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Friday, September 9, 2011

Spinner fishing

Coho caught using a spinner.

Of all the ways there are to fish I think I like the spinner best. 
Bait fishing is OK, if you don't mind smelling like bucket of rotten shrimp, fish eggs and worms. Chumming can be effective, depending upon your definition of the term but that's another subject. 
Fly fishing is a fun way to see how far you can cast, if you don't mind using the fur and feathers of birds and animals to tie a fly, to catch a fish, and let it go, if you can. 
People who fish with spinners like to cast as far they can, up into the tree limbs no matter how many times I told them the fish aren't up in the trees until the water's higher. 
Fishing with a spinner can allow you to watch one of the coolest things you'll ever see on the river. That's when you watch a fish follow your lure and grab it. This is when many folks jerk the spinner right out of the mouth of the fish. 
Or maybe you don't get a bite. No matter, you cast again and again, repeating the same failure while hoping for a different result. Which could confirm Einstein’s' theory of insanity, or mean you are fishing a spinner.
This is my story. 
It is about fishing the Olympic Mountains in the good old days before the statute of limitations thing went by. I don't fish up there much anymore. 
What with the plate tectonics thing, that pesky Juan de Fuca plate is just offshore shoving the continental plate higher and higher as you  read this. It's a sad fact that those mountains are a lot steeper now than when I was a kid. 
That's when I fished the best spinners on the river if only because I made them myself, out of red glass beads and a hammered brass blade strung together on a wire with a hook on the end. It was all you needed when you hit the trail with the sure knowledge there would be trout for breakfast, every morning. 
We'd lower ourselves down on windfalls in canyons on the upper Elwha and cast these spinners into deep holes where we could watch the magic happen. 
Being a light line enthusiast at the time, my line was only four pound test. We were after all, just trout fishing. 
Until a Dolly Varden about three feet long came up and grabbed my spinner. They call them a bull trout now but whatever it was dove down into the rocks and broke off immediately. 
I tied on another spinner but we were running low. This was not a good place to run out of gear, many miles from a trail head with days to go before being picked up. 
Before we knew it there was only one spinner left between me and my hiking buddy. No matter, you could almost catch fish with your hands during the evening bite when the surface of the river boiled with feeding trout. 
Still, even an expert can make a bad cast. 
There it was, our last spinner hanging on a fir limb just bigger than a pencil, out over a cliff, above a rapids. There was no way four-pound line was yanking that off. 
There was no way to climb out for a spinner rescue. 
There was a shale slide nearby. We threw sharp-edged chunks of shale at the tree limb. About a half a day later we hit the same spot enough times to break the limb. 
We rescued the spinner and didn't lose it anymore.  

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