yakima bait

A Blessed Start To The New Year

 

It’s our tradition to fish January 1st, no matter what the water conditions are. We actually had great conditions for Friday and headed out with our friend Trenton who is still a little green to the fishing sport.

We ended up getting to be first boat down the river and in the very first hole, I hooked up. You’d swear I never fought a fish in my life. Jeff loosened all the drags the night before (because it’s bad for the reels to always have the drag tightened) and we forgot to tighten them back up. It was a big huge steelhead mess as I tried to find the right tension while fighting a fish that had free reign over my line. I ended up losing that but we got all the rest of the drags set appropriately :)

After the third hole, we found a pod a fish. It took a bit of work pulling the boat back upstream after each fish, but we managed to go 2/3 out of that hole.

The rest of the day had the same landing ratio, but we had a great time. Jeff likes to get the boat limited, even if he doesn’t want to bring home any fish so he was a little frustrated that we ended up going 4/10 when there was 3 of us and we should have had all 6 hatchery fish by 9 AM. Trenton and I had a fantastic time and got quite a few laughs in despite our “sometimes grumpy captain that let a few swear words slip.”

We were headed back to the river with our friend Andrew Saturday morning and we noticed that it was a bit foggy and icy when we left the house. The morning was full of ironies which we realized after the next thing happened…..

We were headed on I5 south near Nisqually when out of nowhere, we began sliding. Jeff was driving, Andrew was front passenger, and I was behind the driver seat. What seemed like the next 30 seconds was probably only 4 seconds. We slid across 4 lanes on the freeway, hit the guardrail, and flipped a few times eventually landing upside down in the far right lane. The boat thankfully detached sometime between hitting the guardrail and flipping and ended up in front of the truck about 50 feet.

After we stopped moving, we all gave our noises indicating we were okay and got ourselves out of the truck and off the freeway immediately. Thankfully, a few others stopped to call 911 for us and ensure that we were in relatively good condition. Jeff took an ambulance ride for some minor back discomfort and some X-Rays just to be cautious. The drift boat, rods, tackle, waders, etc were all recovered and in perfect condition to our knowledge. The truck on the other hand, isn’t going to seeing anymore boat launches.

I shared on Facebook around 11 AM and the support and concern was overwhelming. Literally, overwhelming and I ended up turning my phone off so that I could try to get some rest. We are all still doing fine other than some bruises and soreness. I’ve experienced a lot of support from our fishing community but this was by far the most. There were several people in the morning that made posts regarding the accident just sending prayers and wishes to the unknown victims. A few friends drove by and recognized our truck and stopped to check on us although we had already left the scene for the hospital. The amount of prayers we received reinforced my feeling of love and support from our amazing industry and circle of friends that share our passion. It just goes to show that fishing is so much more than a fish.

It wasn’t the way we wanted to start our New Year, but we are all feeling blessed beyond words. The Man Upstairs had his angels looking out for us and I’m a great believer that everything that happens to us, was supposed to happen. There is no doubt that we were meant to be in that accident and walk away essentially unscathed. Who knows if I’ll ever find a reason or understand why, but perhaps it’s just to keep us grateful for our lives.

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:

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  • 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.

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!

Chasing coho’s

A very frosty morning led to an absolutely beautiful day on the water. I was actually nervous to head out that morning because of how cold it was! It’s certainly no different than the weather we fish in all winter long, but this weekend was really the first weekend of our winter weather and I wasn’t quite ready for it.

We got to the icy launch and after a failed attempt of launching the boat, I gave up out of shear fear. Not only have we launched the sled in colder weather, we’ve launched in the snow and ice and this was no where near that weather. In fact, we’ve even had the truck start sliding while I was out of the car trying to hook up or take off the boat, but nothing that an extra push on the brake pedal didn’t fix. This morning as I slowly backed the truck down with Jeff ready to drive the boat off, I begun sliding even with the brake pedal engaged and the emergency brake on. As I picked up speed, I VERY QUICKLY panicked, put it in drive and floored it hoping the truck would get traction and get me the hell off that launch. Thankfully it did :)

After I gave up, we watched another truck do the same thing, but with a much smaller boat. They slid to the water where they finally got traction and launched their boat. As we tried again, some other anglers waiting to launch threw dirt on the launch. What a great idea! Everyone successfully and safely was able to launch. Thank goodness for some people who had their coffee that morning!

And lesson learned! There are many tactics that would have and did work in that situation, but panicking was not one of them! Keep calm and fish on!

 

So, after that experience, the rest of the day was perfect. We had plenty of opportunity to land fish and catch our limit. While we had a land ratio of 6:14, we were all very happy with what we put in the box and the fun we had. Clarissa knocked out two firsts and actually had a 100% land ratio! She got her first plug fish AND her first spinner fish! She’s fished bait almost exclusively but she’ll be a hardware junkie in no time :)

We laughed endlessly, sang countless 90′s songs, and I’m sure annoyed the boys to no end but it was truly a girlfriend day on the river.

Sunday was a low-key fun day full of sleeping in, chum fishing, and getting home early to finish my homework. Now, I’m ready for the holidays and ready to start my Christmas shopping!!!!

~Bry