Catch a Big Fish and Win a Million!!

My boys and I always talk about catching record fish and how cool that would be.  Mustad has now come up with a million reasons to go out and do more than talk.  Mustad is having their Hook A Million contest.  Catch an IGFA all tackle world record on a Mustad hook and you could win $1,000,000.  Catch a state record and it could mean $100,000 in your pocket.  All you have to do is register at www.mustad.no and go fish.  The contest runs from October 1, 2011 thru September 30, 2012.

The eligible species for this contest are largemouth bass, white crappie, walleye, and channel catfish in the freshwater, calico bass, redfish, speckled trout,and yellowfin tuna in the saltwater and coho salmon and striped bass in either.  This gives NW anglers 5 different  species that swim on our waters to choose from, coho, largemouth bass, white crappie, walleye, and channel catfish.

The opportunity to catch a world or state record and make money doing it got me curious about what I would be up against.  There’s no question that the anglers in Washington State have made this no easy task.  The state saltwater record for coho salmon is 25.34 lbs caught by Martin Cooper fishing out of Seiku September 28, 2001.  For freshwater coho it’s 25.27 lbs caught by Brad Wilson fishing on the Quinalt River on November 11, 2001.  For Walleye, the record was set February 5th, 2007 by Mike Hepper.  His monster Walleye weighed in at 19.3 lbs and was caught on the Columbia neat Walla Walla.  The largest of the state records eligible for this contest is the 36.20 channel catfish caught by Ross Kincaid September 6, 1999.  He caught his fish while fishing the I-82 pond #6 in Yakima County.  From the largest to the smallest, we drop down to the 2.80 lb white crappie state record.  This fish was caught by Don J Benson on July 21, 1988 while fishing the Burbank Slough in Walla Walla County.  Last but certainly not least is the longest standing state record eligible for this contest.  The largemouth bass record has been standing since 1977.  The 11.57 lb bass was caught by Carl Pruitt fishing Banks Lake.

Other notable state record fish are smallmouth bass at 8.75 lbs, halibut at 288 lbs, chinook (saltwater) at 70.50 lbs, chinook (freshwater) at 68.26 lbs, Steelhead (summer) at 35.06, steelhead (winter) at 32.75, striped marlin 134 lbs, and most importantly, albacore at 52 lbs.

For the IGFA world records go to www.igfa.com.

Potential state record yellowtail.

As I sat down to write this I received news of a pending state yellowtail record.  This fish was caught during the 2011 Washington Tuna Classic and doubled the 10.72 lb size of the previous record set by Dane Ledbetter fishing out of Westport in August of last year.

 

Ouch!!

I was having lunch with a few friends last week and somehow we got around to telling stories about funny mishaps we had on our boats.  I remember sitting there laughing and thinking to myself, “Boy, I’m sure glad I don’t have stuff like that go on anymore, I mean I’m pretty dialed, a real pro”.  Well, as you probably know already, that kind of attitude will cost you.

You see, instead of sitting here writing this blog right now, I am supposed to be 40 miles off the coast of Washington reeling in my 20th tuna for the day.  Instead, I have been back and forth to the boat launch three times, had multiple repairs done on my trailer, and I am now sitting and waiting on a call to tell me that the fiberglass repair is done on my boat.

What happened you ask?  Well, as many of you know, I’ve got a fairly big boat to trailer but we generally do a pretty good job with it.  Recently, instead of having my wife or son drive it on, we have walked the boat on and thenpowered it on.  It has worked great and I have noticed a little less nervousness on my wife’s part.  This time however, it didn’t work so well.  I purposely did not back the trailer down as far as normal.  I thought that this would allow the guides to help a bit more and make things even easier.

What I learned though, is that by not backing the trailer down as far, it caused the bow of my boat to split my forward bunks and turn them outward which, of course, exposes metal to fiberglass.  This is not good.  I didn’t realize what had happened until we had the boat out of the water and we were strapping it down.  I couldn’t help but notice the two, long, half inch deep scrapes out of my fiberglass.  I wondered how this had happened and after a little investigation, I noticed that by bunks weren’t even connected to the trailer any longer.  Thankfully we didn’t head down the road before we noticed what had happened.  Who knows what kind of damaged we could have caused.

A special thanks to Tom and the good people at Seattle Boat in Bellevue.  Tom has always looked out for not only me but all everyone that has ever brought a boat in for service there.  They’re getting my trailer and boat repaired and in time for me to fish the Ilwaco OTC event this weekend.

 

Time To Go Tuna Fishing!!

We talk on the show all the time about the tuna highway, targeting the warm water, and fishing the edges of the chlorophyll.  If your just listening to the show then you might not have any idea what we are talking about or where you can start looking for this type of information.  Hopefully this blog will clear that up for you and as always, if you do have additional questions, you can leave a question or comment at the end.

The first thing that tuna addicts like myself start looking for is the formation of what’s called the tuna highway.  As you can see on this chart below, albacore tuna that NW anglers target migrate the open ocean between the west coast of the US and Japan.  They arrive on our shores by following the flow of warm water currents to our shores.

While you might look at a sea surface temperature chart  and see the warm water off our coast due to runout from the Columbia and other river systems, the albacore don’t show up until that warm water connects to the warm water south of here.  Once that happens, we have what’s known as the tuna highway and it’s just a matter of time before the albacore show.

In the above example you can see the push of the warm water off the NW coast but it still hasn’t connected to the warmer water off the entral California coast.  In the example below, you can see a solid line of warm water all the way up. Once you see this, it’s time to start looking for a specific spot to target in you area.

Albacore prefer temperatures ranging from 58 to 64 degrees.  With this in mind, many people look for temp breaks, areas where the temp suddenly jumps, before deploying their gear and starting their troll.  The chart below shows the SST’s off the coast of Washington in a little more detail, keeping in mind that adult albacore also prefer depths of  at least 1,250 feet, look for good edges and  temperature breaks of a degree or more as places to start your search.

Once you an area with good temps targeted, the next thing you need to do is look at a chlorophyll chart.  Chlorophyll is a good indication of the amount of plankton, which is essentially the amount of food in the water in a given area.  If you can find a spot that has good concentrations of chlorophyll to match your temps then you have found an area where bait and fish should be concentrated.  You can often see a distinct line of blue and green water, if you do, target this area by trolling in and out and along the edges.

Websites like NOAA, Terrafin, and Ripcharts provide these SSTand Chlorophyll charts and a  special thanks to Terrafin for allowing the use of these charts in this blog.  Now go out and catch some TUNA!

Fun, Sun and Fish in Florida!

One of the great things about fishing is that there is something for virtually everyone.  Nelly has his annual trip to Sitka and I have Florida.  One of the things that I love about fishing in Florida is the variety that it offers.  In two and a half days of fishing this past week, we caught 16 different kinds of fish and had shots at a few others. 

As with any fishing trip, timing is everything.  The fish have to be around and the weather has to co-operate so you can get to them.  Over the past couple of years, my timing hasn't been that good on my trips to Florida but this year has been a different story.  We've had great weather on or trips and the fishing has been incredible!  This trip was no different, we had flat calm seas and quick limits of grouper.  

Normally we try to anchor over a spot and chum the fish to us but with the seas being so calm we decided to drift and cover some water. By the time I got the boat stopped and said lines in, my dad was already pulling in a keeper sized red grouper. Mason and Sonya quickly followed and I hadn't even wet a line.  We marked our spot with a buoy and kept drifting over and around it for the next three hours as we sorted through one just short red after another before we got our limit.  We were using finger mullet, squid, sardines, jigs and swimbaits and all were equally successful.

 

While we were grouper fishing we couldn't help but notice all of the life out on the water, schools of bonita and small dorado were everywhere.  We decided to find out if there were any blackfin, bigger dorado or kingfish mixed in as well.  We did a little running and gunning after schools of fish busting the water.  Mason and Madden were on the bow tossing swimbaits and jigs into the feeding schools and pulling out bonita.  It wasn't what we wanted for the table but it sure did make for some nice bloody bait to use for shark fishing later in the week.

Day two was a carbon copy of the first day only we had my brother Jonathan on the boat as Sonya elected to stay home.  We went out to the same general area and before I could get a line wet fish were coming over the side.  We made pretty quick limits of red grouper and threw back some really nice gag grouper (closed season). Mason hooked up with a nice 37 inch cobia to top off the morning. 

 

After having seen all the life the day before, we made sure we came ready to do some trolling.  My brother Jonathan had just installed our new Cannon downriggers on the boat and I needed to show him how to use them.  Downriggers are just starting to become really popular in Florida and Cannon dominates the market. We rigged the downrigger rod with a spoon and dropped it down to about 20ft.  On the other side we had a plug with a small tuna feather on the shotgun rod.  It didn't take long and we had our first takedown on the downrigger.  Jonathan brought the spanish mackeral boatside for a "gentlemen's release". As he was putting the spoon back down a big kingfish hits and blisters Jon's thumb before he could get the bail flipped.  The birdsnest that ensued was one of the finest peices of work I've ever seen, no saving that line.  We trolled for short while longer and had a few more hits before Jonathan landed a final bonita.

With two great days offshore, we decided to stay close and fish for sharks off Anclote Key.   We made the 5 minute run and dropped anchor.  We were fishing a deep channel and hoping for a big shark while keeping our eye out for any tarpon that might be within casting distance.  We saw a tarpon in the distance tearing up some bait but we couldn't get that shallow with our boat. We decided to go to a differentspot where we had great success before.

This time the sharks showed up, first it was an 8ft hammerhead that decided to take a look at the boat after breaking us off.  I was up next and knew I had a nice one on when all of a sudden the shark goes airborn putting on a show like he thought he was a marlin.  Unfortunately, a minute later the line snapped and I had nothing to show for it.  We did manage to land a few sharks but the ones landed were on the small side.  The plan had been to just fish the first few hours of the morning outgoing tide and then head back to the house.  Mason had talked his grandpa into some BBQ and if there is anything we Tobeck's like as much as fishing, it's a good BBQ.      
 

Mia and I Got Our New Athens Archery Bows!!

One of the exciting things going on for me right now is the prospect of deer hunting this fall.  I remember hunting with my dad as a kid but as I got older and started playing football and basketball it seemed that there just wasn't any time to dedicate to hunting.  As I got older and my NFL career was taking off, I figured that hunting just wasn't in the cards for me.  It had been so long since I had even shot a rifle or bow that I didn't even really know where to start. 

Sometimes though, life has a funny way of bringing us back around.  While my boys and I really enjoy being on the water chasing fish, neither one of them ever really expressed a desire to go sit in the woods with a rifle in hand.  It was my daughter Mia that kept bringing up the prospect of hunting.  At first I thought maybe she was saying it in jest or that it was just a phase but as time passed it became apparent it was something that she really wanted to do.  When I saw the youth hunt available for auction at this years CCA SeaTac auction, I knew that if I was ever going to start hunting again, then this was it.  I knew that having this opportunity to do something like this with my daughter would be a real motivator for me. 

This hunt was provided by Thomas Milfsud of NW Hunting Addicts and after calling and talking to him for awhile he new he was going to have his work cut out to get us ready.  He mentioned that he would be able to get us hooked up with some new Athens Archery Bows and then teach us the basics as we work to get to the level that we need to be.  This past week was our first introduction to our new Athens Bows and both Mia and I were immediately hooked.

Mia was up first and as she took aim at her first 20 yard target.  As a proud dad I was nervous for her first few shots but she was calm and confident.  I have no doubt that she'll do well when she draws the bow for the first time on a deer.

 I couldn't believe her first spread at 20 yards, almost every arrow was in the kill zone. Now the pressure was on dad to see how he would perform.  I couldn't be outdone by my 13 year old daughter, could I?

Thomas did a great job of giving us coaching points that we could use for immediate success.  By the end of the day both Mia and I felt confident and couldn't wait to get back out and practice.

Thanks again Thomas for all the help and thanks to Athens Archery for helping us get set up with some top of the line bows.  Keep track of our progress on the Outdoor Line Forums Hunting Camp page.

NW Bass Lake Washington Qualifer

In years with normal springtime temperatures, the middle of May would represent nonstop action for bass. There is no better time of year to target big bass in shallow water.  It's no wonder that even the average weekend warrior has to feel they have a chance of winning when fishing a bass tourney this time of year.  This however isn't the average year and when conditions are tough like they have been this year, the cream always rises to the top.  That was proven true again this year in the NW Bass Lake Washington Qualifer.  With water temps a month or more behind, and our warmest week of the year leading up to the qualifier, it was anyone's guess where the fish would be located.  Conditions like this are where experience and instinct come into play.  

 

 Marc Marcantonio and Mike Matkowski.

 

Anglers battled it out to just minutes before weigh-ins.

Nothing beats a bass boat when it comes to covering water.

Gary Stiles, the man behind NW Bass was our guest on the show this past saturday and when asked about some of the anglers that had the best chance, two of the names he mentioned placed in the top three.  Ron Hobbs Jr. and Marc Marcantionio, both guests in the past on TOL, led the way.  Ron Hobbs was coming off a win the week before in the American Bass tourney on Lake Washington but with changing conditions, he made the call to fish a completely different area than he fished the week before.  Making the call to not even fish an area that had been so good to you the week before took guts but using the instincts that Hobbs Jr and his partner, Mike Wolsky, posses , it was the only call that made sense.  Marc Marcantonio and his partner, Mike Matkowski, used the experience they have to target a few areas that they knew should be holding fish but knowing that cold springtime weather had slowed the fish from moving up on beds to spawn they fished those areas a little differently than they would normally have fished them this time of year.  Their call was the right call as they caught and released over 20 fish.

 

Ron Hobbs Jr. telling the story of how he and Mike Wolsky came away with the win.

In Hail Mary fashion, 2nd place finisher's Ruffin Hernandez and

Tyler Walcker caught a nice largemouth on the last cast of the day to put

 them in second place.

Marc Marcantonio accepting his plaque and check for third place.

All-in-all, 64 teams fished this years tourney and almost sixteen grand was paid out.  Points were also awarded for teams trying to qualify for this years championship in September.

 

 

It’s May, Get Outside!

Even though mother nature may not realize it, the calendar does say May and for me, May is when it really gets fun living here in the NW.  Gone are the dark and rainy days of winter spent out on the water in less than desirable conditions. May for me, represents spring time, long days, and opportunity on the water.  Some of the best tasting critters in the water can be harvested in May and I make plans to take full advantage of it every year.  Shrimp, lingcod, and halibut are on every saltwater fisherman's menu this month.  For the freshwater guys, trout, bass, walleye, and flyfishing opportunities heat up. 

Around the Tobeck house, May marks the time when we can walk outside the house and target bass in shallow water.  Unfortunately, this year the weather has been less than stellar and the water hasn't quite warmed enough on the south end of Lake Wa. for the bass to move up shallow in any numbers.  It took me until last night (12th) to catch the first bass of the year from shore. My neighbors must think I am crazy after I let out a yell over that one pounder but around our house that first bass of the year really means something, bragging rights until next year.

Madden with a Lake Wa. smallie caught from the beach.

Another opportunity that I never miss is the shrimp opener in Puget Sound.  I have had years where the boys had baseball games and I had to drop pots, drive to Puyallup for the game and get back just in time to pull my pots before time was up.  It was work, but it was fun work and the rewards for all that work are in my opinion the tastiest morsels God put in the ocean. This year took some planning as well.  Nelly and I had talked about hitting the opener together but wanted to have our pots in the water soaking while we were still on the air.  Problem was, who does Nelly trust to run his boat without him on it?  The answer was Ray Gombiski.  He and his wife Kelly dropped the pots off Camano and met us back at the dock after the show.  We quickly hurried out and starting working our pots.  The shrimp were some of the biggest I had seen come out of Puget Sound and we limited the boat by 1 that afternoon. 

 

A limit in one pull is cause for celebration.

Bottomfishing is something that I guess was bred into me.  Growing up, my dad always loved to bottomfish and when we went fishing, that's what we did.  Here in the NW, there is no better time to bottomfish than right now.  With limited halibut opportunity to start with, you have to get out while the getting is good and the getting is good right now.  From close to home spots such as Mutiny Bay or the banks off Port Townsend, all the way out to the coast, halibut are being caught and the last few years have been really productive for halibut anglers in all marine areas.  I like to spend my time halibut fishing on the coast.  The richness of life off the coast of Wa. always amazes me.  Not only are the halibut plentiful but the opportunities to catch lincod, rockfish, and other bottomfish are there as well and really make the trip out to the coast pay off.

Ryan Dent with his first Halibut out of Westport.

After flying 40 miles out in the ocean, this bird decided to hitch a ride home.

We took all day to land our halibut but the lings came in a flurry.

If your looking for opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors, there is no better time than from right now on through September. Don't let this summer pass you by, get out and enjoy it, cold, windy, and rainy winter will be here before you know it.

 

   

Boat Cleaning 101

We have quite a bit of fun on the show and on the forums debating the virtues of aluminum vs fiberglass boats.  For me, it's glass all the way and I don't see that ever changing, but there is one area where I have to admit that I get a little jealous of the metal boats.  When it comes time to clean, you metal boat guys have it made, a good high pressure hose and your done.  For us glass boat owners however, it's a different story.  Here in the NW we have to deal with lot's of rain, dirt, mold, bird residue, spiders, and various other bugs that like to wreak havoc and set up shop on our boats. For us fiberglass boat owners it takes an aresenal of products and some elbow grease to protect our gelcoat and keep our investment looking great.

The excitment always seems to grow a little when heading out for a day on the water and your stepping on to a nice, clean, shiny boat.  To be able to do this however, you must leave the boat that way after every trip.  Some trips require more cleaning afterwards than others but at a minumum, a good washdown with some spot cleaning is neccessary after every trip.  Even if you left your boat sitting in the slip, clean as a whistle last time you used it, if it sits awhile it will gather dirt.  Some cleaning in between trips may even be neccessary. 

The starting point for keeping that show floor sparkle and also protecting your gelcoat is applying a polish at least twice a year.  The sun can really damage your gelcoat over time and a good high gloss marine polish works as a conditioner that restores valuable oils to feed and nourish the fiberglass.  I always use just a polish as the polish/cleaner combo's can be abrasive.  Another benefit of polishing the boat is that it removes much of the dirt and black streaks that simple washing won't take off.  The technique is simple, just pour on the polish, take a clean, soft, cotton cloth and rub.  After the polish dries, simply take another cloth and wipe clean.  It's that simple to restore that shine and it can be a nice way to spend the day at the boat, listening to some tunes, and catching some rays.

When cleaning the boat after a good day of fishing, I always use a wash and wax designed specifically for boats.  I like to use the wash and wax not only to clean with but the wax helps protect  that glossy finish that you just got from polishing.  Most of these cleaners come in concentrated form but I usually just spray down the boat and dump some the wash and wax directly on to the surface and scrub with a medium brush.  With the higher concentration of cleaner, my boat seems to shine with less effort from me.

Some of the other products that you will need from time to time are things like bird and spider stain remover, black streak remover, vinyl polish and protectant, windex, mold and mildew remover, rust stain remover, and metal polish.  Every spring and fall, flocks of birds bomb my boat and the stains that they leave behind can be difficult to remove.  Likewise, if your keeping your boat on freshwater, spiders appear out of nowhere and take up residency on your boat, not caring about the mess they leave. My personal favorite is when an invited guest on the boat shows up with black boots or sneakers that leave streaks everywhere on your boat. No matter what kind of grime you have on your boat, never fear, there is a product out there designed to wipe it clean.

It may take some work, but it's work I don't mind doing.  A boat is a very big investment and something to take pride in.

The One That Got Away

For the past few years, every time I've traveled back to Florida to see the family and do a little fishing, I’ve been met with windy weather.

So far, 2011 is shaping up to be pretty darn good as my Florida Keys trip in January was perhaps some of the best mixed bag fishing I have ever seen and this past trip with the kids for spring break proved to be productive as well with limits of grouper and battles with mystery fish.

Our trips to Florida to see the family for spring break are always very busy as we never get a full week but just a matter of days.

By the time you see family, spend some time at the beach, and take a day with the girls at one of Florida's amusement parks, this time it was Universal for the new Harry Potter exhibit, it usually leaves only a day to go fishing.  With grouper season just opening up April 1st and some colder water hanging around keeping the majority of kingfish further south it was a no brainer, we were going after some tasty grouper.

Mason with Uncle Jon

Our favorite grouper target, gag grouper, were still closed in federal waters but my brother Jonathan knew of a few spots for some nice red grouper.  We launched the boat in Clearwater and went about 30 miles out on 2ft seas arriving at our waypoint full of anticipation.  Jonathan readied the anchor, as I maneuvered the boat into position, my dad and Mason both readied their rods as it’s always a race to land the first fish. Once we got anchored up it didn't take more than just a few minutes and it was fish on.

We were fishing an area of cheesy limestone bottom, using a chum block to get a slick going. Threadfin, mackerel, squid and live pinfish that the boys had been catching off the dock were our baits.  In the gulf, red grouper have to be at least 20 inches for rec anglers to keep.  (Only 16, I believe, for commercials, go figure.)  We waded through grouper after grouper with one after another being 18 or 19 inches.  Finally, my brother Jonathan hooked up with a keeper size grouper and then it was just a matter of time before we had six keepers on the boat. 

One of the things that I always do when I am bottom fishing in the gulf is set up a live bait on top with a bait runner and hope that something big and hungry swims by.  As we were trying to catch two more reds to finish out our limit, the bait runner went off but by the time I could get to it the fish was gone.  I reeled in to check my bait and saw only half of a big pinfish.  We figured it had to be a toothy kingfish so I re-baited and tossed back out.  A few minutes later, another zing and this time I lost the entire set-up as the fish severed the fluorocarbon leader with its razor teeth.  Determined, I re-baited and tossed the big pinfish behind the boat avoiding the hungry bird that kept trying to get an easy meal.  

 After some time went by my dad caught a nice keeper sized gag grouper that we had to release but other than that the bite really slowed down.  Just as we were talking about pulling anchor and trolling our way back in, the top rod went off again.  This time the fish stayed buttoned as I set the hook and handed off the rod to Mason.  I stopped passing the rod off to my son a few years back because he does a great job at catching more than his share of fish and his rubbing it in to the old man was more than I could handle.  This time however, I figured that he was the only one on the boat that hadn’t caught a kingfish and I wanted him to have the experience. 

 

It hurt my dad to have to throw this one back

It turns out that what I thought was going to be a nice little first king mackerel for my son turned out to be an hour and forty minute test of will between Mason and whatever we has on the end of the line.  It was forty-five minutes into the fight when we first saw color.  We couldn’t tell what we had however; we just knew that it was big.  Could it be a big king?  Tuna?  How about amberjack?  After some debate and looking at the way it was fighting we decided that it had to be a big AJ.  All fish in the jack family are known for their hard fighting abilities and Mason would attest, this fish wouldn’t budge. 

Mason continued to battle as time went on, I lit a cigar and cracked a beer, I could tell we weren’t going anywhere soon.  The fish stayed a comfortable distance from the boat and teased us with a flash of color before it made another run, tearing line off the reel just as fast as it did on its initial run.  My brother Jon and I debated whether or not we should drop the anchor but I ruled it out as I thought it was just going to be a short while and Mason would have this fish bested.  Turns out I made the wrong call. 

After 100 minutes of Mason and this fish going toe to fin, the fish had finally had enough of play time.

Mason yelled for us to drop the anchor as the fish made one last blistering run.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it done fast enough.  Mason kept saying we were wrapped up in the anchor rope but Jon and I just couldn’t accept it.  We cut the rope and left the anchor sit just hoping the rope would fall through but it didn’t, and eventually SNAP!  It was over!

Mason was exhausted in the Florida heat, my dad, brother, and I all sat silently as we contemplated what might have been.  Even though we had a great day of fishing, we couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

Oh well, we had a great story and I’m sure we’ll have years of talking about the fish that got away.

Rob Tobeck
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com 

    

 

 

 

 

Screamin Reels!

I take some heat from time to time on the show for my so called aversion to river fishing.  While it's no secret I love to be on the salt or on the big lake, I like catching fish in any body of water, heck, I used to own a driftboat so cut me some slack.  Sometimes fishing is about choices and when it comes down to making a choice of where I'm gonna fish on any given day, it always seems that fishing on the Salmon Hawk wins out.  However, when Derek Anderson sent Robbo and I an email in early January inviting us to fish the Cowlitz with him in early March, well it didn't take long for me to hit the reply button and mark it on my calendar.  I've known Derek for a few years now but I've never had the chance to fish with him, this wasn't an opportunity that I was going to pass up. 

The alarm went off about 4:30 but I had already been awake for about a half hour anticipating the day of fishing.  The plan was for me to meet Robbo in Tacoma and carpool on down to the Cowlitz where we would meet up with Derek and one of his customers and my and Robbo's new friend, Keith Johansen of Johansen Mechanical in Woodinville.  When we got there, Derek and Keith were already in the sled waiting so we hopped out of the truck, threw on the Grundens and jumped aboard Derek's sled. 

The river was running high and fast so the plan was to back troll with divers and some cured shrimp.  About 3 minutes after hopping on board, it was lines in and we were fishing.  We hit a few spots as Derek and Robbo talked different techniques. I spent my time listening and trying to pick up as much as I could from the two steelhead pros. 

We were on about our third hole when I looked over Keith's shoulder to see one of the back rods dancing.  Robbo yelled fish on, Keith jumped on it and Derek grabbed the net.  Keith played the fish perfectly as Robbo and I grabbed our cameras.  True to form this chrome bright steelhead made a couple of jumps and put on a nice show for us.  Unfortunately my trigger finger was just a little slow as I got some almost amazing pics.  Soon, Keith got the fish next to the boat, Derek got the net around it, and it was high fives all around.

 

 

Shortly after landing the fish it was time to eat a little lunch.  We were all in for a big surprise as Derek had brought some moose steaks for the grill.  I had never had any moose so I was really looking forward to trying it.  Derek had it marinating in some steak seasoning and italian dressing.  Keith fired up the grill, threw on the steaks and started cutting some smoked cheese to go with my smoked tuna for an appetizer.  Not only did we just boat a nice fish, we were also eating like kings.

Unfortunately, even though the fishing was fun and the food was great, the weather wasn't.  With full bellies and fish in the box, we decided to call it a great day after another squall started dumping on us.  If your like me and don't get out on our many great rivers in this state very often or even if your an old dog looking for some new tricks, then book a trip with Derek. Thanks for a great day out on the Cowlitz Derek.