FISH WHEN YOU CAN
“If you have the opportunity to fish, then do it, even if the conditions aren’t exactly right. If the fishing isn’t going as hot and heavy as you would like, then maybe you can make your trip a learning experience.
I could sense the skepticism in his voice through my cellphone. “Don’t you think it’s been too hot for summer steelhead, Tony?” said one of my longtime fishing partners, who will remain nameless. But you know who you are!
“Yeah, I know dude.” I said without trying to sound desperate, “It’ll probably be a waste of time, but I’m just looking to get out. The commodity markets have been out of control for the last two weeks. When I go to sleep, I toss and turn all night dreaming about trading—I need a break!”
I don’t think my “buddy” was listen-ing to what I had to say, because without hesitation he said, “Hasn’t rained in over two weeks. It’ll be good after a rain. We’ll go then.” Then the conversation abruptly ended. Thanks a lot friend.
Without letting rejection get the better of me, I searched for my next victim. I called my other “go to guy,” Ricky Dunnett. The phone didn’t finish the second ring when I heard Ricky’s voice say, “I’m in.”
“How did you know?” I shot back. “I know you.”
“It might suck.”
What if it doesn’t?”
“Good point. See you at six?”
“My brother Randy might go.”
“Make it five thirty.”
It was about an hour after sunrise when the three of us arrived at the usually crowded parking lot, and we discovered that we would be the only fishermen on the river that morning. Randy, who doesn’t fish that much, surveyed the empty lot and said, “This can’t be good.” I tried to hide my concern, although from my experience I have found that empty parking lots usually indicate a lack of fish. The river was definitely low, but not as bad as I thought it would be. I had my mind made up that I was going to enjoy the day no matter if the fishing was good or bad. We floated about a half of a mile downstream until we reached the first deep hole below the put-in. I was the only one with a rod rigged, so I was the first to make a cast into the dark water.
My Apricot and Oregon Cheese colored yarn fly drifted only a few feet along the bottom when I felt a solid jolt, followed by a hard pull. Line simultaneously peeled from the reel, causing the line to cut into my right index finger. I immediately set the hook, and a mint bright steelhead torpedoed five feet into the air, violently shaking its head and causing the yarn to dislodge and come flying back toward me, hitting me in the leg. We were all stunned from the brief encounter, but I didn’t have much time to think about my lost fish because Randy proceeded to hook a steelhead on his first cast. The six-pound hen had no intention of staying in the river because it decided to make several consecutive leaps throughout the entire hole. The aerial display tired the steelie rather quickly, and a short while later Randy was unhooking his prize, while Ricky and I looked over his shoulder admiring the fish. Randy immediately released the fish as the three of us watched it slowly glide its way back toward the hole from which it came. For the next couple of hours, we took turns battling several more chrome steelhead from the same hole. The continuous, unforeseen action had us laughing like children and feeling like we had just pulled off the perfect crime.”
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Photo Credit: Original Author