***This is a copy paste from a different site. I have a couple of friends direct me here so I thought I'd post it too so they can read it***
January 9 is a special day for me. It marks the day I was born screaming in this world. So what could make this day any better? Catching the very first steelhead of my life! It's even extra special because it was on the fly. And it gets better. It was on the experimental fly I tied myself
I did not have a great start today. Today marks the 6th day of steelhead hunt for me and I got skunked every time. After an argument I lost to my dad on who's gonna use the car, I woke up late. He called me around 10am and told me that he did not use the car. So what did I do? I immediately packed up my stuff. I was planning to use my gear so I could just catch my first one. But as luck would have it, instead of cutting the leader only, I also snipped the main line near the reel in my rush. I did not have enough time to fix it so I picked up my fly rod instead. But for some reason, I picked up my camera too. I always use my cellphone for pictures but I told my self, "at least I'll have good pictures even though I never catch a fish when I go home." So, off I go racing down Highway 1 just to get to my spot...
I got to the Vedder river pretty late than usual. It was around 11:00 am when I started fishing. I was overdressed. It was pretty hot when I got there. Also, in my rush, I forgot to eat anything. I fished my first run feeling pretty crappy. Then I fished the second run. Then the third run and still no fish. I packed up my stuff and went to the nearest store to buy some food and drinks. As I was sitting in the car, I wanted to call it quits and go home. But I said to myself, "c'mon! 1 more run!" So I got to my fourth run around 12:30 pm. As luck would have it, I have the whole run to myself! There we're 2 guys way below the run so I started as far top as I could.
I worked the run fast. I took a couple of steps every cast. The water was almost too perfect. About 4 ft of visibility! Slow moving too. The sun was not shining. I remembered everything I read about fly fishing for steelheads. From previous posts, to blogs, to pm's with another member. I took my sweet time going in the water. Made sure my knots were perfect and my hook was razor sharp.
The river was flowing from right to left. So every time I was casting to my 10 o'clock position. I remembered that steelheads like to stay near the banks if they are not spooked. So, down to the water I go. 20 minutes in the run I felt a serenity that you could probably compare to a monk meditating. I could feel the water flowing smoothly under my feet. The soft breeze blowing through my hair. I almost caught up with the gear guys down below me and then it happened!
I saw a small fish jump the water not 20ft away from me! I remember from all the salt water fishing I had in the Philippines that schools of shrimp would jump away and clear the water because there was a predator there after them. So I tossed my fly 3 ft ahead to where that fish jumped. Then the dead drift. And then it hit the fly! I thought there was a fast moving current underwater and I got snagged on a moving log. An then I felt a head shake. At this point my heart rate was elevated. Then I saw what looked like a head splash. Then... It jumped! I screamed, "oh my god! It's a steelhead!" It jumped 2 more times and every time it jumped, my smile got bigger and bigger! I knew that the fish was hooked good. It took me about 15 minutes to land the fish. My new rod and reel was being tested! It felt like an eternity! I'm afraid that everything would go wrong and the fish would get away. At this point, the older gentleman below me was racing to my spot to watch me.
So I got the fish close to the shore. I did not see any fin so it was a keeper. I remember from what I read here that steelheads love to run just when fishermen are about to land it. So I did not give it any slack. Knowing that it was a hatchery, I pulled it to dry land. The old man was yelling at me. "What are you doing? If it's a wild you'll f*** the fish!" But I was in a daze. I could not answer him. My heart was beating so fast. It was like I ran a marathon. Then as I was giving the fish the rock shampoo, he asked me why the hook did not fall of yet. Was I using barbed hook? I knew this guy had a genuine love for fishing so I told him that I confirmed that it was a hatch before landing it. Showed him the barbless hook too. It's good to see people still care for fish out there in the river. His name was Tom. Then he told me of his first one back in '62. Then I told him that this was the very first steelhead of my life. He reached out to shake my hand. I hesitated and told him I got slime all over it. It did not bother him. Then he helped me take a picture so I can immortalize this day 'till the day I die.
I know I wrote a novel, but I want to remember this day until I die. Now on to the pictures!
Fish size: 25" Weight: 9lbs
My experimental fly. I call it the "Pilipino Miner"