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There's Nothing Like a Fish That Makes You Run

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December 07, 2012

There's Nothing Like a Fish That Makes You Run

By Joe Cermele

I've been hanging out at steelhead camp in upstate New York for the last few days having a good time catching up with old friends and remembering what hours standing in 36-degree water feels like. Yes, steelheading this time of year really tests your mettle, but oh what a pay-off. Nothing helps you forget that your face is numb like the first flash and thump of a fresh chromer when you set on drift 247 in the same run you've been working for an hour. And nothing gets your toes back to a reasonable temp faster than a fish on. I have a strict no-running policy. I just don't do it. But when I've got steel on the line I'll gladly take an Emmitt Smith-style mad-dash downriver.

There is something about steelhead that I think makes anglers push their limits. You hook up and you'll stop at almost nothing to get that fish in the net. Maybe it's that these fish win so often, it's a little more personal. There is something a little more special about beating one considering their speed, power, and uncanny ability to find the closest piece of structure that will break your line and head right to it. My friend and one of our guides, Gary Edwards, epitomizes what I mean. Here's a guy that's chased Salmon River steel for 30 plus years. He's netted thousands. Still, when the big chrome buck above hit his egg fly and took off for Canada, Gary went a-running. He could have just broken it off, but instead, in a performance that had us younger guys awestruck, he followed it through the center of the next run, getting water in his waders in the process, and netted the fish solo 1/4-mile from where he hooked it.

I've chased a lot of steel, but my most memorable river run was actually after a big brown trout on the Brodhead in Pennsylvania. We were catching browns in the 12- to 15-inch range on dry flies fairly well all morning. The water was gin clear, so 6X tippet was a must. All of a sudden here comes a 22-incher ghosting up off the bottom. It sips my fly, I swing, and off it goes downriver. Two sets of rapids, ten boulder hops, one fall, and three averted logjams later, I put it in the net.

What's your best chase story?

Comments (19)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Looks to me like someone is going to be fishing for that guy wading a little toooo deeep in the picture very soon.
Nothin like WestCoast steelheading on sizeable rivers swinging a fly. Never had to chase one like you discribed, but caught many over 30" swinging flies on a dryline.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Does chasing them in boats count? Or going down the beach making other guys reel up their lines so you could fight a fish that way outclasses the gear you hooked it on? I can't remember one particular chase, but I've done a few, nothing like the high-knee steel run that I've seen in some videos.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

A 22" er makes that story a little suspect. In WA State a rainbow has to be 22" to even qualify as a steelhead. Anything shorter is considered a trout. That 22"er would be considered a dink, and a rare dink at that. They are like grilse in Atlantic Salmon terms, called "Jacks" in King Salmon terms. They don't stay out to sea for at least 2 yrs., but return very early with the other schools of steelhead. On the Kalama in California, they are called !/2 lbers. Lots of them on the Kalama, and fun to catch, but no long, line burning runs.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

ClinchNot, he said that 22" fish was a brown, and on that river, it would be one helluva catch. I fished that river in October.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

My best run story was fishing on the roaring fork during an evening caddis hatch. I had been catching some descent 14-16" browns in a big eddy behind an old bridge pile on. I laid out a nice cast and got a great drift which paid off handily. I saw a big nose pop out and inhale my 14 elk hair. I set the hook and it was off to the races. The brown trout seemed like it had been through this before because it didnt waste any time to pop out into the really fast current and head down stream. line was going fast so I carefully made my way to the bank and started running down stream while reeling as quick as i could get line. I finally got the brown turned into some slower water but it charged into a strainer which was in waist deep water. I thought for sure i had lost it. I quickly made my way to the strainer trying to free my line. I followed my line down and could feel the brown still attached. I started to clear some sticks out of the way so i could get my net in place to land the fish. The brown had other ideas and somehow darted out of the strainer still hooked and not tangled on anything. He went back into the current down stream and into another log jam. I though there is now way I can get that lucky a second time. I ran down to the second jam and again followed my line with my hand and to my surprise the damn fish was still there. there was an opening large enough for me to get my net in and under the fish. Without hesitation I jammed my net in, lifted and extracted. I couldnt believe my eyes but there was my brown trout which wasnt even that big. It was only 17" but still is the best trophy ive caught to this day. It was the wildest thing.

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from dleurquin wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

My best chase story isn't about me, but my friend Georgie running for his camera AFTER he caught a nice rainbow. It's our first time on The Bighorn and we're with a guide. So Georgie catches this nice 21" hook jawed rainbow and wants a to get a picture of it. The guide barks some orders at him to get his camera ASAP, so the trout could be released before getting too stressed. So, Georgie makes a mad dash to the drift boat 200 feet upstream, runs back and just as he puts on the brakes he slips on the muddy bank and flies in the air just like he's a cartoon character slipping on a banana peel. I swear, at one point, his feet came six feet off the ground and he nearly does a back flip.

Later that evening as we walked into Polly's (local diner) for some food there was lively conversation and laughter in progress. And there in mid sentence was our guide at the counter telling this crazy story about his clients that. We all had a good laugh over it.

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from Brazilnut wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

A friend and I were flyfishing from float tubes for silver salmon in Lake Rose Tead on Kodiak Island. My friend hooked a fish, then called me over. He handed me the bent rod, kicked his way to shore and dashed for the trees. Fifteen minutes later, after I had fought and released the 12-lb coho, my buddy reappeared. "Sorry about that," he said. "Had to take a dump."

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I( do stand corrected. It was a brown. I thought it was a steelhead. A 22" brown is also a good fish on my river as well.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Pound for pound sockeye salmon will leave every other species of fresh water fish in the dust when it comes to fight. In Alaska I was rigged up for big trophy rainbows when I inadvertently hooked my first fresh sockeye. She blew up the drag on my fly reel before I could get my hand on the spool! I had seen nothing like that, and I had been catching bows up to 30". Now fast forward a few weeks when I first foul hooked a big bull sockeye in the tail. Being the novice that I was I couldn't tell it was foul hooked (but soon learned the art of detection) and I let it run thinking I'd be able to turn it in a bit. Before I knew it I was well into the backing and if anything that fish seemed to be picking up steam! By then there's no choice in the matter, either run with it or drop the rod and break off. But with the heavy leader I was using I stood a good chance of breaking off in the backing. Way too much stretch when that much line is out. Losing the line is not only expensive (and difficult to replace up there!) but it's not a good situation with all the grizzlies we had working the camp (100 of them!). Dragging that much line would eventually exhaust the fish, it would become bear food, and the danged furry nuisance would know exactly from whence that feast came and could quickly develop into a problem for other fisherman. So I ran with the fish three hundred yards down the river and out into the lake a quarter mile! Eventually I was JUST able to pull it back in. By then I was not sure which of us was more wore out! My boss took a photo of me just as I climbed out of the water after releasing it. I'll have to find that pic and put it in my profile album tonight. Really tells the whole story. I was cold, exhausted, and the water line on my chest waders was a few inches below the suspender snaps. I very quickly learned how to tell if a fish was foul hooked and would IMMEDIATELY get my 9.5' 8 wt up in the air as far as my arms would reach to start horsing it as much as possible as quickly as possible. If you can pull the salmon's tail up to the top while there's still a sharp angle for leverage, the fish can't get going. Might stress to the breaking point but it's only going to be the leader that's lost at that point. Gotta keep the heat on though. Can't give em an inch for a second. Takes a HEAVY rod and more than a little strength! Nothing like trying to beach and unhook a slimy fresh salmon that's still full of fight. That is also an art! Meant some aching arms at night for many nights. But it's a pain I'd give anything to endure again. Maybe this coming summer. Oh crap. Daughter's baby will be arriving in June. Well, there goes that dream. Last year I had to put off the Alaska trip when my lab came down with cancer. Guess it's just not in the cards. Sigh!

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from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

The first time I hooked a steelhead on a fly rod I was fishing the mouth of a trib in Erie PA. and as soon as I hooked it it turned and ran out to the lake. It was all I could do to keep it close as I ran down the shore. About 150yards later I landed her, and she was beautiful! ..Man that was fun!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

themadflyfisher
Same exact thing happened to me! Darn steelhead ran out into Lake Erie, and a boat picked me up, and we chased it. My arms were about to fall off playing it when we finally landed it off Pelee Island. The sad part was, we were then stopped by a Canadian fish cop, and I got arrested for not having a Canadian license!

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from Hoski wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Yep, I've done some quick stepping after steel. Most memorable hookup had me running down stream trying my best to stop a buck that all of a sudden had a hankering for Lake Erie. Just before he powered into the next set of rapids I went down face first at the edge. When I got to my knees I discovered the fish must have thought my fall was pretty funny and turned around to watch. Now I'm on my knees, reeling like crazy and laughing my butt off. Guys all around thought it was pretty funny too. Landed the fish though.
Best one I witnessed was a time I gave the pool to a crew who had come up from South Carolina because they had heard steelheading was fun. Father, son, and the son'e college professor. I gave them each a purple wooly bugger because that seemed like the hot fly that day. The Professor finally hooked up and got a wee bit flustered. Instead of just letting the fish do it's initial run he immediately started for the bank, took one step and went down. He came up with eyes as big as saucers and gasping for air with the fish still on. We got him to the bank where he finally landed the fish soaking wet and all smiles. Evidently they aren't accustomed to 40 degree water in South Carolina, and 70 year olds like their bath water a tad warmer.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

You know you've had fun when your hat is askew, your shades are fogged and you are breathing heavy.
Here's a tip I[ve used for years and it works...MOST..of the time.
If all is lost, you can't keep up and it looks like there is no way you will land the fish. Quickly drop your rod tip and strip off aas much running line or backing you can without getting it tangled. Let it sit for about a slow 15 count and pray. Then jam your rod tip in the water (to avoid the line wrapping around the tip), reel like Hell and when the slack is in lift your rod to feel the fish. Odds are he has rested thinking he has tossed the hooked and maybe even dropped back a bit. This tactic can often allow you to turn him and get him moving in a favorable direction. It's has saved me many a double digit fish.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Darn near has to be a unique situation with steelhead leaving a drift. If there is a set of shallow rapids below, they seldom want to enter the shallows. My steelhead totals are way up there, and hundreds caught on the fly, and I maybe had ONE out of all of those leave the hole. They want to return up into the hole, and the security of depth. KING SALMON?..different critter, and much more likely to leave the hole. And I can't speak for small, Eastern Rivers much.

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from Davidd wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Loved the article and the follow up posts. They are all great stories. The traditional Old Man and the Sea stories illustrating man vs. nature. Can not get any better. I can read them all day long.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

David...I gave a book report in school on the Old Man and the SEA from the 4th grade to the 7th grade I believe. Haven't read many books in my life, but I did read that one.

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from badsmerf wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I have no good stories since I fish small streams in Iowa and don't get to go chasing Steelies. Thanks for reminding me how bad I want to Joe. Nothing like kicking a guy when he's down.

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from Charlie Woodman wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I was fishing in Maine on the upstream side of a small bridge during high water in the spring last year. Any nice fish that could get under the bridge would use the fast water shooting under the bridge to advantage so landing a nice fish meant keeping them upriver of the bridge. My best friend was along for some fun and didn't think there could be any fish of size in this small river. I had already landed a couple of nice browns there and I had seen a 4-6 pound landlocked salmon rise to my streamer so I knew the potential. I threw on a heavily weighted grey ghost and tossed it right up by the bank of the pool. On the third cast I set the hook on a fish deep enough not to see anything, but the fish was a monster. I fought with the fish but couldn't hold him above the bridge and so he slipped under the bridge stripping my line to about 50 feet of backing until I turned him back upstream. At this point there was no way to net this fish. My friend had stopped fishing and was up on the bridge watching me and could see what was happening. I had a flash of insight and told him to go down on the other side of the bridge and grab my line. I moved the rod tip over to the edge of the bridge and he grabbed the line. After making sure he had the line and was able to play the fish a little by hand I put two half hitches over the handle of my rod and around the reel. Explaining the plan I tossed my rod in the water, hightailed it up the bank, over the guard rail and down the other side. When I got to the other side I grabbed the line and pulled in the rod, untied the hitches, took up the slack like a madman, and told my friend to release the line. The fish had tired and had been holding steady in the slower water below the bridge. He gave one more effort and showed himself at the surface for the first time. A sizable silver flank rolled over in the sun. A fat landlocked salmon in the 24 -26 inch range surprised even me. In another minute I had him in the net, took a good look, and slid him back into the water. I enjoyed holding him there for at least 30 seconds while he revived as did I. The best part of the whole thing was I had a witness, so I can tell this story without the usual harrumphs and disbelieving comments. This stream is 20 feet across at its widest but can be 15 feet deep in the spring and 5 feet deep in the summer. In Maine we have very few rivers that allow running in or along side but the next day I was some sore and bruised from my trip over the bridge and down the other side. It was worth it!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Most anglers wear waders when they fish the stream banks. I wear tennis shoes knowing what's about to happen to me.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Pound for pound sockeye salmon will leave every other species of fresh water fish in the dust when it comes to fight. In Alaska I was rigged up for big trophy rainbows when I inadvertently hooked my first fresh sockeye. She blew up the drag on my fly reel before I could get my hand on the spool! I had seen nothing like that, and I had been catching bows up to 30". Now fast forward a few weeks when I first foul hooked a big bull sockeye in the tail. Being the novice that I was I couldn't tell it was foul hooked (but soon learned the art of detection) and I let it run thinking I'd be able to turn it in a bit. Before I knew it I was well into the backing and if anything that fish seemed to be picking up steam! By then there's no choice in the matter, either run with it or drop the rod and break off. But with the heavy leader I was using I stood a good chance of breaking off in the backing. Way too much stretch when that much line is out. Losing the line is not only expensive (and difficult to replace up there!) but it's not a good situation with all the grizzlies we had working the camp (100 of them!). Dragging that much line would eventually exhaust the fish, it would become bear food, and the danged furry nuisance would know exactly from whence that feast came and could quickly develop into a problem for other fisherman. So I ran with the fish three hundred yards down the river and out into the lake a quarter mile! Eventually I was JUST able to pull it back in. By then I was not sure which of us was more wore out! My boss took a photo of me just as I climbed out of the water after releasing it. I'll have to find that pic and put it in my profile album tonight. Really tells the whole story. I was cold, exhausted, and the water line on my chest waders was a few inches below the suspender snaps. I very quickly learned how to tell if a fish was foul hooked and would IMMEDIATELY get my 9.5' 8 wt up in the air as far as my arms would reach to start horsing it as much as possible as quickly as possible. If you can pull the salmon's tail up to the top while there's still a sharp angle for leverage, the fish can't get going. Might stress to the breaking point but it's only going to be the leader that's lost at that point. Gotta keep the heat on though. Can't give em an inch for a second. Takes a HEAVY rod and more than a little strength! Nothing like trying to beach and unhook a slimy fresh salmon that's still full of fight. That is also an art! Meant some aching arms at night for many nights. But it's a pain I'd give anything to endure again. Maybe this coming summer. Oh crap. Daughter's baby will be arriving in June. Well, there goes that dream. Last year I had to put off the Alaska trip when my lab came down with cancer. Guess it's just not in the cards. Sigh!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Looks to me like someone is going to be fishing for that guy wading a little toooo deeep in the picture very soon.
Nothin like WestCoast steelheading on sizeable rivers swinging a fly. Never had to chase one like you discribed, but caught many over 30" swinging flies on a dryline.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Does chasing them in boats count? Or going down the beach making other guys reel up their lines so you could fight a fish that way outclasses the gear you hooked it on? I can't remember one particular chase, but I've done a few, nothing like the high-knee steel run that I've seen in some videos.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

ClinchNot, he said that 22" fish was a brown, and on that river, it would be one helluva catch. I fished that river in October.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

My best run story was fishing on the roaring fork during an evening caddis hatch. I had been catching some descent 14-16" browns in a big eddy behind an old bridge pile on. I laid out a nice cast and got a great drift which paid off handily. I saw a big nose pop out and inhale my 14 elk hair. I set the hook and it was off to the races. The brown trout seemed like it had been through this before because it didnt waste any time to pop out into the really fast current and head down stream. line was going fast so I carefully made my way to the bank and started running down stream while reeling as quick as i could get line. I finally got the brown turned into some slower water but it charged into a strainer which was in waist deep water. I thought for sure i had lost it. I quickly made my way to the strainer trying to free my line. I followed my line down and could feel the brown still attached. I started to clear some sticks out of the way so i could get my net in place to land the fish. The brown had other ideas and somehow darted out of the strainer still hooked and not tangled on anything. He went back into the current down stream and into another log jam. I though there is now way I can get that lucky a second time. I ran down to the second jam and again followed my line with my hand and to my surprise the damn fish was still there. there was an opening large enough for me to get my net in and under the fish. Without hesitation I jammed my net in, lifted and extracted. I couldnt believe my eyes but there was my brown trout which wasnt even that big. It was only 17" but still is the best trophy ive caught to this day. It was the wildest thing.

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from dleurquin wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

My best chase story isn't about me, but my friend Georgie running for his camera AFTER he caught a nice rainbow. It's our first time on The Bighorn and we're with a guide. So Georgie catches this nice 21" hook jawed rainbow and wants a to get a picture of it. The guide barks some orders at him to get his camera ASAP, so the trout could be released before getting too stressed. So, Georgie makes a mad dash to the drift boat 200 feet upstream, runs back and just as he puts on the brakes he slips on the muddy bank and flies in the air just like he's a cartoon character slipping on a banana peel. I swear, at one point, his feet came six feet off the ground and he nearly does a back flip.

Later that evening as we walked into Polly's (local diner) for some food there was lively conversation and laughter in progress. And there in mid sentence was our guide at the counter telling this crazy story about his clients that. We all had a good laugh over it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brazilnut wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

A friend and I were flyfishing from float tubes for silver salmon in Lake Rose Tead on Kodiak Island. My friend hooked a fish, then called me over. He handed me the bent rod, kicked his way to shore and dashed for the trees. Fifteen minutes later, after I had fought and released the 12-lb coho, my buddy reappeared. "Sorry about that," he said. "Had to take a dump."

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I( do stand corrected. It was a brown. I thought it was a steelhead. A 22" brown is also a good fish on my river as well.

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from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

The first time I hooked a steelhead on a fly rod I was fishing the mouth of a trib in Erie PA. and as soon as I hooked it it turned and ran out to the lake. It was all I could do to keep it close as I ran down the shore. About 150yards later I landed her, and she was beautiful! ..Man that was fun!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

themadflyfisher
Same exact thing happened to me! Darn steelhead ran out into Lake Erie, and a boat picked me up, and we chased it. My arms were about to fall off playing it when we finally landed it off Pelee Island. The sad part was, we were then stopped by a Canadian fish cop, and I got arrested for not having a Canadian license!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hoski wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Yep, I've done some quick stepping after steel. Most memorable hookup had me running down stream trying my best to stop a buck that all of a sudden had a hankering for Lake Erie. Just before he powered into the next set of rapids I went down face first at the edge. When I got to my knees I discovered the fish must have thought my fall was pretty funny and turned around to watch. Now I'm on my knees, reeling like crazy and laughing my butt off. Guys all around thought it was pretty funny too. Landed the fish though.
Best one I witnessed was a time I gave the pool to a crew who had come up from South Carolina because they had heard steelheading was fun. Father, son, and the son'e college professor. I gave them each a purple wooly bugger because that seemed like the hot fly that day. The Professor finally hooked up and got a wee bit flustered. Instead of just letting the fish do it's initial run he immediately started for the bank, took one step and went down. He came up with eyes as big as saucers and gasping for air with the fish still on. We got him to the bank where he finally landed the fish soaking wet and all smiles. Evidently they aren't accustomed to 40 degree water in South Carolina, and 70 year olds like their bath water a tad warmer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

You know you've had fun when your hat is askew, your shades are fogged and you are breathing heavy.
Here's a tip I[ve used for years and it works...MOST..of the time.
If all is lost, you can't keep up and it looks like there is no way you will land the fish. Quickly drop your rod tip and strip off aas much running line or backing you can without getting it tangled. Let it sit for about a slow 15 count and pray. Then jam your rod tip in the water (to avoid the line wrapping around the tip), reel like Hell and when the slack is in lift your rod to feel the fish. Odds are he has rested thinking he has tossed the hooked and maybe even dropped back a bit. This tactic can often allow you to turn him and get him moving in a favorable direction. It's has saved me many a double digit fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Davidd wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Loved the article and the follow up posts. They are all great stories. The traditional Old Man and the Sea stories illustrating man vs. nature. Can not get any better. I can read them all day long.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

David...I gave a book report in school on the Old Man and the SEA from the 4th grade to the 7th grade I believe. Haven't read many books in my life, but I did read that one.

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from badsmerf wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I have no good stories since I fish small streams in Iowa and don't get to go chasing Steelies. Thanks for reminding me how bad I want to Joe. Nothing like kicking a guy when he's down.

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from Charlie Woodman wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I was fishing in Maine on the upstream side of a small bridge during high water in the spring last year. Any nice fish that could get under the bridge would use the fast water shooting under the bridge to advantage so landing a nice fish meant keeping them upriver of the bridge. My best friend was along for some fun and didn't think there could be any fish of size in this small river. I had already landed a couple of nice browns there and I had seen a 4-6 pound landlocked salmon rise to my streamer so I knew the potential. I threw on a heavily weighted grey ghost and tossed it right up by the bank of the pool. On the third cast I set the hook on a fish deep enough not to see anything, but the fish was a monster. I fought with the fish but couldn't hold him above the bridge and so he slipped under the bridge stripping my line to about 50 feet of backing until I turned him back upstream. At this point there was no way to net this fish. My friend had stopped fishing and was up on the bridge watching me and could see what was happening. I had a flash of insight and told him to go down on the other side of the bridge and grab my line. I moved the rod tip over to the edge of the bridge and he grabbed the line. After making sure he had the line and was able to play the fish a little by hand I put two half hitches over the handle of my rod and around the reel. Explaining the plan I tossed my rod in the water, hightailed it up the bank, over the guard rail and down the other side. When I got to the other side I grabbed the line and pulled in the rod, untied the hitches, took up the slack like a madman, and told my friend to release the line. The fish had tired and had been holding steady in the slower water below the bridge. He gave one more effort and showed himself at the surface for the first time. A sizable silver flank rolled over in the sun. A fat landlocked salmon in the 24 -26 inch range surprised even me. In another minute I had him in the net, took a good look, and slid him back into the water. I enjoyed holding him there for at least 30 seconds while he revived as did I. The best part of the whole thing was I had a witness, so I can tell this story without the usual harrumphs and disbelieving comments. This stream is 20 feet across at its widest but can be 15 feet deep in the spring and 5 feet deep in the summer. In Maine we have very few rivers that allow running in or along side but the next day I was some sore and bruised from my trip over the bridge and down the other side. It was worth it!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Most anglers wear waders when they fish the stream banks. I wear tennis shoes knowing what's about to happen to me.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Darn near has to be a unique situation with steelhead leaving a drift. If there is a set of shallow rapids below, they seldom want to enter the shallows. My steelhead totals are way up there, and hundreds caught on the fly, and I maybe had ONE out of all of those leave the hole. They want to return up into the hole, and the security of depth. KING SALMON?..different critter, and much more likely to leave the hole. And I can't speak for small, Eastern Rivers much.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

A 22" er makes that story a little suspect. In WA State a rainbow has to be 22" to even qualify as a steelhead. Anything shorter is considered a trout. That 22"er would be considered a dink, and a rare dink at that. They are like grilse in Atlantic Salmon terms, called "Jacks" in King Salmon terms. They don't stay out to sea for at least 2 yrs., but return very early with the other schools of steelhead. On the Kalama in California, they are called !/2 lbers. Lots of them on the Kalama, and fun to catch, but no long, line burning runs.

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