Springer fishing

Positive Attitude

What we anticipated for and what happened this weekend were 2 completely different things. The weather was going to be great, we were going to limit on springers by noon, and we were making new friends. While some of those things were true, it definitely wasn’t what we expected.

We were going with a friend that I met through Jury Duty back in November and a coworker that fished with us last springer season. We headed out bright and early Saturday morning only to see blue flashing lights behind us about 45 minutes into the drive. Turns out, the trailer lights must have shorted out because the super kind officer “ALMOST RAN RIGHT INTO THE BACK OF US!” After he threatened us with a couple of tickets, had quite a rude attitude, and intentionally tried to find as many things wrong as he could, he came back from his patrol car only to see that our trailer lights turned back on and let us kindly go with a warning about my tail light which is actually out.

We got to the river early, headed out, and saw 2 fish hooked right at first light. It was going to be a great day! Well, we didn’t see much more action, didn’t get a single bite, saw 2 fish lost to the sea lions, and fished until almost sunset. We got a bit sunburned, were running a bit late, missed the bit on tuna because we forgot the tuna at home, and were exhausted, but the guys had a lot of beer and we all had awesome attitudes despite getting skunked. As we’re on our merry way home, we here a “POP”. Strange! Nothing felt different or smelled or anything. Sure enough though, we blew a trailer tire!

I didn’t exactly have the appropriate equipment but we made due with what I had, improvised, and it took ideas from all 4 of us to get this tire changed. Still, positive attitudes and we were not letting this ruin our moods! We got to the park and ride only to find our new friend Ray had a dead battery! Full of laughter and disbelief, we quickly jumped the battery and all headed home.

Ahhhh, time for sleep since it was so late and were getting up just 7 short hours from now. Except we needed a bit more brine and guess who was out of salt! Well, it’s okay because we can get pizza while we’re out and have food for fishing the next day!

We started Sunday off great until we realized that we left the tuna at home again! That’s okay because we were just going to get them all trolling at first light like it was supposed to happen Saturday! Well, that didn’t happen either……….We saw even less fish caught today and DFW did a test gill net pull and even they came up empty. But then, a bite! We have a fish on!!!!! Ray did awesome landing it and we had it in the net! OMG!

It had an extra fin. It was wild. It couldn’t be retained. We defied the odds, beat our luck, only to find out we had to give it back to become sea lion bait.

But it was action right? We maintained a good attitude and prepared for another strike! That didn’t happen. Hours went by, the tide changed, we sat on anchor, and watched 1 boat right behind hook up. We had one strike on anchor that didn’t stick and finally called it quits around 5. We thankfully got home safely and without trouble and still had our positive attitude and left laughing.

It was great to get to fish with Brian again! He fishes the salt water quite often and has his own boat for that, but freshwater isn’t something he gets to do but a couple times a year. This was the first time we hung out with Ray outside of the horrible Jury Duty, and he was awesome. We talked business, politics, fishing, hunting, family, you name it! I had such a great time despite our horrible luck and despite not bringing home any delicious springer, we made great memories and new friends. Hopefully we’ll get one more shot at the URB springers next Saturday, but if not, we’ll head back to the good ‘ol Cowlitz to get our springers until we get to fish for URB’s at Drano in May!

Here’s to hoping our string of bad luck is over right now!

Updates!

Steelhead University has a brand new website! The new owner of Steelhead University, Terry Wiest, is very near and dear to Steelhead Girls’ heart. In fact, he’s the inventor of Steelhead Girls! I met Terry many years ago through, believe it or not, the Steelhead University Pautzke photo contest! We stayed in touch and met again at many fishing functions before I started blogging on Steelhead University. Terry reached out to me about a year after I was blogging and thought of the idea for Steelhead Girls, which I obviously LOVED! Steelhead University not only includes fishing updates and reports from some of the most well-known guides in Washington State, but many videos, articles, and product reviews. Go check out their new website and give their Facebook page a like!

http://steelheadu.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steelhead-University/651083741685788?fref=photo

Now, for fishing! I have actually been fishing quite a bit the past few weeks, but since we’ve moved into our new house, I haven’t had internet hooked up! But I’m up and running, moved in and settled down, and………I’m graduating school this week! I couldn’t be happier about getting my life back and having time again to write more articles!

The past few weeks, we’ve been heading to Barrier Damn on the Cowlitz and I actually really struggled out there on the island because it’s so deep hip-deep on me) and you’re casting really, really far. If you don’t make the cast, you almost aren’t even fishing where the fish are. So, with the low water this spring, it’s actually been to my benefit! I’ve been finally getting springers out there again!

We went crabbing this last weekend and let me tell you, what was supposed to be an easy day, ended up being pretty torturous. We thought we would just catch the 7 AM high slack tide and crab for just a few hours, maybe 3 sets. We did our first pull and had 2 dungees and 3 rock crab. Great! If every pull was like this, we’ll be limited in no time!

So…..We set when low tide started moving out and we had about 100 extra feet of line so we figured, no big deal if the tide is moving fast, we’ll have the extra line to keep the buoys afloat…..Wrong! We watched our buoys go under and thought, well, we’ll probably see them again in an hour. Since we planned on only being on the water for a few hours, we brought no food or water for the entire day.

4 hours later, we finally see on of our buoys. We have been sitting tied up to a post for hours baking in the sun with no food or water. It took another hour for the other 3 buoys to appear and we were ready to get the heck out of there! It was 3 PM and I envisioned myself eating crab soaked in butter after a 2 hour nap by this time. It was low slack and we could see that close to the launch, there was almost no water. Good thing we have a jet! Again, WRONG!

We beached ourselves…..I waded back to the launch, ruined by favorite white chucks, got lost trying to get gas and food, and finally made it back just in time for the tide to have come in enough to take the boat out of the water. Did I mention how many crab we got though? 2 dungees and 3 rock. We should have stopped at our first pull. We are burnt to a crisp and hiding inside today. At least we have a few crab to eat! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduation and hanging out at Hood Canal next weekend! Hopefully my sunburn heals by then!!!

First springer trip!!

We finally made the official first springer trip and were quite successful! We ventured down to the Columbia for the last scheduled weekend that it was open in hopes to bring home some quality dinner. We started out on anchor with sardine wrapped plugs while the tide moved out.

We saw a couple fish on first thing in the morning but didn’t get our first fish until about 11 AM. It was biting for a few seconds and the rod was loaded, but in our boat, you don’t touch it until the reel is peeling line. It wasn’t peeling line but man it sure looked like it was on there good so we picked it up and….NOTHING! We didn’t get anything else on plugs that morning, but when the tide came back in and slacked out, we decided to pick up and troll herring behind flashers. We go one within 15 seconds of the rods being out and it was my step dad’s rod! He did great fighting it and it was extremely exciting to see him land his first springer!

We ran back up and got hit again! This time it was my co-worker and it was his first time out with us. He had a hot little fish that took several runs and dipped and tucked under the boat weaving from one side to the other! He thankfully landed it and we were feeling great with 2 upper river brights in the box!

 

I was glad that the two people that don’t get out with us were the ones to get the fish, but I really wanted one. It’s just always so much pressure to get the first one and then it’s all fun for the rest of the season.

So the next day we headed back down to the Columbia for some Easter morning fishing! We didn’t have any plugs wrapped to start the day so after we got 4 rods out, I spent the morning wrapping 20 more plugs to switch out. I wasn’t thrilled about that because I knew that if I was looking down with my hands full, I wasn’t going to be the one to see a rod get hit which meant I wasn’t going to be the one to get a fish. I watched 3 rods get hit while I was busy keeping them baited up. We got one hatchery and 2 wild fish and I was obviously irritated.

Jeff thankfully announced that the next fish is mine since everyone else already had their turn. Again, at high slack tide we pulled anchor and began to troll. Again, I was dealing with the plugs and was cutting off all of those beautiful wraps because we wouldn’t be using them again for at least a week. Sure enough, a rod goes off and my hands are full! We unfortunately lost that one which only added to my discouragement because I know (I say that) if I was fighting that one, I wouldn’t have lost it. We ran back and made another pass and sure enough, the same rod goes off but this time, we announced it was my turn!

I was kind of happy to have gotten this one, although it was smaller than all the others we got this weekend, it was definitely the best fighting. Stripped me out 130 feet upriver all on the surface. It was pretty awesome to watch it run on top of the water like that, but even more nerve wracking. Once we finally landed it I was happy to finally have the first one of the season out of the way!

Next weekend is my birthday weekend and the Columbia is still set to close so maybe a little drift boat action or back to the good ‘ol Cowlitz!

I’ve come too far to quit now!!

On Friday, Jeff fished the Cowlitz while I worked and he went 3/4, one being a jack. So we headed back to the Cowlitz looking for a little springer love. I have yet to catch my first springer this year, while Jeff is on his 8th.

We stake our claim on our fishing spot and begin making cast after cast as the sun rose. The guys 100 feet below us start the morning off with multiple doubles and at least one fish on at all times. They are standing in some pretty heavy current and about waist deep. I watch at least one man fall on the slippery rocks every weekend and you’ll never catch me out there. No matter how many fish they catch. Anyhow, they guys across the other side of the river get a couple while we still have no biters in our area.

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