Reel: Pflueger Trion 30
Rod: Okuma Celilo 9' 6"
Guiding and angling, two subjects which are not synonymous; Sunday was the first day I've been able to wet a line, moreover, enjoy the art of angling on a personal note. Since the season began, it's been morning after morning of splicing, tying (love it), rigging, landing, instructing, encouraging and punching fish. After a while, seeing such a myriad of Chrome day in and day out simply becomes autonomous. If I fished to fish, I would have quit a long time ago, but thankfully I've reinvented and simply enjoy serving people, watching them grow and rediscover whatever they want to find out on the water. Though I love serving people, it is refreshing to rekindle my personal passion for the art of angling.
The sun was shining, the Highway 2 traffic was inching along, and I was happily bumbling along down to the fishing hole. Funny that my one day of rest should actually fall on a Sunday. DMC float, double bobber stopped and properly weighted with hematite rounds, it was time to select my offerings of choice. The siren song of "this is my rod, there are many like it, but this one is mine" chorused through my head as I wondered what the Chrome Ghosts would be in the market for this surreal afternoon.
Dissatisfied with the idea of floating, I clipped off my setup and spliced on some light drift gear. After rigging up a shrimp tail the diameter of a hot dog, and the length of a .223 round (Jungle's shop in Startup stocks a very worthy supply of Sand Shrimp) I took a swing though the first seam; to my surprise, a breath taking Resident Rainbow took my offering, around 15". After a quick release (these Rainbows make their lake dwelling cousins look like desk jockeys next to a string of Muay Thai fighters) I decided it was time to work the top water column.
Some days, you walk up to a hole and walk out with a fish. Other days, you throw your soul into the river, and walk out with humility; this afternoon felt like the latter. After tossing out my fourth jig pattern to no avail, I started to become discouraged. Finally, I reached down into my box and tied on my least favorite pattern. Laced with the scent of Sand Shrimp long gone, I sent it through the hole. Now when it comes to float fishing, it is rare for me to actually see my float sink; I end up getting so bored that I stare at the Eagle screeching overhead and then wonder "wait, was I floating or drifting this pool?" Today, I watched my float quietly slip underneath the surface, watched the hook set and the subsequent chrome "flash" of a Hatchery Steelhead.
She ripped, she jumped, she roared. Not sure if Steelhead actually "roar," but it sounded cool. This fight was interesting as no long run was taken, more of the sporadic quick 10' sprints followed by the classic series of head-shakes. This hen fought valiantly in a half moon circle, making a quick ditch effort to the shore, running behind me into the boulders, through my legs (thank you flexibility and cardiovascular work) and threatened to saw my line off in the boulder field, always an excellent choice. After leading her our into the main current and more open water, I lightened my drag, threw a few "shocks" down the line and prepared for her final run.
Sure enough, she ran lighting fast for the rapids about 15 yards away, but didn't have enough strength for the trek. So off I hopped from my boulder, posted the butt of my rod tip into my right hip, made the swing (you get one shot) and water landed this striking, 6 pound Hatchery Steelhead Hen.
There's nothing quite like the sound of Pflueger Trion singing as line shoots off of the spool, a well bent ultra-light rod, sun shining overhead and an aggressive Steelhead on the other end of the line, especially on your day off. No training weight lifters, holding Muay Thai Pads, nor training anglers.
Ode to you, weekend warriors. The low and clear comes, and I dare you to come prepared to land more Steelhead this summer season than you ever have before. I dare you to procure rock solid angling confidence, so you can enjoy your days off on the water like I do, Reel Priorities style. Whatever it is you seek to find on the river, I will help you find it; never stop casting, and hit those seams hard, fellow anglers.