kwikfish

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.

Birthday fishing!!

We really haven’t been fishing much lately so all I wanted for my birthday was to fish all weekend and not have any homework so I wasn’t worried about getting off the water at a decent time. I took last Friday off work so I could finish all my homework for the weekend and we headed down to Kalama in search of our first springer for the year. With the reports last week, we were pretty confident the odds would be in our favor, especially since it was MY BIRTHDAY!

Jeff, Andrew and I headed down to meet our buddy Kiley and start the weekend celebration! We started out Saturday anchored up with plugs dancing away. We watched as a couple boats around us hook up and wait patiently. As the tide slacked out and our plugs lost energy, we picked up and trolled herring the rest of the afternoon. Again, we watched a couple boats hook up and patiently waited our turn.

Andrew and I celebrated a bit too much and dozed off while Jeff and Kiley kept an eye on the rods. We wake up quite startled when Kiley’s rod goes off. In a complete panic, we reel all the rods up and get the fish in the boat. FINALLY!!!!! It wasn’t my birthday fish, but it was the first springer of the year in the boat and a huge relief to know we weren’t complete bad luck or something. The wind and tide made it extremely difficult to fish so we packed up and headed out with our one fish. We continued my birthday celebration and Kiley graciously gave us half of his fish! YUM!!!! lunch tomorrow!

We hit the sack early and woke up refreshed and ready for another beautiful day on the river. Again, we anchored up with our dancing plugs and again, watched as a few select boats got tagged repeatedly. Jeff, being the genius that he is, figured out where we needed to be based on a few variables and we re-anchored and put the dancers out. After just 30 minutes, a plug gets hit. “DID YOU SEE THAT?” I could hardly think. I couldn’t decide if I was happy or mad because the rod wasn’t going off. I relaxed and went back to eating that delicious fish when that same rod goes off just 5 minutes later.

Jeff picks it up and hands it over to the birthday girl. I could hardly breath. I can’t lose this fish. This is my birthday fish and my first springer of the year. It gets within sight and I swear, I see the native fin. In fact, I see it twice! I actually am a little relieved because if I lose it, it doesn’t matter! I bring it up closer and it’s not native at all. My mind is playing tricks on me! Oh my gosh, get this thing in the net ASAP!

Thank goodness, the Kwikfish completely sewed it’s mouth shut and we get it in the boat. I’m smiling a little, but I’m not jumping for joy. My knees are shaking profusely and I can’t think. Andrew and Jeff are so excited and start taking care of the fish and get the other rods out as I just stand there. Speechless. I start crying. Balling. Tears running down my face; I can’t think of a time where I felt a bigger sense of relief. They think it’s hilarious and I try to wipe my tears so I can take a pic of that plug and get it back out there dancing around.

We finish out that tide cycle and go back to trolling hoping to get the last two fish. Again, we watch boats hook up patiently waiting our turn. We didn’t end up finding anything else, but we all split the fish that we did get and made a million memories this weekend. I couldn’t be more grateful for getting to spend it with 3 awesome people and getting my first springer of the year. :)