Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Salmon Three-peat!

Emboldened by our meager success at catching a spring salmon, and in an effort to prove if the new fishing spots we'd found were legit, we struck out for another day of Spring Salmon fishing out from St. Helens, OR.

We made sure to take the lucky fish-dog, too.

The trollers didn't seem to have much action, so rather than playing bumper-boats with the masses, we went and scoped out our anchor spot along Sand Island. Seems the word was out - at least 300 boats were starting to anchor in the early morning, "pre-tide" mayhem.

We took some extra time to chart out the depth along the island. After several other boats were jockeying for their hopeful anchor spot and giving us dirty looks, we cheerfully let them have their spots and moved out to deeper water where the unusual currents and contours of the riverbottom showed us promise.

We anchored up well outside of the boats that were huddled closely together.

Our new spot from the day before paid off immediately!

Fish on!

Doh! Wild fish. Oh well - better to have loved and released, than to have never loved, right?

Things were looking pretty good...

After a friendly visit from a friend and his wet dog, we knew luck was on our side.

As he left, our friend gave us some blue juice for soaking our herring in. The special, 'secret' sause everyone has been talking about!

There were even more Bankies out fishing than the previous trip!

We forgot our cowbell - someday we'll take it and hope to get video of ringing it to get them to race out to their rods!

The bankies really put on a show. The whole morning we only saw a boat catch 1 fish - and that was our boat. The bankies caught at least 8 that we saw, in the first few hours...

We didn't have any sardines, but tried to soak in our blue-sauce...

Good practice with the knife - filleting these little dudes.

After 45 minutes from the first, wild fish the other rod went off.

Fish on!

Its a keeper!

And another teenager gets his first Spring Salmon, ever.

There is nothin' like a big, cold, slimy fish to warm up an early spring day!

Now the rest of the boats were getting more friendly with us... still no other action for any other boat in the area. It is a fun feeling being the center of attention in the hogline!

We wrapped a couple of kwikfish with our soaking herring fillets and flew them for a little while to see if the blue-gue would work its magic for us.

A pretty good wrap-job, huh!
At least the blue-gue washed off the boat better than off our fingers - it left a pretty good stain!
Oh well - it is easier to spot a fellow-fisher-person in the store by their stained fingers. Part of the brotha-hood.

And then, about an hour after the first keeper, the fishing pole goes off again! Right on!
The boy gave me some lame excuse about the other pole not working... said the reel was broken. Yeah, great timing!

He took the fish, and we got it to the boat. What a beauty! This keeper was about 17 lbs, and fat.

And the fishing was over just like that! Three fish in about 3 hours, with no other action (other than the bankies putting on a show) around. The new spot paid off!
We were back to the boat launch by 11am - and the first boat checked by the fish counter. He started his day off at 100% catch rate.

A real nice pile of meat, too.
The boy felt guilty for fighting all of the fish, but having the kids catch them is much more fun. Besides, I got to set the hook and fight the bigger one - he just brought it to the boat for netting, and I'd rather do the netting so it doesn't get crackered.
Seeing a happy kid with a big fish is way better, anyway. I told him when I'm old he can make it up to me and take me out fishing, so all I have to do is sit there and reel in fish. No blue-dyed fingers, no runnin' the boat... just sitting, laughing, and reeling in fish.
Life is good.