Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Steelhead weekend #4

Friday night:
dropped Jen off at hotel, and then met up with Ben and Amy at Kro-bar for drinks.  We met drunk banjo "bubba" guy (think of Jeff Dunham's bubba puppet and you are getting very close, only not as good looking) who kept talking with us.  At first I thought he was a day early with the Halloween show.  It turns out that it was not a show.  He was drawn to my Psycho-ward sweatshirt and thought it was really funny.  At least that is what I could make out of his really slurred "bubba" accent.  He told us that he was going to stay home Saturday night to avoid the freaks...ironic.


We met for breakfast at the Twin Gables, Jenny and myself, Ben and Amy, and Peter.  We formed a loose plan and started our day.  Once again, the parking lot of choice only had one vehicle.  The River was ours for the taking.  Jen and I headed up to a specific spot on a hole suggested by Mike,  but once we got there, we backtracked to "my bush" as I just had better feeling about starting there.

I am glad I did!  On my first cast of the day, I caught a 29" steelhead out of the middle of the bend.  It seemed like it took forever to land, and I was enjoying every second of the fight.  Ben netted it for me, as Jen didn't have a net, and mine was too small for this guy.  We took several pictures and measurements, and after a hard decision, I chose to return it to river.   

We figured we let the area rest for a half hour, and after I finished my cigar, Jen and Ben chose their spots, and I moved up to the lead in to the pool.  It was all of 15 minutes and I had a second steelhead on!  I remember yelling to Ben that I was sorry, and pleaded for his help to catch this one too.  The first steelhead pretty much stayed in the water, but not this one.  The second one jumped out of the river 4 or 5 times and fight took just as long as the first.  I couldn't be happier.  It was mid October of 2007, when I landed my first and also last steelhead before today.  The day went by quickly as we continued to fish  and even moved to another angler parking lot for the last two hours of the day.

We ditched the trout pants and put on some comfortable clothes and headed to the Italian place for pizza, and beer, where I bumped into "Big Dog" and my buddy Struif.  So I shared my personal victory with them and Struif was very supportive, as he is fully aware as well of my frustrations with this steelhead game.

From there we ventured over to the Kro-bar to see the Halloween costumes, where we found Big Dog and Struif again, along with Tony, Louise, Jay and Rick.  Lots of stories and good conversations were had while watching the ghouls and goblins that floated around the bar.  Later in the night, the bartender appointed our group as the costume judges, she bribed us with a free round of drinks for our services.  Sounds good to me, we were kind of rating them already.  I have to say though, this was the quietest and rather disappointing from prior years.  Maybe next years run will be better.  ;) 

We may have gone out for breakfast an hour early...oops, daylight savings time happened and my watch wasn't corrected for it when I crashed the night before.  Jen and myself, Ben and Amy, Peter, and Mother Feiker met up for breakfast and headed to the river.  When I caught steelie number three with in a half-hour.  Can it get any better for me this weekend?  I was delighted, but a new challenge was presented quickly.  Ben was up river at another hole, and Jen didn't have a net, and she has not ever netted a fish before.  While I fought this runner of a steelie, Jen was working at removing my net from y back so that she could land it.  It was a very silver 24" steelhead that made several long runs.  On all three of the fish I caught this weekend, they all brought me within feet of going into my backing.  Jen was getting nervous when she failed to come close to netting it a couple of times and suggested that she take the rod and I land my fish.  But, since this was number three of the weeekend, so I denied her suggestion.  I told her this would be good for her to do, and was thinking to myself "please don't screw up, please don't screw up, please don't screw up" while giving her words of encouragement.

Jen did land the fish, and in the process, ended up more wet then the fish!  To put it in her words, "she got the sucker, god bless it!"  It was deep and heavy and everything a healthy steelhead should be.  Peter happened to walk by just before the release, so I was able to "Flash" him with my steelie before returning her back to the river for another day.

We only fished for another hour or so as we wanted to get back to see the Packer v Vikings game.  I did catch a little smolt about the size of the cigar I was smoking, which made me chuckle at that realization.

And that is my story of the end of my long dry spell of not catching steelhead.  I like catching them a whole lot more than fishing for them and not catching them.  I hope I don't have to wait as long for my next one, especially now that we made it look so easy in front of Jen.

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