Journal notes from quality destinations across the country...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Go Outside and Play

The sunrise was in full bloom as I threw a pink and white minnow pattern into six feet of water near shore. I let it sink for a ten-count and began a slow, steady strip-retrieve.

Pink Salmon were rolling and jumping all around us and I looked up to watch, noting three other boats in the same general vicinity along with one Seal...

I felt the line go tight and muttered loudly, "Got one..."

The fish came to the surface and rolled soon after being hooked and I got to see he was above-average in size. He proved it by running off and taking me almost to my backing. As I worked to bring him back, I noted the strong bend in the 7-weight rod. Having broke my 6-weight the day before, I had grudgingly stepped up one size. Now I was grateful for the extra heft.

I eventually worked him back to the boat but he refused to be beaten and did two full circles around the boat. As I put more and more pressure on him, he eventually came alongside. My fishing partner reached down with the net. The fish saw it coming and surged quickly, breaking my leader and leaving me staring...

That was the big fish of the day. And as big a Pink Salmon as I've ever hooked. I knew it was over five pounds, closer to eight.

I could only shrug and tie on a new fly to try again. Between us we boated around ten fish before quitting at 10:30...


Getting up at 3:00AM every day this week would not normally be my idea of fun... And yet it has become such. Seeing the sun rise on Puget Sound in August is a magnificent experience and chasing fiesty Pink Salmon in shallow water is exciting stuff...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

An Orange Dry Fly & Bored Grown Children

The river is big but it's August so there is plenty of room to walk along the banks without having to brave the strong current. Both of my boys and my nephew, Telson, have come along to explore a place none of us have been to on the south side of Mt. St. Helens...

Of course, it doesn't take long and the boys are goofing along the shore while I'm still diligently fishing and trying to get a 50 foot cast to go 60 feet... This is one of those simple rivers and my fly selection is about as simple as it gets: orange Caddis, then orange Stimulator, then orange Humpy. They all work... The sun has been behind the sharp hillside for over an hour and we only have about 45 minutes of light left so I look to see where the boys are.

They are fifty yards down river, kneeling over a large, flat rock. My youngest has challenged his big brother to an arm-wrestling contest and for the first time in his life he wins. He yells upriver at me.

"Hey, Dad. I beat him! Twice!..."

"Nice." I return.

They come up to watch me for a while and then wander off to whittle marshmallow sticks for later. I thought these times would fade as the boys left high school and became men but here we are, giving me a deja vu moment that takes me back to when they were six and eight and playing in the rocks behind me while I fished. I guess some things don't change as fast as I think they do.

It turns out to be a good evening, with six or seven fish landed before I quit. And all on dries... It has been hard to see my fly on the water for some time now so I turn to shout and tell the boys it's time to leave.

They are downriver again, each bent over a stick, knives in hand.

"Hey!" I shout. "I'm not going to wait all night for you guys! Let's go..."

They grin and give it back to me just as good.

"Yah, Dad. Just one more cast, right?"

"We'll go when we see you actually go..."

I love fly fishing with my boys. Even when that's really not what we're doing together...