Watchin' For You!

J. Castwell
August 31st, 1998

Old dog-New tricks

I recently had another lesson in fishing. As usual, I was not aware of it at the time. It was on that salmon/sturgeon fishing trip in August. My wife and I decided for our 25th anniversary to go after some coho (silver salmon) at Seaside, Oregon. We booked a charter boat with a few other folks and arose early on the day of departure. Through no fault of ours, we arrived late, the boat had left an hour before. After some maneuvering we made contact and the boat swung into a dock downstream and we boarded.

So much for the set up of the lessons. We were introduced to the others as the Captain rammed the throttle forward and roared out to the center of the huge Columbia river. After about ten minutes of travel we slowed to a stop and he let out the anchor; we were only in about fifty feet of river water. The others folks swung the short boat rods over the side and waited. The deck-hand went to each and with a practiced ease, flung the lead and herring combination about sixty feet from the boat.

When he came to me he started to do the same thing and I asked for some information as to what can I expect and exactly what should I do. Had I not asked, I am sure he would have told me something, just not as much stuff as I wanted to know. The question must have sparked something in him and he gave me a full and detailed answer. As he did, I would ask some simple questions, to make sure I understood exactly what he was telling me. This seemed to form a sort of bond between us. All through the day any time I had a question, I felt no embarrassment to again inquire.

I listened intently as he explained that the fish did not like the bait to move. Keep it still. Well, the boat was swinging with the anchor and I would let out line or take some in to keep the bait form dragging on the bottom (mending my line?). I noticed that the others didn't do this; the tips of their rods would keep bobbing as the bait bumped along. The deck-hand also told my what a bite would feel like; in exact detail. I listened. I also got the first sturgeon. I got the biggest sturgeon. I got the most sturgeon.

Why? Probably just luck. But, you will have a hard time convincing me that was the only reason. As I was shown, when a fish bites, lower the rod tip. Let it take some line. On one fish I had to strip some line off the rod to be able to pay out some slack to it. With the rod pointed straight at the fish, I came back solid to no more than a ninety degree angle to the line so as not to create any slack.

The Lady and Captain Leo

I guess my point is, I was more than ready to admit I knew nothing about what we were supposed to do out there. And by being willing to ask was well rewarded with all the details. We became friends and I left a nice tip at the end of the trip as well. I had a great time and learned a bit of sturgeon fishing.

My second point is this. Unbeknown to us, before we had boarded that day, one of the others had informed all within ear-shot, (the Captain and deck-hand included) he knew all there was to know about sturgeon fishing. I have no idea if he asked any questions. I have no idea if anyone gave him any information; I rather doubt they did. He did not get any sturgeon. He never got a bite. How did the Captain feel about this? I don't know. I do know they were happy for us, and I won the hat for the biggest fish. Case closed.~JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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