kwikfish

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!

Good People

 

We started off our Saturday getting stuck at the boat launch (which is just a gravel bar) because my 4 Wheel Drive went out in my truck. With prideful heads, we tried every attempt we could think of and just continued to dig ourselves deeper. We tried reverse, using boards to drive on, pushing and even jacking it up and putting a MATTRESS under it to hopefully gain traction (that was a bad fail and we ended up sling-shotting a mattress from under our wheels). We finally swallowed our pride and decided to ask a couple others that were launching if they could pull us out.

After asking a couple people with “trucks too small” and “transmission problems”, we came across the kindest group of anglers ever! James Mitchell and his friends assured me that they would get me out. No questions asked, no hesitation, they forgot about the rush at the launch, the others that may be before them and came right over to help out some fellow anglers. They got us out easily with one try and I felt so blessed and grateful that I had to fight back my tears of joy. I know how anxious we can get at the launch at daylight and how hard it is to stop what you’re doing and help someone else but they did it without question.

My expectations of the day were different now and I didn’t care if I even landed a fish. I had just encountered a rare form of generosity that was greatly needed and I was able to fish instead of sitting and waiting for a tow truck that I couldn’t afford. The fishing and weather were terrible, but our boat was all smiles and laughs. There were some positive vibes with us and as we neared the end of our drift with no fish in the boat and soaked to the bone, we decided to pull plugs in the last hole.

within a few minutes, we were hooked up! Back to it, hooked up again! One more try and one more king to get our limit on kings! It was clear which side was getting hit so I swapped seats with Jake and when we were just getting ready to call it quits, BAM! Taking me out 130ft TWICE, we limited on kings just as we got to the takeout.

With all the rain, we were forced to take out the sled on Sunday and hit a different coastal river and weren’t quite as lucky. The weather was awesome, company just as good, but no fish. We fished near some awesome high school boys that were doing exactly what teenage boys should be doing and having a blast. It was refreshing to see good ‘ol fashion kids playing and fishing outside and hey! We made it both in and out of the boat launch today!

PS, there has quite a bit of controversy over whether or not my fish was photoshopped and I’ll clear the air right here. NO! I WOULD NEVER CROP A FISH IN MY PICTURE! I have more integrity than that and would never lie to impress or gain attention. I was initially confused and slightly offended by the accusations but there has been an outpouring of support from so many fellow anglers and supportive people in our industry. I can’t be anything other than grateful after a weekend like this. There has been so much support and help from anglers in our community and I’m proud to be part of it.

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!

Wrapping plugs

We never fish a ‘naked’ plug for salmon, ever. Sure, salmon will hit a naked plug, but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a naked plug outifsh a wrapped plug. Here’s a few tips and pointers when wrapping plugs and fishing wrapped plugs for salmon:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO!

  • You can use just plain sardine, but fillet the fish when it’s halfway frozen. Completely frozen is really difficult and completely thawed is too mushy. Either cure in Borax-O-Fire or just use plain borax. Let it sit for at least 24 hours if possible. We’ve had the best sardine in plain borax that sat for 48 hours, in the refrigerator.
  • Cut the piece a little bigger than what you want on the plug, you can always trim it down and you’ll lose some chunks in the wrapping processing.
  • Put the sardine half with the slit towards the bill of the plug. That’s the harder half to wrap and it’s easier if you get that half wrapped first.
  • If you don’t already have your hooks on the plug, wrap it without hooks. It’s a hundred times easier
  • If you do have hooks, always start the wrap on the bill half of the plug. It’s much easier to hold the hooks out of the way.
  • Keep your sardine piece on the center of the plug and the edges clean and blunt
  • Wrap tight so the sardine doesn’t slide around. And cross your wraps so they go at different angles. Try to really wrap over large pieces that look like they might fall off.
  • Wear tight gloves. It’s nearly impossible to wrap plugs with gloves that are falling off you
  • At least 3 half hitches when tying it off. I just cut my line with about a foot left and do half hitches until I run out of line
  • Scent it up! You can apply scent right before you send the plug out, let it soak if you have time to wrap them the night before fishing, use Smelly Jelly to smear on the bill/butt, use an injector to get scent in the sardine piece, when possible, use scent. Your plugs are usually in the water for long periods of time without being checked and if your wrap stays good, you can use it several times. Just resent and resend it out!
  • Tune your plugs after you wrap them. Your plugs don’t come ready to fish right out of the package and you should always tune your plugs no matter what, but your sardine may be slightly skewed  so you want to tune it after you wrap it.
  • Save your sardine pieces for other methods! If you have fairly large chunks leftover from cutting the fillets and you’ll be out fishing again soon, you can use those pieces to pair with eggs for float fishing or drift fishing. You can add them to tuna balls, or make a paste! We don’t usually keep sardine for more than a week if it’s in borax and 2 weeks if it’s cured. It starts to get mushy again and difficult to use on a hook or plug.