August 26th, 2002

This Is Silly
By James Castwell

It really is, it was a silly thing for me to do, but what the heck, I figured I could do it, so I did it. Some time ago I put a bit of this on the bulletin board, but here is the 'rest of the story.' There is a small creek which runs into the salt water (Seattle, WA area) near us and in late fall it gets a heck of a run of native chum (15 to 20 lb) salmon. Lots of them, enough so there is a surplus and they can be fished with fly and spin, limit is two fish a day.

It's not legal to fish in the stream (they are there to spawn of course), but you can stand in the estuary (just at the mouth, but not in it) where they must pass to get upstream. Sometimes it is combat fishing, but can be fun as the chum are great fighters and with a tail like 'Red October' they can 'de-flyline' a guy in a heartbeat. My kind of fun for sure.

Well, I got spoiled (bored actually). I had the game down pat and it was not uncommon to have 20 to 40 fish days when things went right. So I took out my 'Broom-Fly-Rod.' Now, this thing was never intended to be fished. It's a tool used to help teach the double-haul. It will not load, and with it, "if ya ain't double-haulin,' ya ain't castin." It has a nine dollar reel and a twelve weight floating (weight-forward of course) line. In truth, it is a hoot to cast though and gets a lot of attention at some gatherings we attend.

So, with a fly and stout leader (OX I think) attached, we tread the short path to the streams mouth and joined the picket line of fly-flingers and spinning-slingers. Not all of these guys have their act together (meaning, not all of them have 20 to 40 fish days yet, a fact I had not taken into consideration) Within a few minutes of 'broom-casting' a bit off attention had fallen my way, not all of it the most complimentary either, some were suggestions of what I could do with the device rather than fish with it. These were summarily ignored and I proceeded to get down to business. My wife had been previously instructed on the use of the little point-and-shoot camera.

Again, forgetting that many there had been flailing about all day with no success at all, I was soon into a nice salmon. The reel is a single action, (no drag, no rim, no nothing) in fact it sticks a bit because it is somewhat bent. Anyhow, the fight was on so to speak. It's shallow at the estuary and often the play occurs in a foot to eighteen inches of water. Small rocks and a few oyster shells on the bottom and some mud. Good conditions to play a fish.

As often happens, a fish will opt for the open (deeper) water when hooked and while de-spooling your winch will spray your glasses with water in the process, these baby's move. My reel sounded like a thrashing machine and I did fear it may self-destruct, but it did not. It held on and so did I. Now, playing a fish on a long rod is one thing, but, a broom-rod adds another dimension altogether. It my have been just as easy to play the fish on the reel only for all the good the broom did.

But in true 'J Castwell' fashion, I persevered and soon had the beast at my feet.

With a trained actors sweeping gesture I tailed the creature and proudly displayed it for the camera, and all the gathered gallery of 'well wishers,'( ya, right.) Deftly, and with as much ceremony as I possibly could gin up, I carefully released the fish to join his buddies and party he had come for. This was met with a few rather not well chosen remarks by my now new found best friends, many thinking it would have been far better had they become the recipient of said salmon.

I thought better of attempting a repeat of the episode and with a full wave of my deepest gratitude bid all a fond farewell and we split.

All in all, it was a hoot, it was fun, we had a grand time, but, it sure was a silly thing to have done. I suggest, though, you give it a try sometime, but, be sure of an clear exit route from the water just in case. ~ ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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