Rod: Okuma Celilo 9' 6"
Reel: Shimano Stradic 2500
When the breeze is light and you find the sun's tantalizing rays beating upon your granite rock porch -not to mention having your backyard be one of the most highly esteemed fishing holes on a river that has long captured your heart- it's time to go fishing. Long have been the days of shirtless rock hopping, wader free angling without a cloud in sight, nor thought in mind. This particular morning, I had the privilege of casting a line with my close friend and angling partner, Brad; though work sat thick upon his desk, and there were bodies in the gym that needed training, we both decided to clear out our calendars and make a day of it. So off we went, fishing equipment, a handful of jigs and GoPro in hand, eagerly seeking the adventures that the Skykomish had to offer.
It was more of a long, appropriately drawn out conversation rather than a fishing expedition of any sort, and one of the most enjoyable trips I've experienced for quite a while. Since I didn't have the chance to eat yet, I decided to bring Brad a little ways up the river in order to hit two birds with one stone, fasted cardiovascular work and the opportunity to cast a productive, low water fishing hole. I know that we're supposed to reach the target location prior to allowing out reels sing their morning chorus, but like so many times before, there were a few pockets that we couldn't resist the urge to let our floats dance through. What should have taken us minutia to walk turned into an adventure in itself! Brad, you surprised me with your innate ability to ruck through those boulders at such brazen speed in those fancy sandals.
Upon reaching our destination and armed for battle with our Drennan Pikers and Aerojigs (Nightmare & Black/Cerise), we slithered around a few more stones to prepare for our first few casts, little did we know we what was to come. I haphazardly tossed out my offering, averted my gaze and began sharing a few more words with Brad. To my surprise upon looking back, my float was nowhere to be found. After a sharp hook-set and the click of the GoPro, it was "fish on!"
She shook her head like a Martini being prepared for James Bond. The flash of chrome from her side rekindled the Steelhead flame that burned deeply among the two of us. After thrashing for a good 30 second run, she sprinted straight to the inside seam of a boulder, in attempt to sever the 6 pound fluorocarbon leader that connected us. Seeing that the immediate run to shore was to no avail, she worked her way back and forth, weaving through the miniature boulder field that lined the lower portion of the run. At one point, I found myself pinned, line weaved neatly through some invisible crevice below the surface, but thankfully she gave in and managed to untangle herself. When push came to shove between continuing to fight thigh deep in glacial fed waters, barefoot in basketball shorts, and landing this fish, I chose the latter, and not a moment too soon as my legs were about to tap out. An honor and a privilege, today I christened my personal catch card with it's first mark, with my close friend and brother, Brad.
We Steelheaders are a different breed. While some of us live for the exhilaration of a Steelhead tugging on the end of the line, rod guides iced up and the chill of winter brushing our faces, others of our kind live for a sunny day, warm breeze and a blue sky backdrop peppered with rocky mountaintops. Fly or gear, swing, drift or float, we all pursue the prize alike.
With the Coho, Chum and Winter Steelhead preparing for their final run back home, we have some magnificent fisheries to look forward to in our near future. The rains will commence, the river will rise and the battalions of fish will swim up in their timely manner; nature is always on time. Have you any questions, you have my hooks, knots and rods at your service; I look forward to seeing you out on the river.