On April 12th we trolled through the Spaghetti Factory stretch of the Willamette river at 6am. I usually make a couple of passes through this zone to see if any nets go up. If fish are being caught I stay in the area. If there’s no action I either stay and hope that a bite turns on or leave to try out a different fishing area. On this day we found a good reason to stay for a while. Just down river from the Spaghetti Factory in 30 feet of water a fish grabbed Dirk’s herring and gave it a couple of big tugs. Like most of us, Dirk instinctively reached to pick up the rod but he quickly backed off to let the fish peel some line. He’s generally not as patient as me but he showed some restraint in not jumping on this fish. Once I turned off the kicker motor it allowed Dirk to fight the fish without any engine noise on a peaceful quiet morning. The fish made some hard charging runs, the reel was sizzling, and I was barking directions to Dirk which he didn’t really need. He brought the Springer to the side of the boat and I scooped it up in the net. It was big and powerful and it thrashed hard as I locked it in. I quickly looked for an adipose fin hoping it was a keeper but unfortunately it had a fin. Dirk had a momentary lapse and uttered a choice word since this was his second unmarked fish for the season. He had the the honor of releasing the springer and as you’ll see in the video it was a pretty funny event.
Dirk and I spent a few more hours in the Spaghetti Factory and Ross Island areas before I took him back to the dock. Tamara came aboard and we decided to do an easy troll through downtown Portland. We didn’t see any fish caught as we passed the Ross Island, Hawthorne, Morrison, Burnside, Steel, and Broadway bridges. It was time for a change so I put a Protroll and 3.5 spinner on the starboard side. There have been several salmon caught using this combination even at lower water temperatures so I was hopeful that we’d find a willing biter. At 2:00pm when we passed the Freemont bridge it was about time to call it a day. We had just passed a fisherman that told us he had caught one and lost one. That gave me hope so I told Tamara that we’d just keep fishing until we reached the dock which was about 200 yards downriver. She agreed so we kept trolling. I was ready to pull our gear when the starboard rod started bouncing violently. I asked Tamara if she wanted to fight it and she declined so I grabbed the rod and the fight was on. This springer was peeling line so fast I had to check to make sure that my drag wasn’t too loose. The Protroll was flashing and rolling just under the surface as the fish ran away from the boat. With the motor turned off we fought a pretty good battle until I had the fish near the boat. My plan was to hand the rod to Tamara and I would net the fish. At the last second I decided to ask her to net the fish. In that moment of slight confusion the springer came back to life and I fought to keep it on the surface as Tamara reached for it with the net. The hooks found the net and the fish swam away. “You Win some and you Lose some” as the saying goes. There are lessons learned here but more than anything, when something like this happens be very careful to not place blame or vent. If you’re holding the net and this happens you feel crappy and a good percentage of the time it’s not completely your fault. All in all it was a great day on the river and I appreciate that we had two chances. Tight lines.