April 20th, 1998
True Confessions of a Chum Fisher
(As told to J. Castwell)
I have asked that my name be
withheld from this because several of you know me
as a "purist". I'm one of those guys that will extol
the virtues of the mighty chinook and the
invincible silver salmon. Oh yeah, some of you know me
alright. If you have ever fished off Point No Point, WA., I'm
one of those guys that can cast a fly line half way across the
sound. You, perhaps have even envied my ability; wishing you
could cast like me. Well, I didn't get to do that overnight. I've
worked at it, and I mean really worked at it for a good many
years. And you think to yourself "Jeeze, that guy makes it look
so easy". Well, it's not. It's work, believe me. I'm whipping ten
feet of rod, a heavy and rather expensive reel as well as what
seems like a half a mile of fly line back and forth so hard that
when I'm out of shape my stomach muscles get sore the next
day from it. And then there are you guys too. I know I have to
keep my back- cast up and off the shore, or you will get a big
laugh out of me trying to unhook my fly from one of those logs
that have blown up there.
Till next week, remember ...
But, anyway, like I said I'm
one of those guys. Those guys that have those
real neat waders made out of the best poly-whatever-it-is
they make these days. They aren't cheap either. And
neither is that rod you see me waving around;
several hundred, really. Well, anyway, the real skinny on the
subject is that I rarely catch anything at Point-No-Point.
There, the truth is finally out. Not that I don't have a good
time. Even sometimes a great time, cold and wet doesn't take
too much of the enjoyment out of it for me. In fact there have
been times when I haven't seen anything resembling a salmon
out there and have had to be content just to put up with the
sunset and the view of the mountain across the sound and if
I'm lucky, the moon showing up just as I wind up my line.
Hey, about this time you wonder,
what about that Chum Fisher thing. Hold on, I'm getting
there. My point is this. Yes, I am good with a fly rod; in
fact, very good. And yes, I do go to the right places, and
yes, once and a great while I do even catch a salmon out there.
But, mostly that's "blind-casting. You know, casting to the
whole ocean. No target, No fish. Just
casting. Well, that is a form of recreation, but mostly it's just
casting practice and it does start to wear thin after several
hours. I have been known to comment to anyone foolish
enough to accompany me on the ventures that "I've enjoyed
about all of this I can stand." And I meant it.
Anyway, on to the Chum Fishing
at last. Ready? O.K. Here it is. Each salmon season I
start thinking about those
ugly fishing-flies that people use for chum salmon.
Not the fancy, high-fashion, and rather expensive ones
that the "real salmon fishermen" use. The ones that are
all green stuff crammed on a hook. Chum candy, green
weeny, chum choker, gob-o-yarn; lousy names like that.
And I even tie up a few more just to make sure I don't run
out. I start talking only with my closest friends about the
up-coming chum season. Discussing places,
times, flies, strategies; things like that. I do make sure not
everyone knows I go after chum, only a few of my friends.
Fact is, they also go; so they somewhat do understand what I
am going through.
And then we go. And we cast to
chum. Chum salmon we can see. And we catch chum.
And they pull all of our fly line out. And most of the
two-hundred yards of backing line that's on the reel too.
And mostly we release them, but not always. I
don't know for sure why we do that; it just seems like the
right thing to do. Just say, it works for us. And so; now the
truth is out. For all our, or should I say my, extolling the virtues
of the "real" salmon; the best salmon fishing is in the fall and
it's with those crummy old chum salmon. Yours truly; — A
Friend of James Castwell