I feel like I've been wandering in the desert for years and finally found my way home. My schedule worked out and my brother paid for me to take him out to the Humptulips and show him how I catch fish. I left at 430, was at his place at 6 and carpooled up and were on the river by 7:30. Man I absolutely love the sunrise in the Olympic fog through the big green timber.
The day started out promising, nobody was at our favorite honey hole, because it involves several precarious river crossings and the water was just high enough to make it through safely but deter all but the people that have waded through it high or low and know where the rocks and logs are.
We sneak up to the spot, the water is just a little colored up and perfect and start the day off by throwing a tiny dick nite. My brother throws eggs. After a couple casts I get a massive stomp from a pretty fish, and it starts flashing chrome at me as it head shakes along the bottom toward the tail out. There are a bunch of logs at the tail out, so I put a touch more pressure on him to get him to make his move back up to the top. I'm using my awesome Shimano 10' 6" rod that is gorgeos and rated for 4 to 6 lbs. line and I'm throwing six pound fluorocarbon line and leader, which makes the fight SO much more interesting.
As I start to let him know who's boss, the flash of fish swims straight up to give me a big HELL NO and explodes three feet out the water, and tail walks porposing clear to the far side of the river at the head of the run, ripped out a drag squeeling 30 yards, gave it a rest and started head shaking back down, where at this point I'm having a blast he boils shakes and swim straight at the far bank and the giant root ball, tangling and eventul snapping of the leader. I'm not phased. I am going ultra light on big chrome coho salmon that don't even know what puget sound smells like, so they are beefy brawny backbreaking leader munching bruins. These are the fish covered in sea lice, schooled up thick and awesome.
Anyways, My brother broke off on something at the same time, so we go back to our gear set not five feet from the bank, and as we're retying, a drift boat comes right in front, drops anchor right on top of the fishes back. It was a little irritating, but they were pretty chill about it when I told them the just scatter the fish and drove them into the sticks. So we worked together to get fish.
Another five minuites and there were five drift boats parked in front of our bank, our first water, throwing gear over my drift. Within this time I hook onto four fish, yell out FISH ON, and these guys don't even reel up as I'm yelling COMING UP, and my fish seriously gets crys of BOBBER DOWN on three rods before thier braid cuts my mono cleanly off. Seriously four times, and then they tell me to tie on a bobber because I'm screwing up THEIR drift. At this point my brother is furious, and I'm getting a little peeved. Drift boat guys can have a massive superiority complex sometimes that really is just rude. This river is stacked with fish, there was a perfectly awesome hole not 1/4 mile downriver that had room for all five of em that I couldn't get to from the bank and they ruined my party. We left and went up to the hatchery where people are WAY more reasonable.
The hatchery was loaded with brown kings, chome kings, and coho central. We started at the meat run with all the usual suspect and it was a lot of fun. I brought out my heavier gear and hooked into some brownies and let 'em go, a lot of 'em long distance after a bit, most on purpose. It's a grabby bottom, and there was a lot of us, and more coming, so we had our fun and let some new blood in on the line, and as we were leaving to go fish for sea run at our secret river we get a glimpse of a mass of football shaped dark stripes coming up the boat chute and man, it was sweet. They stopped right their above the handicap hole and there was only one guy on the hatchery side and some five odd guys on the other. I just sat there and watched as the guys on the low side cast twenty feet over this massive school of fish oblivious to the carnage they could have reined down on them had they just shortened their aim. I tried to tell them, we all tried to tell them, but they just wouldn't listen, they wanted to get the drift right below the handicap ramp. But whatever. My bro and I started casting a couple of cast, I get a quick bump after way too long and it's off. The heavy gear I brought to fish the meat slot was just too visible and these fish knew what was up.
So we left and headed up to our cutthroat spot for the remainder of the afternoon. That was a blast, on our ultralights and two pound test. We were the only two fishing the majestic wilderness of the Olympic forest and the cutts were hungry and stacked like sardines. We ate lunch and drank gatorade and regrouped and went back to the Hatchery with better suited gear to get on those coho.
My third cast on six pound test I get NAILED. Massive take down and it takes me ten minutes to see the fish, which I knew was a big king because it never showed me its face. Up, down, in out back forth and then roll and head shakes she comes in mouth lolling for my bro to net, I get a look and she's not half bad and probably about 20 pounds with a nice amount of roe, so I grab the net, bonk, bleed and mark and get back to fishing and promptly hook another fish, this time a massive coho, explodes in a giant flash, zigs and zags and spits the hook.
At this point I tell my bro that the next fish I hook is his, since he hadn't landed anything chrome yet. I bet him five bucks that I'll get one for him in the next three casts. It only took one and it's a bullet this one. Down and up, I can barely keep up with it reeling. I'm yelling at my bro, he comes and when the fish takes a breather we hand off I let him feel my new rod. I wanted to show it off a bit. In no time flat the lull was over and then I don't know what happened. That fish was in the lower near corner, went to the upper far corner and got to the other side of the river and five feet in the air before my brother new what hit him. Like lighting. It was a freight train. I don't think that my brother was prepared for this and somehow the rod lost it's contact and the fish jumped and snapped off the leader. I was so crushed. I would have got the fish in, but it doesn't matter, I wanted my bro on chrome and it didn't happen.
It was dark by then so we packed it up and called it a very good day.
The score: I hooked probably about 10 or 12 coho, 8 brown kings, one bright king and a big fat hen that I bonked. I got practice on ultra lite big game angling and caught more cutts than I could count. Made some friends and was reminded of how annoying a few folks can end up being. Don't get me wrong, where I was I was the only one getting consistent action, but that was because of my light tackle and lots of experience. But the fish are there if you can get 'em to bite. Sorry for the super long report, but I'm super excited and stoked to have got to get out to one of my favorite rivers in the peak of the season and really awake and I type really fast. 20 pound king on six pound test? Priceless.
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