shortbus flashers

Jeff’s Birthday Trip

Every year we make the 3 hour drive down to Drano Lake for Jeff’s birthday with his parents, best friend Herb, and his uncle Wes makes it down for at least 1 day. We’ve been doing this for several years and every year we get better and better. I’d be lying if I told everyone that Drano is like shooting fish in a barrel. Sure, if you have your stuff dialed in and it’s your lucky day, it can be. But that doesn’t come to just anyone and it requires a lot of work and if there’s ever a place where the tiny little details come into play, it’s Drano Lake.

Aside from the memories we create with Jeff’s family and all the friends we’ve made down there, Drano is my favorite fishery because of the people. There are so many friends that we’ve made and without the little tips that the locals and guides have thrown our way over the years, we wouldn’t have the opportunity at fish like we do.

Every year we go down there, something has changed. The fish want herring, then they want prawns spinning, then they want super baits but only under a rotator flasher, then they want coon shrimp, then they want a Leo flasher, it’s never fully dialed in. This year, we spent the first half of the day watching the few boats basically create blood baths while we struggled to get a bite. After half the day, we figured out a few things going on, made the changes, and put 3 fish in the boat. The one thing we didn’t have was those darn Leo flashers that everyone seemed to be using.

While we were cleaning our fish and boat at the end of the day, we shared the bank space with Bill Harris from Legendary Chrome Guide Service, David Loper with Takedown Guide Service, and Jacob Munden with Rising Son Adventures. We shared a few laughs as Jeff and I tried to pick their brains a bit. We got a few more tips and tricks and shared what worked, what didn’t, and how frustrating it is that things change so often. Jeff’s mom was playing the role of Mamma Dukes trying to scrounge up a Leo flasher for us. Bill Harris came to the rescue and gave us one of his even though no one in the area sells them and are darn near impossible to get last minute.

See why I love this place? In fact, one of our favorite guys down there, Steve Rich (aka pink hands), was the first person to conversate with us many, many years ago in a parking lot. He was just trying to throw a bone to a discouraged couple with parents trying to keep the mood light. We spent the rest of the weekend sharing jokes and laughs and the rest is history.

Although this is Jeff’s birthday, he knows that it’s a grind and quite expensive to go down there but it’s a place that will always challenge him and there’s not many other places we can limit the boat on upper river springers. He decided to get us all birthday presents! Now, Jeff doesn’t really do presents very well, but when he tries, he blows our socks off. We each got our own wrapped present even with our names on it and a personalized gift to go along with the main gift: A Drano Lake hoodie with our job role on the front:

Jeff: “Captain Ahab” – because he truly doesn’t know when to quit. Even when tears are shed. And don’t you dare undermine his authority!

Me: “The First Mate” with my favorite – a bottle of Crown Royal

His dad: “Captain Gordon” with a sailor hat – because after you put a few Budweiser’s in his dad, the captain takes over and he puts us on fish

His mom: “Mamma Dukes” with her favorite Guiness – because she was the neighborhood mom taking care of all the kids

Herb: “The Deckhand” with a bottle of Kraken – because we’ve made too many memories with that bottle and he quickly jumped on board our boat, learned the ropes, and is always making sure we’re fishing effectively and efficiently!

His uncle: “Bar Keep” with a bottle of Fireball which has many stories underneath it – because his role is to sit on the cooler at the front of the boat and ensure everyone is well hydrated

Steve: “The Pink Hand Joker” – because well, his hands are pink from April to August and he has enough jokes to keep you laughing all weekend.

The second day was a good one for us. A little rough in the morning, but it was slow for everyone. We kept adjusting things and trying to figure out what it was going to take to turn these fish on and around 11 AM, we finally started lighting into them. Captain Gordon put 9 fish in the boat that day, including a double! Herb was fighting his first fish of the trip and Jeff thought the other rod was snagged onto it so he basically just opened the bail and let Herb do his thing. After a couple of minutes, we realized the lines were nowhere near each other and Jeff reeled down to find his own fish on his rod. A DOUBLE! I netted Herb’s, he jumped on the motor, and we netted Jeff’s within 2 minutes. See what I mean when Captain Gordon gets on the motor?!

While we were getting ready to wrap up after a serious of tangles, ripped off leaders, and complete chaos, I see the rod next to me getting bit and I quietly put down my bird’s nest and moved a little bit closer. I’m pretty notorious for snatching fish from people, especially springers, but I’ve been good this year! I’ve even handed the rod over or walked right past a reel taking line because others haven’t had as many opportunities as me. But something in my gut told me this was mine and no one else on the boat was the wiser. I’m starring at the reel, not the rod, waiting for line to start peeling and Jeff notices me. He shouts to grab it but we’ve been here before and I told him that it wasn’t ready. He gives the motor a shot and I pick up the rod, fully loaded, ready for my fight. Out of no where, he tries to grab the rod right out of my hands like this ones his. He already caught his 2 that day and it was literally already in my hands. I wasn’t going down without a fight though. While the rod was being tugged and pulled by each of us before the first crank had been reeled, I tucked the butt of the rod under my arm and put my hands on the handle for leverage to bring the rod back down to my level. MINE! Sweet victory! I won!!! After a long battle, and a few net attempts with a 12′ rod and a 5’2″ little girl, we finally got this big boy safely in the net.

The last day was just Jeff, Herb, and I which was nice because it was a lot slower. We had to make our 3 hour drive home and work early Tuesday morning so we didn’t get to fish into the afternoon bite, but we left going 3/5 at 4 PM.

 

At the end of 3 days, we came home with 15 fish and a lifetime of memories. We learned a thing or two about a new flasher, we were reminded how important scents can be, and that even the tiniest detail like where you put the bait loop on the shrimp makes the difference between a bait that is fishing and a bait that is simply keeping the hooks warm. Drano 2017 is one for the books and I can’t wait for next year!

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!!

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!!

Jeff’s birthday at Drano

Jeff’s birthday weekend was another success! Despite the damn counts, it really wasn’t that great of fishing, but we managed a few ;)

We took a three day weekend this time and let me tell you, Friday way a SLOW start for us! From the top:

Thursday morning before work, Jeff walked out to see gas pouring out of the vent in the back. It was hot and tank was full, okay open the lid and vent it out. Didn’t tell anyone else not to walk around there or wash it off because gas was all over the trailer and strap.

We stayed up late Thursday wrapping plugs in the hotel room and put them in a bait cooler and in the boat that night. Jeff walked out in the morning and saw a cat in the bed of his truck. He shoo’d it away and turned around to see the cooler open and plugs destroyed around the boat. Two thoughts entered our heads: why don’t we have my cute new pink BB gun and how did that stupid cat manage not to get any of those hooks stuck to its stupid face?

We cleaned the top ones and fished the ones that were still at the bottom of the cooler and looked and smelled okay. We watched a few boats hook up around us in the main lake and cooked up some breakfast (mimosa’s, fruit, & egg mcmuffins – yumm!).

We headed to the toilet bowl a little confused as to why we had half the people in the boat, but two fish each day by this time the weekend before and there were so many fish headed upriver. We made some friends and swapped some beers and by 10 AM, we were throwing fruit at David Perez in exchange for more beer and fruit. We somehow ended up with a rotten banana that we watched get swapped with several other boats. We politely threw back a strawberry and chucked the banana in the garbage.

We watched boats hook up right in front and behind us pass after pass. Around noon, we’re still fishless and we’ve seen at least 20 fish hooked. Something isn’t right. We headed out and cleaned everything. I mean everything! Thank goodness for Lemon Joy! An entire bottle, gone and everything was clean. We started over with new bait, new plugs, no garbage (by garbage I mean banana – thanks David!), nothing that could be bad juju.

We headed back into the toilet bowl and fish on! No way! Thank goodness Jeff was smart enough to try the only thing that made sense. Clean everything! We went around again, fish on! Hot damn! Thank goodness!!!! We went 3 for 6 that afternoon and kicked ourselves for missing the entire morning bite but was so proud of Jeff for figuring out that bad juju.

 

The rest of the weekend was great! Not really any morning bites and it progressively got slower and slower as the days passed and the strange thing is, no plug bites! Last weekend, almost all of our fish in the morning were on plugs and we couldn’t buy a plug bite this weekend. Damn cat…..


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff’s birthday was a success with some of his favorite people around. We ate good (ask the other boats that were there), we drank good (ask them that too), and we caught fish! One for the memory books!

Not sure where all the fish are and neither is anyone else, but hopefully next weekend picks up!