Reel: Pflueger Trion 30
Rod: Okuma Celilo 9' 6"
This report is for you, Father & Son angling duos. With a Father's day on the horizon, last Saturday evening I received a text from a very close friend from the past; thank you, Blake, for entrusting me the task of seeing you and your father land your first two Steelhead.
It was a very relaxed start, no rushing around involved, and with an extra hand this morning (Guide Trainee: Emag). Though Blake's father, Mike, hadn't wet a line for 20 years, he started with flying colors with his casting, mending and later on, dynamite hook set. I'd just finished setting up all of the float fishing rods and Mike was on his second cast out, float happily walking on through the slack water when out of the corner of my eye I saw it stop, and later take a quick plunge. Thankfully, Mike didn't set the hook and sting the fish. After setting him off with some fresh bait, I turned my back to grab my rod and all I heard was a "whoosh" followed by a dancing rod tip. Did Mike just hook his first Steelhead? Sure enough after 2 long, halibut like runs and a few strong headshakes, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that Mike was about to land his first Native. This season, shrimp has been taking the cake for attracting Native Steelhead Bucks. A few minutes later, the Sky produced an early (05;35) Native Steelhead Buck. The outstanding shots were provided by Guide Trainee Emag, so if every you need a photographer to tag along for one of your trips, one who is trained and formidable with spoons for Summer Steelhead, this is your guy.
We decided is was about time to trek downriver, so off we went on the long morning walk, to rediscover one of my favorite spots on the Sky. Since a few anglers were pounding the lower slots, I decided to take the head of the pool, and armed our rods with shrimp, spoons and one rods with the pink worm. Sure enough, after a third cast on the seam, a hefty, fresh Steelhead responded to our invitation. This time, it was Blake's turn; unfortunately his adrenaline was pumping so hard that he accidentally reeled backwards, removed the reeling handle from the body, and wrapped the rod tip with braided line. I never say this, but thankfully this Steelhead broke off the leader in boulder field by the shore, and not at the rod tip. Forward, the light brigade!
Since the conditions were picture perfect, we decided to stay in our spot for the remainder of the outing. The sun was creeping above the hilltop, the eagles were screeching their siren songs and just in the nick of time, the Steelhead were biting. The ticket to Blake's first Steelhead was some drifted sand shrimp. No frills, just find the seam, hit the seam, hear your friend scream. 8 minutes of tumbling, head-shaking, holding behind boulders and sawing my leader against jagged rocks, I tailed the Chrome Ghost.
The season past I remember ground and pounding Halibut on the deck of the TomCat on the seas of Alaska, longing to see the flash of a Summer Steelhead; I never thought that this season I would have the privilege of helping a Father and Son achieve their river goals on such a sacred day.
When life flashes before my eyes, I hope to see this slide one more time. We can make these types of memories together, or I can show you how to make many more of your own, just like these. Never stop casting, my friends.