Steelhead fishing is one of the most complicated, interesting types of fishing there is. Just when you think you have them figured out for a couple days, everything changes on you. That is what happened to me the other day.
After a day of great fishing with the Great Outdoors Pursuit TV show, I thought I had them all figured out. For days, spawn bags and beads in any color were hot. We were hooking nearly double-digit numbers of fish daily. The weather was supposed to be the same and I was looking forward to the rest of the week. Then I had Mike and Dan on my boat.
We pulled into my favorite hole! I was excited because I was positive the fishing was going to be great. We also had nearly perfect conditions. We fished it for nearly an hour without much success. We hit all my hot holes from the day before hoping for a bite. But the floats were not disappearing. I racked my brain trying to figure out what these fish wanted. Switched baits and rigs multiple times without my luck. I decided to go a little over the time slot hoping to get these guys a steelhead. I stopped at a random new hole that I had never fished hoping it would pay off. Maybe these fish had switched spots to lay in.
Mike made a perfect cast and continued with a perfect drift, keeping that line out of the water, letting the float go down a river as naturally as possible. The bobber went down and Mike had a fish on. He battled that fish and landed a skipper steelhead of about 20 inches. We quickly took the hook out of the fishes mouth and released it. After a few more drifts we moved on.
We were now 2 hours over the time limit so I decided we would try one more spot. It was the last spot of the day. The guys told me to give it a cast and see what happens. So I pulled out my favorite rod, my 13.5 ft St. Croix Avid and made a cast with a chartreuse bead. I was nearing the end of my drift and the float dropped. I asked Dan if he wanted to attempt to land this fish on a center pin. Up until this trip, I don’t think Dan knew what a center pin was. Dan said, “heck yeah.” He listened to all my directions and fought it like a pro. He had a different way of landing a steelhead and back reeled when the steelhead took off. Finally, it got closer to the boat and I figured if we were going to lose him, it would be right here. However, that was not the case today. He brought the fish up right next to the boat making for an easy landing job. Everyone was pumped and excited. We just landed a steelhead on the last cast.
They guys needed to get going so we called it a day. At the launch, we had a quick beer and talked about the day. They also gave me a Central Michigan University hat, the college I graduated from. Probably one of the coolest tips I have ever received. We may not have wacked them today, but I sent them off with smiles and stories to tell their friends. This is what makes steelheading so interesting. You never know what will happen.
Thanks, Mike and Dan for coming out. It was an awesome time fishing with you guys and I hope to see you again soon!
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