Taking a Break

I took another exam on 5/26 so I got to enjoy a nice weekend with a few extra days off and NO STUDYING! Sara Ichtertz and I have been trying to coordinate and plan a trip together for a few months and we finally were able to make it happen last weekend after the Bonneville Damn fish counts improved again. And a bonus, we got to see Kari on the water!!! <3

I don’t generally take more than 1 day off after an exam because I have so many more to move on to, but given the circumstances, I took 4 days off and enjoyed every single minute. We headed down to meet up with Sara Friday night and were on the water bright and early Saturday. Fishing was pretty slow (okay, really slow) and we went 1/2 but I still had an amazing day. It was really hot, Andrew grilled us his infamous Teryaki Chicken, and I spent the day getting to learn about an amazing woman who’s passion flows on paper fluently. She writes for NW Sportsman Magazine and has a blog, For the Love of the Tug”.

Drano Lake is my favorite place to fish partly because of the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, partly because I love springers, and partly because it’s one of the most difficult, temperamental fisheries I’ve experienced. A challenge is always good and is what I love about fishing. We’ve been going down there for years experiencing some amazing fishing, and some really bad fishing. It’s not a place that you just decide to head to and expect to do well. In fact, chances are, you’ll just watch the handful of boats that have experienced the challenges do really well and you’ll just pray all day that God sends you a sign as to what you’re doing wrong.

But………Once you figure out what you were doing wrong and learn how important it is to be prepared and ready to get innovative, it’s one of the most rewarding fisheries. Sara got to experience a little bit of both. With a really tough first day, she watched as we tried different methods, depths, scents, ways to rig, speed, & how our minds began to calculate. The next day, she watched as we entered the Toilet Bowl and got 3 in 4 passes, and a couple of times, couldn’t even get all of our rods fishing again before we’d get a bite. She watched again as things slowed down, we thought we were dying of heat, and stuck it out all day long!

We headed back out for one more day which we intended on leaving by 11 AM and we were blessed to get 2/3 that morning before we packed up for our last Drano trip of 2017 and headed home.


Sara somehow captured these emotions and moments on camera exactly how I see them in my head. I am beyond blessed to have been able to meet her and have the stars align on this trip. I really never can capture exactly what Drano feels like and all of my favorite moments where I just want to sit in silence and embrace my life in that moment, but she provided me with a way to relive that feeling and that is key to the success in my happiness. Working full time and studying for these exams is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and I’ve sacrificed a lot of fishing trips to sit in my office and study so it’s vital that I reflect on my happiest times.


I cannot thank her enough for coming all the way up from southern Oregon and leaving her life for 3 days to sit in a boat with 3 complete strangers. She is ambitious, driven, and I’ve definitely stored those qualities from her to apply in my life. She’s extremely talented and is doing wonderful things to our fishing industry and I’m fortunate to have gotten a chance to bond with such a radiating person.

There truly are too many feelings for me to put into this blog post and I’m back on my studying schedule, so I hope you find as much beauty in some of her pictures as I do <3

Power Pro Maxcuatro

Power Pro Maxcuatro

Power Pro’s new braided line Maxcuatro is exactly what it claims to be. I’ve always been a fan of Power Pro and really didn’t ever have any concerns. So at first, my thought was “if it isn’t broken, why fix it?”

And then I tested it out and can see now why they “fixed” an already phenomenal product. It truly is just as strong but thinner. It uses a 4 end construction (one line size smaller than regular Power Pro) to achieve this, but what does that mean to me?

* I can hold more line on my reels! This means I don’t have to buy it as frequently and I don’t have to re-spool or flip the line as often.

* I can get away with a stronger line without compromising my capacity.

* I can cast farther! Thinner line means it slides through my guides easier creating less resistance and more accurate casting.

Initially looking at it out of the package, I didn’t notice much difference. It felt like brand new braid; super smooth, a little bit waxy, and pliable. I’ve been using Maxcuatro on almost all of my reels since for the past 6 months and I wanted to wait until it got worn out before I reviewed the product. It’s still not worn out and I haven’t had to re-spool or flip the line on any of my reels!

I’ve mostly used it on my float rod and trolling/plug rods – although I usually only need to change those once every other year. The first fishery I went to is an area that involves casting really, really far – an area I’ve always struggled in. But this year, I made my mark more times than not (which is rare) and I didn’t lose any floats from being snagged up (also rare in this area). It’s lasted me all spring, summer, and fall and landed many big kings.

I’m quite anxious to start winter steelhead to see how it runs bobber doggin’, although I don’t have any doubts. It still feels just as smooth as 6 months ago so I anticipate that it will slide through the floats faster than regular Power Pro getting me into the slot faster. I usually only fish 30lb Power Pro for steelhead so by switching to 50lb I’m not getting the full advantage of having more line or a thinner line, but a smoother line and with the added advantage of more strength to keep from losing my gear and line off my spool.

Maxcuatro is available in Hi-Vis and Moss-Green in 50lb, 65lb, 80lb, & 100lb in 150 yard, 500 yard, 1500 yard & 3000 yard spools.

I’ll keep you all posted this winter as I try this out on winter steelhead!


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!!

The perfect combo

G Loomis         Shimano       Power Pro

                 What would make fishing a whole lot more perfect? Having a rod and reel combo for every technique and species would certainly make things a lot easier, no? That’s simply not realistic especially because we are all striving to learn new techniques and new fisheries so often. So we mix and match my rods and reels all the time to make do with what we have and I think that we finally came across a combo that won’t be changed. It is quite possibly the most universal set up that we use and it’s perfect for taking friends and family on the boat to use as a beginner’s rod.

GLOOMIS STR1162-2S 6-10lb 9’8”

To start with the rod, I have the G Loomis STR1162-2S 6-10lb 9”8”. The Steelhead Series is designed to have the necessary sensitivity to detect the light steelhead drift bite and this rod very much so, exceeds my expectations of sensitivity. This isn’t my first steelhead series rod; however it’s one that I use for salmon as well. Yes salmon, and king salmon at that. This is the float rod that we use as well as the side drifting rod for steelhead. The STR1162-2S is quite possibly the only rod that I can use for both techniques and species. Certainly the only rod that is rated 6-10lbs that has landed a 17lb fall Chinook on a barbless hook in a small river.


Power Pro braided line – 30lb HIGH VIS

The second component of this triple threat setup is the line. Power Pro braided line is without a doubt my favorite line to use. The trust and assurance that I have makes me more confident and less stressed when fishing. It is quite rare to break on the braid which means less lost gear and less tying and rigging up. When I’m using any sort of float, plug, diver, flasher, or canon ball for trolling and back-bouncing, I won’t fish it without Power Pro. I paired a 30lb high-vis Power Pro braided line with my 6-10 Steelhead Series G Loomis and got the power and the sensitivity that we dream of for steelhead.


Shimano Sustain 3000FG

The last component and the newest piece to our fishing collection is the Shimano Sustain FG 3000. All of our reels are Shimano and this is certainly the highest end spinning reel I own. Having fished the Symetre, Sahara, and Stradic CI4, I have had my fair share of experience with spinning reels. I will repeat in every review I ever write, the weight of a spinning reel is without a doubt the most important thing to me. Fishing spinners and jigs means a lot of action with your wrist and arm, float fishing means constant mending, drifting means holding your arm as still as possible thus not to disturb the gear on the other end and feel every tick. This reel was essentially weightless but doesn’t have the cheap “plastic” look or feel.

The new X-Ship feature in the Sustain made it possible for me to bring in a 14lb steelhead from the other side of the river without tripping up or skipping a beat. Not only did I feel every move of the fish, I felt like I was in control with more power but without the extra bulk and weight of most reels. The drag system and casting was flawless. Absolutely worth a little extra money if you want the option to be able to have your sensitivity and light weight, and still manage to land big, powerful fish.


Here’s how I most recently tested this genius combination

 Ignore the jealous face in the corner and check out that tail!!

I was float fishing for steelhead and felt the bite before I even saw it. Literally 2 minutes prior, our friend “predicted” that I would catch the first fish of the day. I was really just out to be out, but with the water so low and clear and not having any rain for a few weeks, I had very little expectations of catching any fish period, let alone one that hadn’t been sitting in the river for a few weeks.

“There’s a fish!” I felt the roar of his head shake twice followed by a flash on the surface and zzzzzzzzzzzzz. “From the way that’s fighting, it’s not hatchery”. So I tighten up my drag, let him run a little bit further before turning and cranking him closer to me. With another big run and two more jumps, I finally was able to win the battle. Believe me when I saw I was shocked, SHOCKED to see a clipped fin. This beast was 100% hatchery and 100% dead. Certainly no “trophy”, but one of the best fights I’ve had with a steelhead.

To say that I fought one of the hardest fighting steelhead I’ve fought on a 6-10lb rod and a light reel is pretty rewarding. If I had mono on, there’s no way I would have been able to stop that fish from a full run and turn it around. If I had a heavier rod, there’s no way I would have been able to absorb every jump without shaking the single 2/o hook.

This is definitely one of my favorite combo’s and we use it for both salmon and steelhead. What more can you ask for than to have a combination that you can use all year long and has the sensitivity and backbone tooboot! If you’re looking for a new set up or if you’re new to fishing and aren’t sure what to get, you won’t be disappointed with any or all of the components in my “triple threat”.