The rain let up and the sun peeked out over the Snake River drainage. Walking towards the river, I always feel a bit of confidence and approach the day with ‘here I come’ or ‘get ready to be netted’. Interestingly, even though I was carrying a giant spey rod with a reel that was the size of a pie plate, I still held a bit of pride and cocky-ness….which was quickly shattered.
The awesome friend/boss/guide/SpeyHeads Pro Staff, Terry Edelmann, was kind enough to interrupt his steelhead fishing to show me how in the heck to get this giant rod to shoot this medium sized bird (fly) across the river. The first time he showed me how to swing it, I laughed…. Like, ‘hahaha I’m so going to eat hook today’. Oh. My, Garsh. Never fish with people that are professionals, because they make it look so easy. (How cool is it when the professionals help the newbies though? Its rad, that’s how cool it is).
I look upstream and my friend, Angela Edelmann, is hitting her mark all the way across the river (she’s so cool). Then I peer downstream to watch Terry casting and his body is hardly moving; the rod and line whip around like they are taking orders from his brain directly.
I keep trying. I fold the arms, swing it around, stack up a D loop and then throw it out. But the single hand rod fisherwoman in me wants to throw that line behind me first, so what happens…. a hook comes flying right at the back of my head and nocks me in the hat. I laugh so that if someone else is watching they will know I think it’s funny and that I think learning is fun.
I kept trying and got a few good D loops, but then the next one would totally fail. Of course the worst one is when someone was watching- ok every one was bad actually. I felt bad for Terry who was looking up stream and most likely thinking, ‘this is painful to watch’. They both gave me some great pointers but my brain and arms were like on separate islands without wiffi to even message each other. At one point I asked Terry how this kind of casting doesn’t scare the fish away? He smiled and said, “Most of the time, people don’t hit the water like you are doing…”. We laughed. It was a hoot though. I was surprised that I did’t get frustrated because I don’t like not knowing what I’m doing, and to be in a river and looking like the psycho one was humbling. But when you are so excited to be learning how to spey cast and thankful to have brilliant people to emulate, just being there was an blast. I know after I have many more hours to practice and study, I’ll get er down.
In the meantime, I take pictures of spey things to make me look like I really am fishing for steelhead: Pieroway Rods are pretty sweet.
Later, Terry showed me how to do some snake rolls and I didn’t get it, but I found a sort of way to roll the line out to where I wanted it to go. No doubt it pained the people driving by to see me doing sparkler swirls with a spey rod but I was having fun. I wish they could have read my mind too because I was making up words to the popular rap song and singing ‘do the snake rolls, do the snake rolls’.
I wanted to see someone catch a steelhead so that it was reinforced in my brain that all of this moving around was really the best way to catch these monster fish. A salmon would burst out of the water and give us all hope and re-instill the desire to keep throwing lines around. I practiced for about two hours, which included me ducking about five times and then checking my fly to notice I had lost it most likley about an hour ago. Oh so that’s why I wasn’t catching anything, it was just because I didn’t have a fly on. 😉 I did catch a rock, which sent my blood pressure through the roof; it fought hard at first and then didn’t move much.
We took some breaks and cracked some jokes, then made it back to the cabins mid-day. I was thinking about stealing a switch rod and doing some nymphing in the afternoon to make me feel less like a loser. Terry’s pals at steelhead camp, amazing cooks and hilarious dudes, made us stellar breakfast burritos. Terry got random WIFII at the cabins and I used his phone to see if my sister, whom was going to be induced for labor on Thursday, was doing ok. My husband had messaged me, “Hana is in labor!!!!” Within minutes, my waders were torn off, my bags thrown in the car and my dear friend, Angela, forfeited the rest of her fishing day to drive like hell to the hospital in Pullman (that’s like a really good friend to stop fishing for me like that).
I told her I would pay for her speeding ticket. I kept getting messages, ‘almost time to push’ and then I would coordinate with my phone, ‘9 minutes to the hospital’. I was so thankful to make it just in time. I dove out of the car and ran to the delivery room, to be a part of her delivery team and welcome baby Landon to the world with my sisters and mom. Thank you Lord for WiFi, for a friend that was willing to forgo steelhead fishing, and especially a healthy baby boy and mama!!! (I would never live down missing my nephew’s delivery because I was fishing…some things you never recover from. God knew I needed to make it haha.)
I didn’t catch a steelhead, but I also didn’t catch my cheek or my neck, so to me that was winning. Then yesterday I took my little peeps out to the lake after school to explore, we witnessed these redneck fools on the boat catching kokanee and yelling, ‘Watch me whip, watch me nae nae” every time they would land a fish.
What is with this devil song and fishing? Fish on friends…fish on!