J. Castwell
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.

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

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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