Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Time for Jason to put a word in on the blog – this is a first – but it was a request made by Emily, so I agreed to. The Thursday of Memorial Day weekend, two friends from high school and I decided to go on a fishing trip.  Originally our friend Trevor Cook had wanted to take myself and Parker Redding to Henry’s Lake up in Idaho.  Due to really bad weather that was moving in we decided to stay a little closer and head East to Strawberry Reservoir.  Like most trips or pretty much anything my friends and I do, it was planned last minute with minimal organization.   It ended up being the three of us and Trevor’s dog Sage.

We loaded up in T’s car, which was also pulling his fishing boat.   We got up to Strawberry Reservoir Thursday night right before dusk.  It was quite cold, but we got a fire started and set up camp as well as the tent (which I had brought along).  The next morning we got up early, and headed out to Renegade “harbor”, launched the boat, and set out for our first session of fishing.  We got into the fish early, or I should say Parker did.  We started landing quite a few cutthroats as well as rainbows. 

The weather was windy, with occasional strong gusts.  We didn’t mind too much since we were catching fish and having fun.  We fished for about four or five hours and decided to go back to camp and take some naps as well as eat lunch.  We kept four fish that morning to eat for dinner that night.
Upon arriving at camp, it was quite windy, and it didn’t take long to realize the wind had completely snapped one of the tent poles in half and tore some nice holes in the rain fly.  Seeing the condition of the tent and our circumstances was quite comical considering we still needed some type of sleeping arrangement for the next two nights, especially with the threat of rain in the forecast. 

We ate lunch, which was bratwursts, and luckily enough that morning we found some old buns in the bow of his boat from a previous trip (we forgot to buy buns the day before).  After lunch we went out again to the lake and though it was still windy, we had come to terms with the weather, and figured we were there to fish so why not.  Well a few hundred yards from the harbor as we entered the larger bay area, the wind picked up.  Unfortunately, T’s boat wasn’t running its best so we didn’t have much speed.  The waves picked up and we instantly knew we had to turn around and head back.  With the three of us and Sage and all our gear and coolers, the boat was hitting the waves pretty hard, and water was close to spilling over into the boat from the sides.   I know we were all a little scared, since the wind was so strong and the motor wasn’t 100%, it felt like we weren’t making much progress back to the harbor.  Eventually we made it back, and I’m sure the people on shore got a good show watching us flip around in the middle of the bay and get drenched by waves as we put-putted back to the harbor.

Wearing Frog Togs with pride!

After much deliberation, we decided to head even further East to try some other fishing places that T knew about. (Much to his dismay – “You don’t leave fish, to find fish” – T’s comment referring to our great success that morning)We then drove out to Starvation Reservoir.  After driving around for a long time, and not knowing where we were, we luckily ended up finding an amazing spot right next to the water.  We fished a little from shore that night and had a good fish fry (Thanks to T cooking up the fish from Strawberry) and also some freeze dried rice, oh and I can’t forget the healthy serving of sand in each of our meals due to the consistent wind and lack of lids to our pots.

That night, the wind calmed down just long enough to deceive Parker and I that we would be fine to sleep out on a tarp, while T slept in his car.  Well to say the least, after the first big gust, Parker and I both had ridiculous amounts of sand in our sleeping bags and just about everywhere else.  I maybe got three hours of sleep.

I woke up first and decided to do some more shore fishing before the others woke up.  After just a few casts, I hooked into a 15” small mouth bass!  It was a great fight and is definitely the biggest smallmouth I have ever caught.  

For breakfast we ate eggs, bacon, cereal…..and some more sand.  Although we were already at Starvation, we decided to go to a different lake that T had told us about.
We decided due to continued wind and lack of a tent, that we would fish the rest of the day and then head back that night (Saturday).  We arrived at the new lake and found a random place to launch the boat.  We unhooked the tie-downs and we about launched it, when we spotted another spot that was more promising.  Upon arriving at the other launching location, and after a few trial and error back-ups, Parker and I stood helpless as we saw the boat slide off of the trailer and onto the ground…yes, we had forgotten to put the tie-downs back on.  When I saw this happen I thought all was lost, the boat was ruined, and we would never get it back onto the trailer.  But out comes Trevor to investigate the damage, and amazingly he didn’t look too worried.  He only asked about the motor and if it was ok.  Sure enough with a little fisherman brute strength and the trailer “wench”, we got the boat back onto the trailer, with no harm done.  I found out afterwards the same boat fell off the trailer on the freeway, going freeway speeds and yet no damage was done.

We began fishing the lake, and didn’t have much luck.  We tried fly after fly and lure after lure as well as trolling.  The wind, of course, was still harassing us and even with both anchors down we still floated our way across the shoreline.  About two and half hours in, and still without any fish landed, I decided to try my trusty jig again.  And after about four or five casts… “FISH ON!”.  We quickly realized it was a nice sized fish, but we weren’t too sure of how nice it was until it finally got close to the boat and and surfaced and our excitement hit the roof!  It was big, and we HAD to net it.  Trevor had the net, and Parker was getting an anchor up to help avoid the fish getting caught in the line.  T netted the fish, but after a few seconds, and all of us amazed at how big it was, the fish jumped out of the net and back into the water.  My heart stopped, and I’m sure T’s did too.  LUCKILY, the fish didn’t break the line and the jig stayed hooked.  T netted the fish again, and it was quickly brought into the boat.  At this point I already knew it was the biggest fish I had ever caught in my life.  All three of us were like giddy school boys looking at this fish while taking pictures as well as getting the specs.  It was a tiger trout and weighed in at 6 lbs and was 24” long.  We kept the fish and I couldn’t have been a happier fisherman.

I’m sure many would read this story and think with the horrible wind that it was not worth it, but let me just say it certainly was!  When my grandpa in California quickly caught wind of my fish (no pun intended) he offered to get the tiger trout mounted, and so it is.

What the wind claimed:  Tent, T’s glasses, Parker’s sleeping bag case, storage bin, T’s frog togs case, and a good amount of food.

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