My daughter Mariesa was out to visit her old dad a couple of weeks back. She genuinely likes to fish, but had never been out for Steelhead before. She struck silver on her first trip out with us while wade fishing the Deschutes, and a little bit of gold too!
Mariesa has caught many trout and bass over the years. When she tired of bass fishing she used to land 4 pound bull frogs by dangling plastic worms rigged texas style over the lily pads. She knows how to hook things, so there was no need to teach her how to cast or to set a hook.
On this day she was rigged with a 3-way barrel swivel, 4 shot slinky, and home tied melon glow bug with white and pink egg skein tatters. All dad did was point out the drift, and tell her to bounce it along the bottom while feeling for strikes.
She did it just right for about 15 minutes, standing thigh deep in fast water while fishing the drop
and riffle at the back end of a gravel bar.
Then bam, fish on!
The battle was a little bit epic for her first Steel. It leveraged current and muscle to rip out more line each time she began making progress. Her excitement was apparent as she backed her way toward slow water while enduring, and probably ignoring, dad's ceaseless advice to,"keep the rod tip up and arced with tension." I wish my mouth could stay shut at moments like that, but the impulse to jabber instructions is sometimes stronger than my discipline to resist meddling when a newbie is attached to a nice fish. It did little harm. I don't think she heard me anyway.
In the end, she worked the biggest Steelie we had seen that day into shallow water where it could be unbuttoned and released. It was a beautiful Nate, so we did not weigh it. The picture in the water just after unhooking does not do the fish justice. We caught several that day in the 8 pound range, but this one was in the vicinity of 12 pounds and bright.
For encore Mariesa went on to finish the trip going 2/4. Unusually successful for a first steelhead trip, over a period of 4 hours, and in the middle of a sunny afternoon.
Well done Mariesa. Come back to visit Oregon again soon. Then you can show us how to hammer the King Salmon, too!