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Monday, May 4, 2009

From "The Fisherman's Prayer" Published 2006 by available at
Fisherman's Prayer Cards, Matted and Framed Prints are available at:
Jim's Pharmacy...Port Angeles
Sequim Wrap and Parcel Post....Sequim
A Work in Progress-Cafe' Pai...Forks
Peak 6 Adventure Store...Upper Hoh Road
Fisherman’s The Prayer Test Fishing Report
Pat Neal

I am fishing guide on the rain forest rivers of the Olympic Peninsula. Over the years I’ve tested many types of fishing gear and techniques in an effort to get an edge that will help me out-fish the competition. River guiding for salmon and steelhead is and extremely competitive professional sport. You have to constantly produce fish or your career is over. A guide just doesn’t get up one morning and forget how to catch fish. Fishing is like any other sport. You can go into a slump. A fishing slump can put a guide in a tailspin down the slippery slope to depression, poverty or worse, a real job. We hear about this sort of personal tragedy on the river every year. A guide hocks his boat and gets a job. Their names are never mentioned on the river again.
People think it’s easy to catch fish and get paid for it. The truth is it’s often harder to catch fish when there is money involved. Clients can require an extensive break-in period that involved a number of hazing rituals that have been employed by fishing guides through the ages.
Rushing the client is a technique designed to break the angler’s spirit by convincing them they are late. This shifts the blame for a bad day’s fishing from the guide back to the client, where it belongs. Then it’s the “clients fault” if they can’t catch a fish, because they were late. Once the clients are convinced they are not going to catch a fish, that’s no excuse not to keep hurrying.
Watching the boat, is another hazing ritual that is often used by fishing guides. That’s where one of the clients stayed with the boat and watched it while I shuttled my rig downriver to the take out. This could take hours if we stopped for donuts or did some road hunting on the way. Meanwhile the poor client was stuck back at the launch, watching the boat. The boat never did anything to my knowledge.
These and other techniques are used by guides to avoid the number one job hazard we face, questions.
“How deep is the river?” “Are we sinking?” “How will I know when I hook a fish?”
“You’ll know,” I explain, “That’s when the screaming starts. Until then you can give your heart to Jesus but the rest of your carcass belongs in the seat of that boat!”
How you sit in a drift boat might not seem like a big deal but it is. The seats are positioned to keep the human cargo balanced. Without balance I cannot row through the rapids. If I cannot row we are all going to die and I won’t get paid. Fishing guides are like unorganized galley slaves rowing monstrous loads of human cargo down wild rivers in search of some of the rarest fish that swim. Maybe I played a little rough but guiding is a tough business.
You need more than a boat full of fishing gear to catch a fish. You need patience and faith . The greater your faith, the more patience you’ll have but it’s hard to have patience when you’re not catching fish. Then you can reach a crisis in faith that can leave you feeling lost. Sometimes when you are lost it’s best to figure out how you got there.
I was basically a nice person until you put me in a boat. Once aboard I did a lot of things I’m not very proud of. I used manure worms for bait. I stacked the deck on a steelhead fishing derby by picking up stray bank maggots, (shore fishermen) so I’d have more rods in the boat. I won that derby by stuffing rocks in a fish. That was just one day on the river. Multiply that by a life on the water and I became the kind of person I didn’t like very much. I started not catching fish even when there were no clients to blame. At one point I had been skunked so many days in a row, fishing had become like a job. It wasn’t working for me. I knew I needed help. I was so desperate for a hook up, I begged God for a fish.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was fishing the Hoh River and couldn’t get a bite. I knew there were king salmon around. I could see them rolling on the surface of the water. I anchored up at the head of the hole and let go with a cut plug herring and a Fisherman’s Prayer. I barely got the words out of my mouth and it was “Fish On!” It was a big king, about 40 pounds or so. Then we caught big silver, (Coho) salmon about eighteen pounds. Then we caught a steelhead and a bull trout and a big sea run cutthroat.
We had caught what every angler on the Olympic Peninsula lays awake nights dreaming about, the grand slam of the Hoh River! All caught in one day with the Fisherman’s Prayer.
Using the Fisherman’s Prayer increased my catch rate so much I was able to relax and enjoy fishing again. My clients thought I’d gone soft or something but they were too busy catching fish to notice that I’d stopped yelling at them. The Fisherman’s Prayer belongs in every tackle box. It’s based on the time-tested formula given to us by Jesus almost 2,000 years ago. Fishing has gotten a whole lot worse since Jesus. The Fisherman’s Prayer has been specifically reformulated for today’s tough fishing conditions. The Fisherman’s prayer is legal even in catch-and –release waters that require artificial lures and single barbless hooks. Using bait with the Fisherman’s Prayer almost isn’t fair. From the deep sea to the high mountain lakes, The Fisherman’s Prayer works on all species of fresh and saltwater game fish. Don’t go fish without a prayer.

From "The Fisherman's Prayer" Published 2006 by
Scroll down for some pictures of fish caught with the Fisherman's Prayer on the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula.

1 comment:

  1. Good story...REALLY funny! Did you really stuff a fish with rocks to win the Derby? TeeHee!