I top myself


Banned User
I went fishing yesterday. I was going for trout because some decent trout have come out of hiding with the higher water levels (isn't that "deeper water levels"?).

I was having some luck on the fly rod when I saw something big in the water. Looking more closely, I saw several big things in the water. Salmon? No. One of them peeled away and took something flaoting downstream. Genuine steelhead, not "technical" steelhead, were in my favorite pool!

The heck with the fly rod, I ran back to the truck and grabbed the heavier steelhead gear.

I hadn't any bait, and thought I'd try a jig and bobber rig with a small, pink, 3-inch trout-size worm on it. I was poking my fingers and cursing in a loud whisper while trying to get the worm on so it was straight and digging for the bobers at the bottom of my bag and thankfully, the fish gods kept the steelies around while I struggled. At a price...

I had two strikes but didn't get the hook set on any of them, and I continued to be encouraged that the fish gods told them to stay nearby. At a price.

I don't do this often, but I tried really hard to set the hook on the next strike and managed to get some line caught in the bail mechanism - which locks-up the reel. It's not hard to untangle everything, but it always takes a moment or two for me to realize that I have a problem that needs fixing and by then I've made it somewhat worse...

I'd like to tell you that I consciously decided to stay in wasit deep water to un-snag the line. I'd like to say I chose to do that because I didn't want to impose on the fish gods once more to keep the steelhead in my pool. The truth is that I don't know why I didn't go back to the bank for de-bugging.

I'd managed to unwrap the line from behind the spool and was working on getting it out of the bail hinge when a Genuine Steelhead took the jig and took off. Fabulous! I was holding a FUBAR reel in water too deep for me to move about briskly and I have the fish of my lifetime on the jig? Does it get any better than that?

I was doing my best to not allow the line to get slack and to keep as much tension on it as I think the line will tolerate and pronouncing to the world that I CAN FISH when the fish gods presented the first bill and the tip of my Buzz Ramsey snapped off. Then I stopped shouting about how I can fish and started letting the world know I AM FIRETRUCKED FOR SURE.

And I was. A few seconds later, the steelie stole my jig and went off to wherever tackle thieving fish go after a successful heist. It was 90 seconds of pure adrenaline, 'though, so while I waded out of the stream I was thanking the fish gods and not even sobbing too hard over the busted-up rod - and planning what I'd do the next time.

I stored everything away in the truck and had just started to think fondly of the Freaking Fish That Broke My Rod when the fish gods sent me the next bill. As I started to drive home, I realized I wasn't driving, I was digging into the soft gravel.

I've driven on this gravel a hundred times. Maybe two hundred times. Never a problem. Yesterday, it was a problem. I got out the little camp shovel and dug around the tires and tried again. No luck. I smartly decided to back up and make a run for it and only succeeded in going backwards for five feet and digging four brand new holes.

I hadn't taken into account that the rains would change the sand and gravel from hard to unreasonably soft and slick as snow. Nor did I notice the incredibly deep ruts made by drift boat skippers until it was too late.

Hmm. What to do, what to do? Break out the fly rod again!

The fish gods were kind again, and I caught a couple of nice, footlong trout and was feeling pretty proud of myself again and had nearlly forgotten that I was truly stranded in the wilderness. Truck stuck? Leave me alone! There's fish in this river! Someone will find me sooner or later. Or at least, someone will stumble across my dead body. I wouldn't be stuck forever.

And sure enough, eventually, a couple of guys cruised by close enough to see The Idiot on The Bank with His Truck Buried Up to It's Axles and pulled me up to solid soil.

They were in the area to fish for salmon upstream a ways from my favorite pool and - being extremely grateful - I told them where I'd last seem the steelhead. Then they were so grateful to me that they marched down the bank and promptly caught one. Unfortunately, it wasn't the one with my jig in it's lips and I couldn't make a prior claim on it, so I just went home.

Stupid fish gods.

While most of y'all are having a great time catching fish and tickling me with fish tales, I am down here keeping quite busy inventing new and unique ways to not catch fish. Yesterday may have been my opus magnum and I'm not sure how to top it.


LOL ... reminds me of many years ago, launching the driftboat in all but complete darkness, with the freshly minted wife in the front seat on her first winter steelhead outing. When the first glow of light hit the bottom of the boat (after launching and now in the middle of the Clackamas River) noticing there was already 6 inches of water in the bottom of the boat. Seems the boat skipper forgot to install the plug, and the drain hole is out of the water with no one in the boat. Sure took allot of effort to drag the silly driftboat plus a few hundred gallons of water far enough out of the water to get it drain.


Well-known member
Ah, but that experience will stick with you for life!

And you will get better at managing line and arising circumstances. You are getting closer, so keep at it and things will get better/easier and I'm betting you will land a steelhead sooner, rather than later.
Oh, those capricious Fish Gods! <rotflmao>

For me, early on Sunday morning after putting my first-cast stray clipped coho jack into the car's trunk, looking forward to the next fishing hole, I reached for the car keys that were no longer in my pocket. Where? Where did I put them? Oh, crap, they're in the trunk! It was a 6.5 mile walk home in waders and carrying gear...

3 hours later, after a ride back to the car courtesy of my neighbor, a change of clothes, and a rest, I went back to the river. The Fish Gods smirk and give me another coho jack that turns out to be an unclipped spinner. Took several minutes of gentle handling to unwind the line from its nose and remove the hook after cutting the last loop.


That's a pretty sweet write-up there, Tinker! What a blast to get into them for a little bit at least.

Seems early for winter steel though, but I'm sure you know what's in there.

Best & keep at it,


Banned User
Are you still down on the Elk/Sixes?

Yes I am. This, didn't happen on either river, but further south of town. The sandbar blocking the Sixes was knocked down a bit (but not all the way) with the heavy rain ten days back, and the river looks all strange to me this year.


Banned User

I sincerely apologize for calling you "stupid" in a public forum, even in jest. You are exceptionally brilliant, unquestionably fair, and quite lovely to look at. Please accept this, my most sincere apology, and don't keep me skunked the rest of my life, like you did this morning.

- Tinker
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