Stallion

Time: 05:00
River: Skykomish
Reel: Pflueger Trion 30
Rod: Okuma Celilo 9' 6"

There's nothing quite like armoring up for battle every morning as a Bank Guide; each time I slide into my Simms G3 Guide Waders, I feel like Tom Cruise in "Edge of Tomorrow," minus the "Groundhog Day" aspects, and respawn points. This most breath taking July morning, I had the privilege of having Rauscher and Guide Trainee Seitz along for the outing, Rauscher being a most courageous, admirable fellow indeed. When it comes to nailing shoes on horses, professionally sticking to the pavement on two wheels while flying 120 miles per hour around corners and coining the title of "Grandpa," this man has earned it all. What and honor it was sharing this morning with such an outstanding individual.

After cruising down the trail, spirits as high as the sun in the sky (it was an early sunrise) and rods equipped for action, we worked the main stretch, buckets and pocket water for the first hour. We floated shrimp, tipped jigs, egg, tails, pink worm and came back empty handed. I'm sure you guys can agree that more than half of the time you get "fish on" during a hearty conversation, or when you forget about what you're doing and avert your gaze from the task at hand, somewhere into space and time. Thankfully this morning we had plenty of the former, so something was bound to happen!

Hooks replaced, leaders swapped out and freshly baited, we sprinted on down towards our final few holes, like vampires running from daylight (if you're a chick, indulging this post, I highly encourage you to take your Twilight Saga Novel(s) and every so gently place them into the fireplace). Rauscher on the float, Seitz on shrimp, and myself on the drift, we aggressively covered every square inch of the head of the pool. My Asian Rock Ninja senses were off kilter this morning, and I ended up feeding 3 pieces of shrimp to a Steelhead sitting on the seam. I guess someone is appointed everyday to feed these Chrome Ghosts, so they have energy to fight whoever hooks them upstream! You're welcome guys, Reel Priorities Fish Feeding Company opens shop this July.

With Seitz diligently working down river, Rauscher gave me the head nod to grab his cooler. Now this was no ordinary head nod; it was sandwich time. Now this man has seen his fair share of this world, loves a day of hard work from the sweat on his brow and is well versed in the fires of enjoying a day off; he was impressed that his cooler was carried, never needed to touch a line and was attended to, Reel Priorities style. When you come and work the water with me, I'm not joking when I say "your success is my focus and your wellbeing is my objective." Your job is to work the water, eat your sandwich, drink your beer(s) and enjoy the ride (note: I will walk your legs off to put you on every fish possible).

We marched into the lower hole, and after losing track of Seitz, Rauscher and I looked up; to our amazement, we saw a bent rod parallel to the water (nice touch, Seitz) and heard the sound of a screaming reel. There could only be one answer to this: Steelhead! We raced out there and on went Rauscher to the rod and reel. This Steelie liked to hug the bank, twist near the surface (not quite acrobatic) and fought like I would imagine Rauscher raced on the track. She took a single long run along the shoreline, darted to and fro, but was no match for the professional angling skills of Rauscher, the persistence of Seitz and my iron, Ivanko tested grip.

If you're interested in procuring the skills to properly play a Steelhead, we can do that. If you want to walk the Skykomish, become adept with reading water and subsequently improving your Steelhead hook to land ratio, I've got you covered. If you simply want a day off to eat your sandwich, tout your angling skills, enjoy the entertainment of a guide half drowning to tail your fish while holding a GoPro in his mouth, screaming at you to hold your rod tip up, this too comes with the package.

The water lowers, the bones of the river will begin to show, and the Steelhead beckon to come home with you to the warmth of your oven; I dare you to take the challenge and enjoy the experience with Reel Priorities. Heck, if you want to become a Washington Lakes Celebrity and bask in the praise of your fellow anglers when you visit Outdoor Emporium, I've got your 6 (think about a clock, and where 6 is located if you're facing the 12). The thought train has now arrived.