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3-08-04 - FAT and TIMAAAY were already on the water when I arrived; things were looking up.
This first steelhead came to shore fouled in the dorsal, but it was such a COOL looking fish I had to take it's picture.
FAT has lots of luck tieing into HOGS. Check it out, totally fair.
Another shot of FAT and the hog.
As always, the big boys are put back.
Fat reviving this nice steelie!
WATCH OUT FOR THE KILLER STEELHEAD!
So there it is, my first fair chromer for 2004.
Fat has another big fish on.
The result is that he's walked downstream by one gigantic sucker!
TIMAAAY is at it again!
The look of a "dejected" angler...by the time I left Timaaay had still not yet gotten his fair steelhead. Granted, he did after we left!
FAT demonstrates his quick, easy, and dirt-cheap glo-bug yarn strike indicator.

3-8-04 - I will not quit until I have my first chrome for 2004.

Waters Fished: Pike River
Fish Caught: 1
Outing Date: 3-8-04
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Air Temp: Low 30's F
Water Temp: 36F
Water Level: Still Up, about 100 cfs
Water Color: Visibility back to about 1 foot
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Polar Shrimp, Goo Fly, Glo Bug
Pattern Color: Small and orange was the ticket
Fishing Quality: Slowly improving

Once again, another "way too early" morning wakeup call came from Rich Brown about 4:00 am. I showered, gathered everything up, had to stop for gas, and eventually made it to the Pike.

When I found Rich I also found our camp chef from FAT FEST 2003, TIMAAAY! Pretty sure it was his first trip out for 2004. Thankfully it was the three of us and one other angler...fair amounts of room today.

Flows were still up, and all morning I watched Timaaay and FAT hook up with the fish. Most all of our early morning fish came to shore foul. Meanwhile, the other angler was drifting spawn and had no luck as well.

My first hookup came as I drifted far back into an eddy and felt my line go tight. Instinctively I set the hook and the fight was on. I had to shout "fish on" over the roar of the river so the guy drifting bait would know to get out of the way. I don't think he heard me, so I had to shout "PULL YOUR DAMN LINE" which got his attention.

We got the fish to shore but found out the hard way that it was fouled in the dorsal. Nice small jack with a hard kyped underbite. It was truly a beautiful steelhead, so I did take his picture anyway before releasing him.

FINALLY it came together...we always fish different patterns until we figure out what's working. Despite the still relatively high flows the fish had keyed in on small orange eggs. FAT was the first to confirm this with a NICE hog, another 12 lb. buck. Good fight, I believe Timaaay got the netjob on this one.

After shooting the pics, I came back and wanted to THANK our other angling friend for pulling his line during my earlier hookup. I think he thought I was being sarcastic, but really, I again want to drive home that I was very sincere, I TRULY appreciated it. THANK YOU.

Well our other angling companion drifting the spawn must have been frustrated; all morning without a bite while FAT had just faired on the fly in 36F water. He took off; meanwhile I added on a dropper glo bug, #12, in hot orange. After only a couple drifts my line went tight again, and another battle started.

I should probably tell you now that on Sunday and this morning I had been fishing a new concoction; a 10' 10" 6wt that I built with the help of Dave Dyer (Creekside Outfitters). The fight on such light, long tackle was fun, almost scary at times, but I am so addicted to this rod! At one point the rod was entirely doubled over into a 180 degree bend as the steelhead dove into a 5' deep eddy that was within two steps from where I stood, all the while pulling my line through thoroughly iced up guides.

Tim and I were scared that this fish was foul...I had a terribly difficult time controlling it..I couldn't lift it's head. The first time I got it up to the surface all I could see was my lead fly, a large goo fly. But by this time I had head control and managed to turn her around and into the waiting net.

It was over. My first chrome steelhead of 2004 came in on a #12 Orange Glo Bug. Quite a STUNNING FISH...that light and long tackle really gives the fish an advantage...good at times it felt like I was pulling up a LOG. The downside was that the fish weren't fighting like they were a couple days ago...the 36F temp produced slower, more tugging fights with no jumps. Who cares, it's STILL STEEL!

Well we kept fishin' for another 45 minutes or so, but I honestly was done. FAT hooked up again and got schooled. The fish walked him all the way downstream...turned out to be nothing but a GIGANTIC sucker.

Timmayyyy continued to hook up but kept losing them. around 8:15 am he had yet another fish on...I ran across with the net and saw that this one was FAIR and had also fallen for a small dropper fly. Unfortunately I couldn't see this fish as it continued to pull down deep. Then it turned and ran downstream.

I was going to chase it, but FAT was right there sayin' "Give me the net". Sorry this story doesn't have a happier ending....FAT didn't get a chance to properly complete another net job as the fish pulled Tim's line over the rocks and snapped off.

I had PLENTY of other things to do this morning, so at about 8:30 I packed it up and headed to get the Bitchin' Camaro yet another coil replacement! Not bad for less than 3 hours of fishin!

  MP 

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