, I answered truthfully with Jeff’s family, no, we aren’t guides, and the military launch on the Nisqually.

He was closing the conversation by setting up a meeting in the morning at the boat launch so that he could discuss in person. When I asked what his name was again, he replied with “uncle Jerry”. I GOT PUNKED!! I feel that I was warned Jeff’s uncle is a whole lot of fun and that I would love him. Everyone was absolutely right! After offering to bring the beer and gas the boat, I couldn’t wait to meet this man!

I left work early and headed home to make sure everything was perfect only to find out that Jeff got called into work Saturday. We were pretty bummed because his aunt and uncle had to go back to Montana Saturday afternoon. He got some extra work done while in town and last minute decided he would stay if he could fish on Sunday! Back to the game plan! We unfortunately had to bail on some other friends, but we couldn’t give up another opportunity to take him fishing! the fishing started out decent and we released a few dark fish assuming the fishing would be great all day and we could be picky. They just wanted fish to can so they didn’t care if they were dark, pinks, anything! We really just wanted nice kings!

The terrible thunder storm rolled in around 9 AM and we had Jeff’s dad, uncle, and aunt all fishing without rain gear, in a Washington thunder storm. They pulled out that beer and fished their way through it! The bad weather really turned off the bite and we struggled to put anything else in the boat. We had just one 10 lb coho which was a great fish, but not quite what we intended to send them home with.

After a very fun day of fishing, tons of picking on ME (uncle Jerry says “you seem like the kind of girl that’s easy to pick on”), beer drinking, and great stories, we called it quits before the next forecasted storm headed in. I mistakenly decided to clean the fish on the boat and was getting the last little bit of blood out when the fish slipped right off the side of the boat! GONE, JUST LIKE THAT! The only fish we had and the only fish that they could send home!

They joked about buying whole salmon from Johnny’s Dock and I PROMISED that we would have fish for them when they came up again in a few weeks and they were more than welcome to come back out. Uncle Jerry said he’d only come out if Jeff could get them out while I was at work or something. I was not welcome back with them and he told Jeff to find another girlfriend because he didn’t approve of me! They really did buy salmon on their way home and even sent the eggs back to us, but I’m still saving all the next fish we catch for them. They were wonderful people and I can’t wait to see them again if they’ll allow it. Uncle Jerry was a riot and Aunt Karen might love fishing more than me…

Well, I Jeff keeps telling me he was joking and that they liked me and surely hope so! He pulled a fast one over on me before I even met him and that my friends, is how I get even :)

Labor Day Weekend

It was such an eventful Labor Day weekend, I took two days to write a blog this week

 We fished the Nisqually all weekend and I must admit, it was one of the most humbling weekends I’ve had. I got the worse skunking of my life! I’m pretty selfish when it comes to fishing and I don’t take many of my friends, because it’s so much work and I don’t actually get to fish much. I know, extremely selfish. My anxiety level rises about 100% when everyone else is catching fish, but I’m too busy getting line untangled, rigging up rods, cutting bait, etc etc to actually fish. It’s okay every once in a while, but we’ve done a lot of that this summer and I WANT TO FISH DANGGIT!

Saturday:

Being the great guy that Jeff is, he invited his co worker and his two daughters out fishing on Saturday. I complained the night before about “babysitting” all day and I was grabbing a diver rod if it was mine to fight. He joked about me being so selfish that I get satisfaction from a diver fish. I said I would happily help the kids, but I was taking full advantage of Sunday and Monday without new friends and children. That deserved some pretty bad karma and I got exactly that.

Jeff apparently sucked up a bunch of rocks in the  impeller the weekend before so as soon as we launched, we were powerless and spent the first hour taking the motor apart to clear out the rocks. It gave me some time to teach them all how to fish a float, mend, set the hook, etc so it wasn’t time wasted. We hit the first diver spot and Robin (the daddy) got a native. Put up a great fight, but they wanted fish in the boat. We worked our behinds off trying to keep the girls entertained while trying to get fish. We had casting lessons, French braids, and lunch when we headed up river. I finally hooked one and it was coming right in!

“c’mon Caitlin! Help me fight this one!” With both of us fighting this fish that seemed to be a dark, small adult, we were having a blast. The fish took off, reel screaming, and we soon realized “this ain’t no 4lb jack”. She saw the fish and heard us talk about how nice it was and she took off running to the back of the boat. She wanted no part in losing this fish. I didn’t even realize she wasn’t there anymore as we got the fish in the net.

She also wanted no part in killing the fish, but her 6 year old sister wanted to be the “bonker” so long as she didn’t have to touch it. We took a couple pics and headed out for the day. I ended up having a great time and didn’t even care that I was helping all day. They were actually  A LOT better than I was expecting and I felt terrible for even complaining. Guilt wasn’t karma enough apparently.

Sunday:

I was finally getting the day of fishing without rookies. We headed back to the Nisqually with Curtis and Cameron and they were well seasoned. We pulled divers in the first hole and didn’t even get a bite so we moved to a bobber hole. They were hooking up quite a bite, and fish were rolling all over. Me however, I was left untouched as they released two natives and put 6 fish (one pink, one coho, and 4 kings) in the box. I was using the same bait as Jeff, trying to copy as much as I could and I was left empty handed. That bite died down and we moved to a new hole. Within 10 casts, they had 5 fish hooked. Me? Still biteless. I was getting pretty irritated at this point and they just thought it was hilarious. No one could figure out why I couldn’t get a stinking bite.

I went home empty handed with my pride shattered. That’s what I get for being so selfish about taking kids and rookies out.

Monday:

Again, we’re going out with some other well seasoned friends and there was no way I was getting a skunking like that again. We hit a different bobber hole and sure enough, same scenario! The three of them got quite a few bites and put 4 fish in the boat (one silver, three kings) while I STILL remained fishless.

I was so positive and optimistic Saturday. That didn’t work so Sunday I was discouraged and cursing the lucky fishermen who were getting bites. I put a little Captain in me and tried desperately to change my attitude. With my pride in my stomach, we headed up river for some new fishing.

First pass, fish on! I BROKE THE CURSE!!!!!! I’m trying desperately to land this fish as it screams down river past the boat. Why was I fishing 12lb leader and size 4 hooks again? As we raced to keep up with the fish, the line got caught on the kicker motor. The rod is folded over directly behind the boat. I may lose the fish and break a rod in the process. We get the line off the motor and thank goodness, THE FISH IS STILL ON!

We got the fish in the net! It was a dark king and it wasn’t huge, but I’ve never been happier to land a fish and my smile shows it all. High-5’s all around and I needed a celebratory drink. I was ready to go home now and put this weekend behind me. I’ve had dry spells where I may not catch a fish for a few trips. Hell, I think I’ve even gone a couple of months without catching a fish but most of the other people aren’t catching fish either. This was some serious bad karma that I deserved and I’ll think twice about being so selfish. Someone took many years to get me to where I’m at. Many tears shed, many clothes, many cold fingers and sleepy car rides. Jeff took the patience to teach me and I need to be as patient with others who are willing to learn. Humble weekend indeed, but I had a blast

This is the smile of sheer humble, pride swallowing, joy!