Review: Tanner's Guide Service

ChezJfrey

Well-known member
Most know I'm a bank guy. I don't know, I could haughtily describe something about the 'true grit' required that keeps me pounding the bank...or maybe I'm just too 'lazy' to give up the miles of trekking, climbing, rappelling, stumbling, dislocated shoulder, swimming, wracked shins, and other joys of banking it. LOL

Or maybe I've a grudge with the kind of people, with the entire river open to them, snaking a line/hold you the bankie are actively fishing, then kicking up the motor, so they can do it again and again. The joy of phoning them later (since their logo, name and number are on the side of their boat), to politely discuss the courtesy nearly every other boater gives to reel up as they pass my line, and maybe he could do the same since you know, I was already fishing there and even another guy walking up would not cast directly into my line forcing ME to reel up to avoid tangle disaster, just to have him cuss you out and essentially, "tough luck and blow OFF."

Whatever the case, given the stellar reviews, my curiosity about Tanner arose, thought I'd check him out to see what's up and took the day yesterday, along with troutmasta and his father-in-law, to float the river with Tanner's Guide Service), also known here on the forum as SteelmonKiller20.

For the record, I consider myself decent with steelhead. Not a superstar, but I hook into roughly 50 of them a year, so I do all right...not that many landed...let me square about that, LOL All kinds of gear and fly: drifting, hardware, float/jig and fly. My previous outing, about a week ago, went 2 for 2 on the fly rod.

We meet, climb in the boat and we're OFF. Didn't take long, when the first hookup is granted to troutmasta's FIL. This fish appears slightly heavy, but progress is made reeling it toward us, then, it finally gets angry for us interrupting its day and peels up river, launches out of the water and the 'appears heavy' was made abundantly clear to us...that thing was an absolute beast! FIL had not caught a steelhead in over 20 years and this first battle of our trip was evidently his 'welcome back to the party' favor and what a battle! FIL had to work and wrest this brute for some time, swallow a little anxiety as this fish launches a couple more times, but overcame the odds and steelhead comes to hand. Roughly 37 inches and maybe 17 pounds of wild buck; an astounding specimen and a nearby guide, part of the river's broodstock program that witnessed the ordeal, immediately approaches and wants to take the fish for the program. So, when a couple years down the road, one of us hooks into one of its feisty descendents, take a moment to thank FIL (or praise Jesus...added that for you, troutmasta ;) ) for his contribution nabbing 'dad' :)

The following may be slightly out of chronological order and is as best my memory serves:

Next, I chumped a couple takes...missed the fish.

But then one fish sticks on the hook. Get a good fight out of the fish, starting to tire it, closer to the boat, soon to possibly net...then that ninja magic I so well know...spits the hook.

Then I connect with a fish that had a bit more oomph to it than that stupid light line 'they' were making me use could actually handle...lol. I've got this fish tearing around the river, but on the other side of the river than our boat was traveling. This isn't really that big a deal, except when there is another boat on anchor, right in the middle, between us and the fish...and we're still moving down river. Crap! I tightened the drag a few clicks, then tried turning the fish...still pulling drag and no effect...getting closer to our anchored friends. Another couple clicks...turn? Nope. Ok, I decide I've really no choice but to bite the bullet a bit. Thumb down on the spool, and gently tuuuuurnnnn, phew, fish starts coming around and both fish and boat swim past the anchored, all of us now on the same side of the river. We eventually get this wild to hand and it gets sent back to resume its river journey.

Troutmasta, being a friend of Tanner, gets special 'privilege'. Relegated to the back of the boat. Repeatedly commanded to "Sit down!" And when he hooks his first fish, is a hatchery, coming to net. "Um, we're gonna keep fishing/rowing this way, net your own fish!" So there he is, rod in one hand, attached to an unwilling escape-artist steelhead, and long-handled net in the other hand, struggling to work this conundrum out. He is truly the privileged class ;) But hey, he gets it done, because that's what rock stars do...they rock on!

He later gets treated to a repeat of, "our lines are staying in the water, deal with it."

"Fish is coming your way."

"Fine, fine, maybe this time we'll help you out."

Geez, does he think he's downtrodden Cinderella and we're treating him like the step sisters would or something? He boats another hatchery and earns himself $600 :)

Troutmasta's FIL, slow-motion hooks into another fish as we're approaching Tanner Island; this rock pile of brush and short willow branches in the middle of the river gets its newly appointed name after the incident that happens next. We are committed to take the left side in the boat. But, this just-hooked fish has the opposite idea -- it's rocketing toward the right side. FIL is trying to hold the rod high, but this is unlikely to work, the stretch is too long, the distance too far...the line will eventually get caught up somewhere and fish will be lost. Tanner rows like a madman, closing the gap as best he can, toward the island, yells, "give me the rod!" leaps from the boat into several feet of water, and pulls a combination Michael Phelps and Patrick Duffy's Man from Atlantis move, swimming to the island so he can raise the rod over the brush and follow the fish down the channel. This gives time for our older gentleman to more sure-footedly exit the boat, walk the island and finish the fish battle and get this hatchery fish netted.

Ok, it wasn't really a Phelps/Atlantis move...the reality is that Tanner's charge through the water was immediately followed by a trip and header into the drink, but he held onto the rod/fish and climbed back up to give his client the needed time for more prudent, and some might say 'wise' maneuvers out of the boat. Tanner's kinds of moves are reserved for 'guide status' :) Or perhaps in my case of dislocated shoulder infamy, the clumsy and stubborn.

FIL also eventually ties into another brute, where I got to watch (admittedly bringing a smile/chuckle to myself) Tanner rowing against the current like a possessed lunatic, grimacing, trying to stave off the upriver run of a fish burying into the streamside trees. We were all watching the end of the spool approaching the rod and this fish was uncontrollable and seriously tunneling under the submerged bushes and stumps; I am still surprised this fish was managed at all and did not find a way to snag and bust loose...it was all the way 'in there' because the splashing was literally in the middle of the freakin' bushes! That rowing bought time and finally the rod bends convinced the fish to turn the other way and FIL boats a 34-35" hatchery buck.

I missed several more opportunities, simply whiffing on the fish.

When we were within 10 minutes or so of the take out, everyone had limited on hatchery fish but me, so I swear to them I'll nail this down. I'm stalking my line in the water, poised and ready. No action and we are now within 20 yards of the take out and boom! There it is! And I miss!

Troutmasta, "And the day ends for Chez, just as it began!" We all laugh.

In summary, I think all of us had at least a couple missed takes. That Chez guy easily won that contest though...I think he stopped counting, but what was it? Something like 5, 6, or 7 misses? What a noob! LOL My only excuse is using a rigging and style of fishing I've never done before.

Troutmasta limited with 2 hatchery steelhead. Don't remember him getting any wild releases, but not sure? So 2 for 2?
FIL limited with 2 hatchery steelhead and released one wild; batted a thousand on actual hookups, going 3 for 3 and boating the 2 biggest fish of the day at roughly 37" and 35".
ChezJfrey had 1 hatchery tagged, released one wild, lost one to line break (FIL used his laservision on my leader when I hooked up in 'his spot') and one lost to spit hook, so 2 for 4 on fish hooked, and add at least 4+ missed opportunities on top of that.

So only call Tanner if that sounds like a day you might be interested in.
 

ChezJfrey

Well-known member
To add: I get a surprise and humored chuckle, when I find Tanner's psychic abilities too. At some point during the day, I relate my story about the above-mentioned logo boat tossing into my line, repeatedly, last year without even describing the color, type of boat, or what the logo/name/number were. Tanner responds, "Was it xxxxxxxx?" I just about choke...."Uh, yeah!"

He's got skills, I tell ya.
 

Native Fisher

Active member
Sounds like an awesome trip! I have all but stopped fishing out of boats, I whiff them every dang time. When I don't whiff them I loose them at the boat. I think there is just a big difference in leverage or something boat vs. bank when landing fish.
 

my2labs

Active member
Ok.... I'm gonna book one with you Tanner. Not sure when but...... its happening.

Great write up Chez.
Congrats guys.


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Sounds like an awesome trip! I have all but stopped fishing out of boats, I whiff them every dang time. When I don't whiff them I loose them at the boat. I think there is just a big difference in leverage or something boat vs. bank when landing fish.

When you hook up in a boat row towards the bank if you are going to anchor and fight the fish. It's a huge advantage to be in a boat from my experience which is 20 years of bank fishing and 8 years from a drift boat. You can also follow the fish in the boat which makes it pretty easy to land.
 

Aervax

Most Featured
You guys have got to quit posting all these great trips with Tanner. Can't we keep him "our little secret"? Pretty soon, he is going to be booked so solid you can't get a seat. Then he'll have to raise rates, and when he has an open seat I will not be able to afford to go with him.

Repeat after me: "TANNER GUIDE SERVICE blows. He brings bananas in his pockets, and no one on his trips ever boats anything but sticks and rocks! Those pics are just a bunch of tricks, and his baits smell like dirty socks."

Let's get that posted 100,000 times on all the fishing sites, and we might still get to fish with him once in a while.
 

EOBOY

Well-known member
You guys have got to quit posting all these great trips with Tanner. Can't we keep him "our little secret"? Pretty soon, he is going to be booked so solid you can't get a seat. Then he'll have to raise rates, and when he has an open seat I will not be able to afford to go with him.

Repeat after me: "TANNER GUIDE SERVICE blows.

You're right the last time I went with him he eat cold pizza OFF the bottom of his boat and he was grumpy as all get out. We had an OREGON30 day as well. But I'm going to adopt him and get him a Disability for ADA, so I can write him OFF my tax's:hi:
 

OnTheDrop

Well-known member
Hahaha. ^^ you guys are killing me....

I went out with Chez this morning for a couple hours of bank fishing and landed my 3rd steelhead of the season. Forgot what it felt like to set the hook on a bobber down...
 
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