This is kind of a Markskor type story except I am not claiming to have caught a monster fish! No Pics because I forgot a baggie to protect my camera in the case of falling in the river (a distinct possibility for this clutz). Trust me, the story is true.
The story starts when a friend and I decided to go steelhead fishing on the Deschutes River. Yesterday AM we started out at 0 dark 30 and arrived at Trout Creek river access to find a light fog hovering over the river and the vegetation covered with frost. I was excited because I had my new Lamniglas 10'3" rod with new Diawa Sahara 4000 spinning reel loaded with 10 lb test braided line and I was going to seriously test my theory that if you can read you can do anything. My goal was to learn how to fish a bobber and jig rig. The previous night was spent preparing the gear and reading about fishing with bobber and jig. The key to this type of fishing is a dragfree drift and to have the jig about a foot off the bottom. To eliminate the drag when the bobber is even or down stream you keep the spool open but keep a hand on the handle so if the bobber dips you turn the crank and set the hook simultaneously. It was so cold that after a couple of casts the rod guides began to ice up and the line began to freeze in the reel so it would not feed out smoothly so the bobber would not float drag free. As a result I reverted to throwing spinners which worked out ok but the cold (did I mention it was cold?) made things a little difficult and my bare right fingers required warming every few minutes. Due to the cold we walked upstream quite a ways. Finally, getting some sun by about 10:30 I was able to switch to the bobber and jig rig again. After about 5 hours of fishing I let the rig drift a little too close to shore (actually it is good to be close to shore as that is where the current is usually a little slower) with too long a leader and I got snagged. On my first light pull the line pulled loose from the leader. The bobber was still visible, just under the surface, anchored to a small sunken log by the snagged 1/4 oz. bright pink jig. After a series of misadventures suitable for a utube video, and getting only a little wet I managed to retrieve everything. On retrieving the leader, bobber, and jig it became clear that the knot in the fluorcarbon leader had simply come unraveled--I must have done something wrong. But I think there is a saying about god protecting idiots and fools and the next hour gives some support to the saying. Carefully retying the knot I resumed fishing on the return trip to the 4 Runner. Working my way down to the river in balmy low 40 degree temps with heavy frost still in the shaded areas I reflected that it was a hellofa nice way to spend the day even without the hint of a fish at the end of the line. On reaching an area that appeared deeper than other areas I had fished I increased the depth of the jig by about a foot. On about the second drift the bobber dipped, for some reason my hand was actually on the handle, I cranked, I struck and wonder of wonders I had a fish on! For the most part the fish fought deep except for one 4 ft vertical leap. As steelhead go it was not big, infact it was quite small, maybe 22." The adiopse fin was not clipped so it was a wild fish with brilliant red on the gill covers and down the sides but bright silver above and below. A fish in prime condition and as beautiful as I have seen. When it tired I was able to pull it close to shore with rod tip high and the head of the fish out of the water. It was a simple matter to reach down with my needle nose pliers (hemostats are way too small to do the job safly), grab the hook, turn it upside down and the lip hooked beauty easily came loose, untouched by my hands. It hung around for a few seconds then jetted out into the river. A great day became marginally better, my new gear and new technique proved up to the task. And how lucky was I that I snagged my gear and a defective knot became evident before, not after, the fish struck.
Peace and Happy Holidays from Central Oregon.