funny fishing story

Theres a First Time for Everything-Cpt.Quinn

Author, struggling with spey casting for the first time.As we lined up to fill our plates at the only chinese smorgasbord in town, it marked the end of a long day spent working the cold waters for winter run steelhead. I was just grabbing a plate when I heard a voice say: "does he know that he has got a fly stuck to his back?" I turned to catch the gaze of the orator. It was our friend Brendan, a guide from Campbell River who was presently trying to wrestle a sweet an sour chicken ball into his yap with a pair of chopsticks. I made my way into the mens room to investigate the situation and sure enough there was the large pink fly that I thought I had lost earlier that day embedded deep into the wool fabric of my Stanfield sweater. "Huh, I said to myself, I was wondering where that went." I could hear the other two party members Big E and Paul howling back at the table.

It was my first time with the Spey rod and needless to say I spent more time in the trees than a monkey would in a day. I successfully hooked my self in the shoulder, back and ass. Halfway through the day I had a really good grasp on how to hook myself but figuring out how to hook a fish was another story. To a bystander, I am sure I must have looked more like a drunken trick roper than a fisherman but that didn't matter to me because I was fishing. Joined by friends, participating in an activity that allows me to express my connection with the incredible surrounding environment.

The trees leaning over the river bank, marking the edge of the riparian zone, appeared as though they had been dusted gently with frosting and the thin layer of snow covering the ground gave everything that clean crisp winter look. It was cold, the kind of cold that renders your fingers useless. Fortunately, changing tackle wasn't something that we would be doing often; a large pink fly is all you need when trying to hook a winter steelhead. That and the means to get it in front of the fish. A means that I didn't quite have just yet. However, it wasnt too long before Brendan made it apparent that his technique was more than adequate enough to entice a strike out of one of these winsome fish. 

I was fishing upstream, struggling with my "perry poke" when I heard my long time fishing partner Big E shout: "Brendan's got one." Not wanting to miss out on any of the action, I tossed my rod into the toolies and sprinted downstream to where Brendan was standing, rod tip up, at the end of the tail-out with a nice looking steelie thrashing in front of him.

My heart rate picked up as this fish got ready for landing. Brendan took a step back into the slower moving shallow water and in came this spectacular 14 pound buck with a flash of red down his side, indicating that he has probably been in the system for a while. Brendan tailed it, popped the hook out, Paul snapped a photo, and away the fish went back into the cold waters from which he came, kind of like a magic trick.Brendan with his 14 pound winter steelie.

High fives were exchanged and then it was back to business. The remainder of the 3 day trip saw one more chrome Steelie landed by Big E at the same pool 2 days later.

I went 3 long days without a bite although it wasn't for a lack of effort. At the end of the last day, I finally started to figure out my "d-loops" and pick up on some of the concepts behind spey casting. I have been single hand fly fishing for 18 years now and can "double haul" and "roll cast" my fly through most waters. Despite all my efforts with the single hand, casting a Spey rod for the first time was quite the humbling experience.

Big E with his 8 pound chromer.

You may think that the painful hours spent in a tangled mess freezing my beans off, only to catch a large skunk in the end, would be enough of an experience to leave a bitter taste in my mouth. Never picking up a spey rod again may seem like the sensible thing to do, but it has been quite the opposite. After that fishing trip I've discovered a new found love for the sport and a new world though which I can learn and explore. I am excited at the prospect of figuring out how to spey cast well. I have since purchased the instructional video "Skagit Masters" to help me along the way. To be honest I don't care how many days I spend fishing without a "strike" as long as I am outside with good friends and the prospect of catching a fish is in the air.

After all, it is the "fishing" part of fishing that keeps anglers coming back for more. Although I can't speak for everyone, the fish that I remember landing the most are the ones that I have worked the hardest for. Its like everything in life, the harder you work for it the more you appreciate it when it comes. It is in this light that I recommend to everyone the challenges that come with stepping out of your comfort zone, away from what is familiar and into the realm of trying new things for the first time like spey casting. I hope it opens up a new world from which you can learn and explore like it has done for me.

until next time keep on adventuring,

-Captain Quinn 

Buddies, Beer and Boat-no Bailer-Jeff

...Well my adventure all started while out on a lake in the interior of British Columbia on a sunny afternoon. The lake was, and still is called Okanagan lake.

We have a lovely cabin right on the lake, where I have spent many summers with the family. There's a motorboat that we use to tour around the lake during the hot summer days. We also have a canoe and a tin boat that sits 6 (but if you must, there is enough room to fit 8-10 people), which in my adventure, is exactly how many people we had in the tin boat or “tinny.” The tinny is ideal for rowing out into the middle of the lake and dropping a line to try and catch dinner for the night!. Doing this in the middle of the day is much safer than at night. This is where I hope my adventure can help you make better future decisions regarding whether or not, night fishing, without a flash light, wooden paddles, not enough life jackets and enough to drink to drown a baby whale is a good idea or not?

It was a beautiful afternoon the day myself and 7 of my friends went out to try and catch some food to put on the table, so we wouldn't have to have toast and jam again. The sun was yet to set.  We still had about 2-3 hours till it was too dark to see. Once we got a couple hundred meters off shore we stopped rowing and started to cast out a few lines into the deep blue. Right off the bat, the two inexperienced fishermen tangled their lines so bad, we had to cut loose one of the lines to save the other (not myself of course, I casted off into the opposite side of the boat of dumb and dumber). With only 2 hooks in the water and the sun setting, we think it is safe to say we got out smarted by the tricky trout swimming beneath us.  

It was windy but not too windy.  However, it was still strong enough to cause the tin boat to drift quite far off to the left of our cabin. Still being a couple hundred meters from shore we packed in the poles (making sure no one got hooked by a stray hook) and started paddling. We weren't able to find the wood paddles, so we had a pair of plastic paddles instead. The wind had pick'd up as soon as the sun set and we realized after about 10-20 minuets of paddling we weren't getting anywhere because we were paddling against the wind. My friend and I were paddling and everyone else in the boat said it was our fault that we weren't getting anywhere, so the fishing crew decided that we should give our paddles up. I handed off my paddle to the biggest guy in the boat, a 6'2", 240 pound man, whose power should easily be enough to get us to shore.  We were out of booze (which a lot of people tend to bring with them while they fish).  We didn't have a light and it was getting cold. So we starting to make our way back to our cabin. We were around a hundred meters off shore, almost in reach of the dock. We were so happy with our new paddler, every stroke getting us closer and closer to our destination, power after power, stroke after stroke, pushing the water behind us.

I was becoming more and more excited, as were the rest of the crew to get into the warm cabin. We stared to sing a sing a long to keep our motor (the 6'2" man rowing our boat ashore) going. We didn’t get through a full song when the unthinkable happened! The plastic paddle made for 12 and under broke! With one paddle left there was still hope, but not much. We quickly handed the plastic paddle to the strong buck and sure enough the paddle folded under the power of our rower. We had to think quick!

I grabbed one of the 3 life jackets we had aboard and jumped into the water grabbed the rope that was attached to the tinny and started swimming towards the cabin. Two of the other crew members grabbed the remaining life jackets and joined me. We were going to live.  We made our way towards shore, the cabin getting closer and closer.

Without a light, we knew it was unsafe to be out on the lake, when it was dark out but we all had a bit too much to drink, due to the fishing. So none of us thought too much about how unsafe it really was, we were just trying to get home. The two swimmers and I were getting quite tired from pulling the tinny with 5 other men in it, and were getting slower and slower. We were about 5 minuets from reaching the cabin when a group of people from a campsite started waving their hands and yelling at us. I thought they knew what we were going through and were cheering us on, since we were so close to our destination. Little did I know what they were trying to get through to us.  There was a speed boat heading straight for us! With very little time to react, every fisherman still in the boat stood up and jumped out of the tinny to the left. I slipped out of my lifejacket and got as far as I could below the surface. The speed boat didn't see us till the very last second and just missed us by a few feet! When I got back up to the surface I realized everyone was ok and that it was just a close call. Getting hit by a speed boat can cause serious injury or even death, so we were all so very lucky to be all right. The boat took on some water, so much in fact, that none of us could get back in without sinking it. We all grabbed on to the side of the boat and escorted it and our selves to safety. Once on shore we realized how lucky we were to be alive. Going through this ordeal, the only thing I thought that could come out of this adventure as a positive is if I told my story to other adventurers, so as to make sure that other adventurers don't make the same mistake we did.

Fishing can be a lot of fun and a great adventure, but make sure you make a check list and go through a safety procedure before heading out on the waters.