Monday, July 21, 2014

Raft and Spinner

Two coastal summer steelhead I caught four days ago.

Surf perch add variety to your fishing. 
On my way home to Whidbey, an inland river a few days ago produced two more steelhead.
With notable exceptions, Hemingway was right in that humans destroy life, and nature brings it back.  Certainly that theme is in his story about trout fishing, "Big Two-Hearted River."  In my experience, to bring it back, there is nothing like floating a coastal river in Oregon or Washington in July for summer steelhead.  The few inches of water in some riffles mostly restricts access to pontoons, kayaks, and rafts. Many times I float all day in remote areas without seeing another floater.

For 30 years, my lure of choice in low water has been a 3/8 ounce Panther Martin with gold blade, and black yellow-dotted body.  Snip off two of the hooks so your single hook won't injure trout and smolts the way a treble does.

Here is my checklist:

> fish license and gear
> boat license if needed
> needle nose pliers (leave wild fish in water, and wet hands before you touch any fish)
> file to sharpen hooks dulled by snags
> water and food
> sun hat
> oars
> extra oarlocks
> fish bag with ice
> arrange shuttle or use bike
> bug repellent 
> sunscreen
> TP in ziplock bag (carry this out)
> sunglasses
> anchor and rope
> life vest
> shoes with felt and steel nubs to prevent falls
> raft patch kit
> bring fishing buddy or leave note about your plans
> pen and notebook to write poems
> backup fishing rod and reel
> backup glasses
> large sponge to bail water

Here are two poems I wrote on my last float:

July Moon

Maybe death is like the day
I floated a coastal river
so tranced by summer steelhead,
periwinkle cities, and wildflower scents,
I missed the boat ramp,
and miles below discovered
I didn't care
but kept fishing
under the warm July moon.


After two days without speaking,
the river speaks below my raft,
and steelhead whisper
how they are going to
whack the hell
out of my spinner.

Each day of my life
the river flowed
in this canyon beneath sentinel spruce.
I had a real choice
to be here or not,
and much too often
I  chose wrong.

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